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The Danish Girl musical workshop announces cast and creative team

The workshop will take place at New Theatre Peterborough

L Morgan Lee

Exclusive: A workshop of new musical The Danish Girl, adapted from the book by David Ebershoff in turn based on the true story of Lili Elbe, will run at New Theatre Peterborough later this month.

Taking place from 26 to 30 April, the piece, created by writers Katie Lam and Alex Parker alongside director Tinuke Craig, will follow the Danish painter Elbe, who was the first person to undergo gender confirmation surgery in 1930.

She will be portrayed by by American transgender actress L Morgan Lee, alongside Laura Pitt-Pulford as Gerda, with Sharif Afifi, Kelly Agbowu, Jo Eaton-Kent, Siubhan Harrison, Chloe Hart, Chris Jenkins, Freddie King and Harrison Knights also involved in the workshop.

The project will also be supported by consultants Jake Graf (actor and director known for his award-winning film XWHY) and Hannah Graf, (who in 2013 became one of the highest ranking transgender soldiers in the British Army), as well as Harry Williams, one of the creatives and founders of the Trans Voices Company.

Lee said: "I never would have guessed, in the middle of a pandemic, I'd be in my apartment in New York on Zoom with a creative team in London discussing a new musical. I've dreamed of getting my hands on this kind of material in a show but the reality is Black women, and even more specifically Black, trans women are so rarely, if ever, even considered.

"This creative team has taken the time to truly see the artists they work with. They are committed to telling this story using not only a trans woman to play Lili but a variety of trans people in many of the other roles throughout the show with a cast that reflects the world we live in. The process has been such a testament to the potential of where our industry has the potential to go and I'm so honored to be a part of that."

Lam added: "Inspired by discussions with our consultants and cast, we are committed to telling a joyful trans story. Lili of course struggled through the traumas inherent in transition and did not survive her final operation. But for decades she was supported, accepted and loved by her wife, siblings, parents, friends and wider community. She found a surgeon who believed and understood her, and was able to make her emotional reality a physical reality; and all a hundred years ago."

You can listen to two numbers from the piece here, one sung by the character Claude after he has met Lili at a Danish ball, and the second from Lili's perspective:



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