A Donegal actress/musician will star in a radical new musical play that seeks to shine a light on the incredible story of Julie d’Aubigny, otherwise known as La Maupin.
La Maupin, was a 17th-century French opera singer, but she is also described as a sword fighter, wanted criminal, trailblazer and a celebrity.
Her tumultuous career and flamboyant lifestyle were the subject of gossip, rumour, and colourful stories in her own time, and inspired numerous fictional and semi-fictional portrayals afterwards.
However she seems to be one of history’s forgotten women.
Written by Olivia Thompson, directed by Suzy Catliff and produced by Fantastic Garlands Theatre company, the new play, La Maupin will open in one of North London’s best pub theatres with Donegal’s Megan Armitage as part of the cast.
Megan Armitage is an actor, musician, writer and artist from Creeslough, Donegal.
She trained at London’s Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.
She has acted on such stages as The Lyric Theatre in Belfast and The Baby Grand in Belfast while her screen credits include Irish language dramas Ros na Rún and Scúp.
Megan told The Irish World: “It’s such a fantastic piece Olivia has created and the music is just brilliant.
“It’s a very exciting show to be a part of.
“It’s such a fantastic story, the real story itself and then the way that Olivia has put it together and added the humour and these fantastic songs.
“It’s shining a light on this character.
“The play mentions that she only has a certain number of words in Wikipedia which is far less than Mr. Blobby.
“ had never heard of her before the play came up.
“There’s very little written about her, and yet she led such an extraordinary life.
“I suppose it’s really shining a light on this woman who led this life and her story is often not really known.
“It’s sad in a way that there are these people who are kind of forgotten, but also great when they come to light and when somebody decides to try to take up the story and turn it into something like this show.”
To reflect the character being ahead of her time, the music has a modern ‘twist’.
It has been described as ‘Marie Antoinette meets the Pogues’.
“The music has a very folk and a bit of a punky feel so we’re trying to keep that attitude so it has the period setting but with the kind of modern twist.
“Riotous would be one of the words (that describe it), a bit anarchic.”
Megan is from Creeslough, the location of a devastating tragedy just last month that took ten lives when there was an explosion at a petrol station.
“It was very shortly before I had to come over for our first read through.
“It was a really tough time in the town and it still is.
“It’s just such a small community.
“I’ve always loved Creeslough and I’ve always been very proud to come from Donegal, and it just reinforced the strength of the community that there is there.
“It’s a very close community and it just reinforced how wonderful the place is really in the midst of something so terrible, just how great the community is and how nice it is to come from somewhere like that.
“I found it tough to actually leave Creeslough at that time and come away.
“Even now it’s hard to be away from home.
“You feel like you should be there and be around even if there’s a not a huge amount you can do, just to be there.
“It has been a hard time there.
“You get the sense that everybody, the whole community is hurting, because the whole community cares about the people that are a part of it.
“It feels like a very special thing and a special place to be from.”
La Maupin will be at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre, Kentish Town until 3 December, Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm.
For more information and to book, click here.