Woman From Mars
A new play by Nicola Baldwin
Directed by Cat Robey
In 1991, chemist Helen Sharman became the first British astronaut when she joined the crew of Soyuz TM-12 to conduct experiments on Mir space station.
Set on Helen Sharman’s last day on Mir, interspersed with her remarkable journey to get there, from hearing the radio advert that would change her life (Astronaut wanted; no experience necessary); gruelling selection process; trial by British reality TV and media; 18 months physical training and psychological testing in a Soviet cosmonaut camp.
Dubbed ‘The Girl From Mars’ by British tabloids, Sharman was working at Mars Confectionary as an industrial chemist when she answered the call to space. She launched on 18 May 1991, with Soviet cosmonauts, Russian Sergei Krikaley and Anatoly Artsebarsky, from Ukraine. She returned to earth on 26 May with Viktor Afanasyey and Musa Manarov. While Krikalev and Artsebarsky remained on Mir the second Russian revolution happened, the Soviet Union, and its government-run space programme ceased to exist.
Just as astronauts on ISS looked down upon a planet changed by a pandemic, and conflict, Woman From Mars is a story about adapting to seismic change; personally and globally; the chemistry of human life.
Since her return to Earth, Helen Sharman has directed her pioneering efforts towards education. In addition to numerous awards, she was recognised in the 2018 New Year Honours for services to Science and Technology Outreach.
Woman From Mars was first written as a 15 minute short for The Miniaturists, at Arcola in April 2019. The full draft has been supported by an MGCfutures bursary and Hospitalfield Interdisciplinary Residency.
Watch WOMAN FROM MARS showcase performance
Livestreamed from Jermyn Street Theatre, hosted by UCL Centre for Outer Space Studies
Introduced by Dr. David Jeevendrampillai, 11 November 2020
Directed by Cat Robey.
Music by Junior XL.
BECKY SIMON as Helen Sharman
PETER CLEMENTS as Sergei Krikalev
LYNDA ROOKE as ‘Miss’ Stella Shaw