Telling lies is not child’s play

The Children's Hour is a 1934 stage play written by Lillian Hellman. It is a drama set in an all-girls boarding school run by two women, Karen Wright and Martha Dobie. An angry student, Mary Tilford, runs away from the school and to avoid being sent back she tells her grandmother that the two headmistresses are having a lesbian affair. The accusation proceeds to destroy the women's careers, relationships and lives.

The play was first staged on Broadway at the Maxine Elliott Theatre in 1934, where it ran for over two years, and in 1936 it was put on at London's Gate Theatre Studio and Dublin's Gate Theatre.
The Children's Hour is a 1934 stage play written by Lillian Hellman. It is a drama set in an all-girls boarding school run by two women, Karen Wright and Martha Dobie. An angry student, Mary Tilford, runs away from the school and to avoid being sent back she tells her grandmother that the two headmistresses are having a lesbian affair. The accusation proceeds to destroy the women's careers, relationships and lives. The play was first staged on Broadway at the Maxine Elliott Theatre in 1934, where it ran for over two years, and in 1936 it was put on at London's Gate Theatre Studio and Dublin's Gate Theatre.

When it was first staged in the 1930s, Lillian Hellman’s play ‘The Children’s Hour’, was considered so scandalous that actresses refused to take leading parts for fear of the police closing the theatre during the performances.

Now, happily, attitudes have changed for the better and the play has endured the test of time as a powerful drama. The focus is less on lesbianism and more on the tragic consequences of a lie.

First published in 1934, the story is about a teenage girl who spreads a story at her boarding school that two of the teachers have an ‘unnatural’ attachment to each other.

Hebden Bridge Little Theatre are presenting ‘The Children’s Hour’ from Monday June 13 to Saturday, June 18 at 7.30pm (no matinee).

Director Jenny Gore said: “‘We have a strong cast which includes seven talented schoolgirls, aged between 11 and 15, and five other splendid actors, who are experienced past performers with the theatre.

“‘Phoebe Farrington and Rachel Peter have been seen frequently in the past year and were both tapping away in ‘Stepping Out’ but this time take serious leading parts. Kate Leslie makes a welcome return to our stage after a ‘rest’ of several years, and Maddie Cullinane has once again emerged from the wardrobe department to tread the boards.

“Richard Holley, last seen in ‘Time of My Life’ is back again as a tormented fiancé, and young Louis Graham features as the Grocery Boy.”

Tickets at £5/£9 are available online at www.hblt.co.uk, or from Innovation, Hebden Bridge.