People’s Light Presents The Children

By Lucy Kirkwood

Directed by Abigail Adams
January 15 – February 9, 2020

Steinbright Stage


 People’s Light presents Lucy Kirkwood’s The Children, 2018 Tony Award nominee for Best Play. Two retired nuclear physicists live a quiet life in a cottage by the sea. Outside, the world is plagued by earthquakes, tsunamis, and a nearby nuclear meltdown. When a former colleague turns up after forty years with a shocking request, three old friends must reckon with their shared culpability in this darkly funny disaster drama. Directed by Executive Artistic Director Abigail Adams, The Children stars People’s Light veterans Janis Dardaris, Marcia Saunders, and Graham Smith; and runs in the 160-seat Steinbright Stage January 15 – February 9. Tickets start at $35, including fees. To purchase, call 610.644.3500 or visit People’s Light is located at 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA 19355.

Daily life in Kirkwood’s pseudo post-apocalyptic Britain isn’t far from our own. Steadfast coastal dwellers Hazel and Robin maintain a semblance of normalcy and routine – Robin farms, Hazel does yoga, they make wine from parsnips, and learn to live with less. But the sudden reappearance of Rose, a fellow nuclear scientist, disrupts their precarious tranquility as simmering tensions, sexual rivalries, and unfulfilled obligations resurface and ultimately engulf all three.

The Children first premiered at London’s Royal Court Theatre in 2016, followed by a 2017 Broadway premiere and subsequent runs in Australia, Canada, and throughout the United States. The New York Times calls it “astonishing … bristling with chills and suspense.” The Guardian praises it as “profound” and “thoroughly gripping.”

People’s Light Producing Director Zak Berkman is “thrilled to introduce Lucy Kirkwood’s work to People’s Light audiences. She’s a young playwright from Britain who tells deeply personal stories with immense political implications,” Berkman says. “At such a vital moment of generational reckoning and self-reflection, we need writers who are as compassionate as they are insightful. Lucy is all that and more.”

The creative team behind The Children welcomes back company members Marla J. Jurglanis and Dennis Parichy for costume and lighting design, respectively. Daniel Zimmerman (The Harassment of Iris Malloy) designs the set, Lee Kinney (Such Things As Vampires) is sound designer, and Melanie Julian (Sweat) returns as dialect coach. Long-time collaborator Deborah Teller stage manages, People’s Light General Manager Erin Sheffield serves as choreographer, and Resident Dramaturg Gina Pisasale rounds out the team as dramaturg.

This production features the US debut of Smart Caption Glasses, a revolutionary step in arts accessibility, now available to People’s Light patrons. Learn more below under Accessibility and Engagement.


Lucy Kirkwood Playwright
Lucy Kirkwood is a playwright and screenwriter. In 2009, her play It Felt Empty When the Heart Went at First But It Is Alright Now was produced by Clean Break at the Arcola Theatre. Nominated for an Evening Standard Award for Best Newcomer, it made Lucy joint winner of the John Whiting Award. Chimerica premiered at the Almeida Theatre in 2013 and transferred to the West End, winning Best New Play at the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards, as well as the Critics Circle and Susan Smith Blackburn Award. Recent work includes Mosquitoes at the National Theatre in 2017, and The Children, which premiered at the Royal Court in 2016, and opened on Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club in December 2017, and was the winner of the Writer’s Guild Best Play award and nominated for a Tony Award. Her play The Welkin will debut at the National Theatre in January and her 4-part drama Adult Material will be shown on Channel 4 later in the year.

Abigail Adams  Director
Company Member since 1976. People’s Light: Executive Artistic Director. During her 42-year association with the Theatre, Abbey has directed more than sixty plays, including Our Town, For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday, Morning’s at Seven, Project Dawn, The Matchmaker, Auctioning the Ainsleys, How to Write a New Book for the Bible, The Cherry Orchard, The Rainmaker, The Trip to Bountiful, Dividing the Estate, Nathan the Wise, and In the Blood. Theatre Includes: Directed readings and workshops of new plays for Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Circle Rep, New York Stage and Film, and the Public Theatre. Teaching: Swarthmore College, New York University, Bryn Mawr College, Carnegie Mellon University, and The Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario. Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Ursinus College.

Janis Dardaris  Rose
People’s Light: First appeared in 1974, most recently Morning’s at SevenProject Dawn. Theatre Includes: Mother Courage, Mourning Becomes Electra, The Seagull, The Importance of Being Earnest (Quintessence Theatre). Regional credits include Philadelphia Theatre Company, Walnut Street Theatre, InterAct, PlayPenn, Wilma Theater, Arden Theatre, McCarter Theatre, Pittsburgh Public, Long Wharf, Cleveland Playhouse, Woolly Mammoth, Kennedy Center, Arizona Theatre Company, Three Rivers Shakespeare, Actors’ Theatre Louisville’s Humana Festival (originated the role of Susan Slater in Becky Shaw). New York credits include Playwrights Horizons, New York Classical Theatre, Westbeth, Summer Play Festival on Theatre Row, Breaking Legs with Philip Bosco (national tour with Danny Aiello). Nominated for 10 Barrymore Awards; 1998 winner of Charlotte Cushman Barrymore for her performance as Josie Hogan in A Moon for the Misbegotten; 2009 winner of Best Supporting Actress in Scorched. Film/Television Includes: The Sixth Sense, Party Monster, Third Watch, Trial By Jury, Law and Order, Bull, The Sopranos, Bliss, 1967, and the lead in Sounding, directed by Joel Coen. Recurring role as Judge Marcia Cross on Power. Most recently a principal character in The Chosen, the most successful crowdsourced project to date.

Marcia Saunders  Hazel
Company member since 1976. People’s Light: Over 90 productions including Ann in For Peter Pan…, Cora in Morning’s at Seven, Stella in Stella and Lou, Mrs. Bennet in Pride & Prejudice, Dotty in Noises Off, Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Amanda in The Glass Menagerie, Lady Macbeth in MacbethSkin of our Teeth, My Mother Said I Never Should, Abelard & Heloise, Memory of Water. Theatre Includes: Recently, The Outgoing Tide (Montgomery Theatre), Oliver (Quintessence Theatre) and A Fierce Kind of Love (Temple Institute on Disabilities/FringeArts); My Fair Lady (Quintessence Theatre), The Gin Game (Montgomery Theater), Paige in HIR (Simpatico Theatre), directed Steel Magnolias (Candlelight Theatre). Off-Broadway: The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow (Atlantic Theatre Co.) Regional: Wilma Theater, Arden Theatre, Two River Theater. A Delicate Balance garnered Marcia a Best Supporting Actress Barrymore Award for her role as Claire, and she received a Best Ensemble Barrymore Award for Morning’s at Seven. She has also received numerous Barrymore nominations, including Best Actress for Stella in Stella and Lou and Nancy in A Man from Nebraska. Training: Graduate Program, LAMDA.

Graham Smith  Robin
Company Member since 1999. People’s Light: Our Town, For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday, Morning’s at Seven, The Matchmaker, A Single Shard, The Cherry Orchard, King Lear, Dividing the Estate, The Rainmaker, Shipwrecked, Valley Song, A Delicate Balance, Camping With Henry and Tom, The Miser, The Crucible, Twelfth Night. Theatre Includes: Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, Oedipus, A Man for All Seasons (NC Shakespeare), As You Like It, The Tempest, Dracula, Humanafest (Actors Theatre Louisville), Proof, Misanthrope, Angels in America, The Substance of Fire (Charlotte Repertory), Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, Red (Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach), Best of Enemies, The Seafarer, 12 Angry Men, Camping With Henry and Tom, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Florida Rep). Training: 13 tours with family vaudeville-magic show, Saucy Sorcery; BA, Davidson College; MFA, Hilberry Classic Theatre.

The Children previews Wednesday, January 15; Thursday, January 16; and Friday, January 17 at 7:30pm. The play opens on Saturday, January 18 at 8pm and runs through Sunday, February 9. Standard tickets start at $45, including fees. $35 preview tickets are available January 15-17. For tickets, call the Box Office at 610.644.3500 or visit


Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For more information or to purchase group tickets, call Group Sales Associate Kelly Benedict at 610.647.1900 x111 or email

The Children is recommended for ages 13+ due to mature themes and profanity. Approximate run time is 1 hour and 40 minutes with no intermission.

Subscription packages are available for the 2019/2020 Season at People’s Light. Remaining productions include The Children (January 15 – February 9); Shakespeare in Love (February 26 – March 29); Hold These Truths (March 18 – April 19); Bayard Rustin: Inside Ashland (May 13 – June 7); Mary Jane (June 24 – July 19)and Songs for Nobodies (August 5 – 30). Visit or call 610.644.3500 for more information.

Actors, prices, productions, performance dates and times are subject to change. Additional service charges will apply. Contact the Box Office for more details.


Beginning with the 7:30pm performance of The Children on January 22, People’s Light will offer Smart Caption Glasses, which provide customizable, in-line captioning of the play’s text within smart glasses. In partnership with the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University and the National Theatre of Great Britain, People’s Light is the first theatre in the United States to offer Smart Caption Glasses to theatre audiences.

People’s Light offers a range of devices and support freely available for the use of our patrons, including Audio Devices & T-Coil Loops, Fidgets & noise-canceling headphones, ASL interpreters at select performances, and Audio Descriptions. Visit to learn more.

Arrive early for Drinks & Dramaturgy. Explore our dramaturgy board, an interactive lobby display that provides context to enhance your experience of the production, as you enjoy a glass of wine or beer from concessions. (And yes, you can take your food and drinks inside the theatre!)

Join Resident Dramaturg Gina Pisasale and members of the cast at Scoop on Wednesdays, a lively pre-performance discussion with light snacks. Get behind-the-scenes info about our production and learn more about the context of the play. Scoop starts at 6pm at the Congdon Center Conference Room (inside the Steinbright Stage lobby) before 7:30pm performances on January 22, January 29, and February 5. Now only $5 and available for purchase online.

Stay for AfterWORDS, informal post-show Q&As immediately following Thursday evening performances on January 23, January 30, and February 6.

Open Caption performances of The Children are February 4 at 7:30pm, February 5 at 2 & 7:30pm, February 6 at 7:30pm, February 7 at 7:30pm, February 8 at 2pm and 8pm, and February 9 at 2pm. During these performances, the actors’ lines appear on a small LED screen near the stage as they speak.

Service animals are welcome at all performances at People’s Light. The theatre offers a designated relief area and water bowl for their comfort.


Enjoy Dinner & A Show packages at the Farmhouse Bistro prior to select Wednesday through Sunday performances. Wednesday, Thursday, or Sunday evening dinner packages start at $82. Friday and Saturday packages start at $90. That’s a savings of up to 15% off the single ticket price. We also offer Brunch Packages that include brunch at The Bistro paired with tickets to Sunday matinee performancesCall the Box Office at 610.644.3500.

Located next to The Bistro is a full-service catering venue, The Farmhouse at People’s Light, perfect for weddings, corporate events, and special celebrations. Contact the Farmhouse Sales Team at 610.647.1631 x156 or

Now in its 45th seasonPeople’s Light, a professional, not-for-profit theatre in Chester County, Pennsylvania, makes plays drawn from many sources to entertain, inspire, and engage our community. We extend our mission of making and experiencing theatre through arts education programs that excite curiosity about, and deepen understanding of, the world around us. These plays and programs bring people together and provide opportunities for reflection, discovery, and celebration. Founded in 1974, we produce eight to nine plays each season, in two black box theatres with 340 and 160 seats respectively, mixing world premieres, contemporary plays, and fresh approaches to classic texts. Through two new play initiatives, New Play Frontiers and the Harmony Lab, People’s Light currently has seven active play commissions. Of our 452 productions, over a third (171) 

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