Following the success of Cheek By Jowl’s performances in London and abroad in 2011/12, ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore visits the Theatre Royal Bath from Tuesday 3rd June to Saturday 7th June prior to a 2014 international tour.

Tis Pity Shes A Whore - presented by Cheek By Jowl - Photo credit Manuel Harlan (ref2)

This vivid and violent Jacobean tragedy shows the passionate descent of brother and sister, Giovanni and Annabella, into hell.  Incest, morality, religion and corruption collide in Cheek By Jowl’s ‘sexy, stylish’ production (The Times), making this play as controversial today as it was almost four hundred years ago.

’Tis Pity She’s a Whore was published in 1633, although it is believed to have been performed as early as 1626.  Widely regarded as a classic piece of English drama, this shocking play achieves a masterful depiction of jealousy and its tragic consequences.  

Tis Pity Shes A Whore - presented by Cheek By Jowl - Photo credit Manuel Harlan (ref3)Cheek By Jowl’s critically acclaimed production was first performed on 30 November 2011 at Théâtre Les Gémeaux, Sceaux in Paris, and has subsequently played Sydney, New York, Athens, Madrid, LA and extensively across Europe and UK.  Cheek By Jowl’s recent run at the Barbican in April 2014 saw the production invited back for the second time. 


John Ford (c.1586-1640) was an English playwrightduring the reign of Charles I.  His other principal works include The Lovers’ Melancholy, The Broken Heart, Love’s Sacrifice and The Lady’s Trial.  His revenge tragedies, including his best known drama ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, are noted for both their austere beauty and insight into human passions. The play’s title has been changed at times since it was written, sometimes referred to as Giovanni and Annabella, after the leading, incestuous characters, and in the nineteenth century named, The Brother and Sister

’Tis Pity She’s a Whore is directed by Declan Donnellan and designed by Nick Ormerod, joint Artistic Directors Tis Pity Shes A Whore - Eve Ponsonby (Annabella) -- Photo credit Manuel Harlanof Cheek By Jowl.  Orlando James plays the role of Giovanni, returning to the Theatre Royal after recent performances in Another Country in 2013, and The Madness of George III in Bath in 2011, followed by the West End in 2012. The role of Annabella is played by Eve Ponsonby, whose previous credits include roles for the RSC, the National Theatre and in the West End.

The cast is completed by Will Alexander as Vasques, David Collings as Florio, Ryan Ellsworth as Donado, Ruth Everett as Hippolyta, Jimmy Fairhurst as Gratiano, Sam McArdle as Grimaldi, Peter Moreton as Cardinal/Doctor, Nicola Sanderson as Putana, Maximilien Seweryn as Soranzo and Raphael Sowole as Friar. 

Multi award-winning Cheek By Jowl returns to Bath for the first time in ten years. Since it was founded by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod in 1981, the company has performed in 330 cities in over 40 countries spanning 6 continents. Cheek By Jowl has presented large scale classical and modern works in English, French and Russian languages whilst performing across the world.  The company has received numerous international awards and is an Associate of the Barbican Centre, London.

Tis Pity Shes A Whore - Eve Ponsonby (Annabella) Orlando James (Giovanni) - Photo credit Manuel Harlan (ref3a)

Cheek By Jowl has established a reputation as a training ground for young actors. The company has given many young artists their first professional experience and countless highly respected actors of stage and screen have worked with Cheek By Jowl early on in their careers, including Daniel Craig, Tom Hiddleston and Adrian Lester.

As joint Artistic Director of the company, Declan Donnellan has directed over 30 productions for Cheek By Jowl. In 1989 he was made Associate Director of the National Theatre in London where his productions have included Fuente Ovenjuna, Sweeney Todd, The Mandate and both parts of Angels in America.  His other directing credits include The School for Scandal, King Lear and Great Expectations for the RSC; Romeo and Juliet for Bolshoi Ballet, Moscow; and The Winter’s Tale for Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg. In 1999 he was invited by Valery Shadrin to form a company of actors in Moscow under the auspices of The Chekhov International Theatre Festival; this company’s productions have already been seen in 48 cities of 25 countries. He has received awards in Moscow, Paris, New York and London, including three Olivier Awards – Director of the Year (1987), Best Director of a Play (1995) and the Olivier for Outstanding Achievement (1990). He has been awarded a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his work in France. Later this year he will direct Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre.His book on acting, The Actor and the Target, is a set text for many drama students.

’TIS PITY SHE’S A WHORE appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Tuesday 3rd June to Saturday 7th June.  Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or online at

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