Maps of Desire (2002)

Southwark Playhouse

"It’s a brave, bold venture and one well worth catching."

— Sarah Adams, Time Out

Maps of Desire is about a group of women writers who, in the late seventeenth century, would gather in their Paris salons to try out their fairy or wonder tales on each other before publication. Frequently in trouble with King Louisa XIV these remarkable writers packed their tales with magical transformations, sexual ambiguities and ironic comment in their pursuit of a utopian world.


Amongst this exotic group of friends we meet the well-known Charles Perrault, whose salutary story Riquet with the Quiff is brought vividly to life by the cast. Other stories include the beautiful but tragic myth The Island of Happiness by his niece Mme Catherine D`Aulnoy, the comic Adroit Princess by Mme L`Heritier and the delicious cross-dressing tale The Counterfeit Marquise attributed to Perrault, and the other member of the salon, the defrocked Abbé Choisy.


The production was inspired by Wonder Tales, edited by Marina Warner, and is the result of research and development workshops led by Bruce Myers from the Peter Brook company at The Jerwood Space with eighteen actors and two musicians. Marina Warner was involved throughout as literary advisor. A work in progress performance took place at The French Institute, as well as a talk by Warner on these fascinating women writers.



Jane Barber

Pancho Capelletti

Ann Firbank

Patrick Kennedy

Sasha Mitchell

Montserrat Roig de Puig


Composers / Musicians


Katya Mervola

Nathan Thomson



Writer: Claude Harz

Director: Alys Kihl

Producer: Tara Hull

Designer: Ruth Paton

Lighting designer: Colin Grenfell

Movement director: Sue Nash

Production manager : Jai Lusser

Assistant director: Kathryn Boddy

Stage manager: Nicole Keighly

Photography: Pau Ros




ACE London Arts

The Snipe Charitable Trust




"This is an evening of theatre to relish, a sheer delight from start to finish."

— John Thaxter, What’s On


"The principal ingredient is a sparkling wit rooted in exaggeration and in a spirited cast."

 — Barbara Lewis, The Stage


"Go and see Maps of Desire. It’s very different, highly original and exquisite. A magical evening. It would be great to see it transfer to the West End."

 — Sarah Morgan, Theatre World Internet