Monday, 27 June 2011

Exeter Alternative Theatre Company Press Release

The Marquis de Sade arrives in Exeter!

Exeter Alternative Theatre is fast building a reputation for putting on the most provocative theatre in Devon.

This summer’s production brings back to life the infamous Marquis de Sade (the man who brought the modern world the term ‘sadism’) in a brutal tale of moral, sexual, and religious conflict.

A feast for the eyes and ears, Quills, by Doug Wright, combines imaginative lighting, stunning period costume and exceptional performances from the lead to the lunatics, to depict a disturbing account of the inner workings of the human mind, once again following EAT’s mission to push the boundaries of conventional theatre and bring Exeter something a little different to the norm.

The Marquis de Sade; described as ‘more talked about than read’, love him or loathe him it is impossible to deny his achievements and the controversy that followed him throughout his entire life. An aristocrat, revolutionary, politician and writer, Sade was most famous for his Libertine sexuality and lifestyle. His is best known for his erotic works, which combine philosophical discourse with graphic depictions of extreme sexual fantasy. Even today, almost two hundred years after his death, the Marquis continues to divide scholars and critics, inciting debate over the morality of his published works.

For almost 27 years Sade was incarcerated in various prisons, and ultimately an insane asylum, where most of his works were written. However, his real crimes were few and his imprisonment was less for what he had done than for what he represented. During the French Revolution many of Sade’s writings were lost or destroyed and it was not until 1983 that HM Customs allowed works by Sade, previously unavailable in the UK, to be imported.

Set in 1807, Quills re-imagines the last years of the Marquis de Sade’s incarceration in the Charenton insane asylum.

The young clergyman who presides over the asylum permits the Marquis access to paper and quill, believing Sade's writing to be therapeutic. Confined to his lavish cell the Marquis pens some of his most outrageous works in the name of rehabilitation until a new doctor is appointed to the asylum, whose methods of correction are more akin to the torturous devices to be found within the Marquis' novels.

Notes for editors
For interviews or quotes, contact Creative Director’s Louis Ravensfield on: 07941 692495 or Emma Ravensfield on 07977 588167 or email:

Audience: Ages 18+ recommended
Price: £10 (adults)
Date: Wednesday 20 July - Friday 22 July
Time: 7.30 - 10pm
Venue: Exeter Barnfield Theatre

Press passes available upon request

Press photographs courtesy of Topsham photographer Nigel Cheffers-Heard:

Louis Ravensfield as Dr Royer-Collard
Mike Gilpin as Abbe de Coulmier

Midge Mullin as the Marquis
Vicky Jones as Madeleine Leclerc

The Lunatics
(L to R - Back) Chloe Norris, Sorrel Meechan, Lizi Bennett
(L to R - Front) Ben Rodwell, Rachel Milne, Rosie Mullin

Nigel Cheffers-Heard
Photography and Design
Bridge Inn
telephone: 01392 875857
mobile: 0771 261 4514

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