PAYNE: The Stars Are Fire
by Ross McGregor
produced by Christopher Tester for Arrows & Traps Theatre
Set five years after the events of The Music In The Spheres, The Stars Are Fire follows the phenomenal true story of one of Holst’s most brilliant students – Cecilia Payne – as she begins her groundbreaking work in astronomy at Harvard Observatory in 1923.
One of the first trailblazing women to receive a PhD in the United States, Cecilia soon makes a discovery that turns everything humanity knows about the universe completely on its head, and she must decide whether to fight or fall as powerful authorities try to silence her.
PAYNE: The Stars Are Fire is the powerful story of England’s most pioneering scientific explorer, telling a bold-hearted romance about one woman’s love affair with the stars.
The Stars Are Fire is part two of Arrows & Traps new repertory season: The Dyer’s Hand.
My nature is subdued to what it works in, like the dyer’s hand.
Sonnet 111, William Shakespeare
Able to be seen individually as two independent stories, or taken as a single epic narrative experience, The Dyer’s Hand Rep Season presents two interlinking plays, told on alternating nights by a single cast, and produced by the award-winning and critically-acclaimed Arrows & Traps Theatre.
Press for this production
The Stars Are Fire is an outstanding tribute to Cecilia Payne’s career and legacy – an inspirational story performed by a heavenly cast with wit, charm and passion ★★★★ Fairy Powered Productions
This show proves that pub theatre is delivering big visions … it should be staged every year London Pub Theatres ★★★★.5
Arrow and Traps are on top form again in this companion piece to Holst…It is a bold undertaking and their versatility as a company is again on display… the story is worth telling and the plays make a fine tandem. The performances are all striking with Cornelia Baumann in particular doing a deliciously funny turn as one of the pillars of the institution who does recognise what Payne had to offer when the men see it as something they can use ★★★★ Reviewsgate
The Stars Are Fire is a striking play about a most striking woman… Ross McGregor, pulling double duty as writer and director, illuminates her story most effectively, warmly and wittily There Ought to be Clowns
McGregor’s words are in good hands. In the care of Laurel Marks, Cecilia Payne blossoms from the awkward loner of HOLST to the groundbreaking young woman and inspirational teacher we see in PAYNE, in which Toby Wynn-Davies makes a cameo appearance as the elderly, endearing Gustav Holst… Lucy Ioannou is a lively Adelaide Ames whose bubbly exterior belies a brain to be reckoned with, and Cornelia Baumann’s dignified and acerbically witty Annie Jump Cannon channels Katherine Hepburn in early century high-collared ruffled blouse. PAYNE: The Stars Are Fire stands as an engaging reminder of these women’s contributions and their lasting position as role models. British Theatre Guide
A tale of amazing women who were marginalised by men… it never falters or fails to hold the attention Southwark News
NOMINATED FOR TWO OFF-WEST END AWARDS: Supporting performer (plays) Cornelia Baumann and Lucy Ioannou
Payne: The Stars Are Fire by Ross McGregor
Directed by Ross McGregor
Designed by Odin Corie
Lighting Design: Jonathan Simpson
Sound Design: Alistair Lax
Video Design: Douglas Baker
Vocal Coach: Sarah Case
Make up Artist: Lucy Ioannou
Photography by The Ocular Creative
Produced by Christopher Tester for Arrows & Traps Theatre
Cornelia Baumann: Annie Jump Cannon
Lucy Ioannou: Adelaide Ames
Laurel Marks: Cecilia Payne
Edward Spence: Donald Menzel
Alex Stevens: Harlow Shapley
Toby Wynn-Davies: Gustav Holst & Henry Russell