The Two Tigers in this kaleidoscopic musical are writer Katherine Mansfield, and her publisher, later her husband
John Middleton Murry.
Born in New Zealand in the late 1880s, Mansfield left her homeland and her family name behind her, to travel to London,
to make a new name as a writer.
After an early, short lived marriage, her meeting with the young and ambitious Middleton Murry, brought her to the centre of literary life in London, and led first to the founding of a magazine, and later
to a love affair that shaped her life.
An uplifting story of how this partnership led to a legacy of groundbreaking stories from a truly original and influential female voice that is still admired today.
Katherine Mansfield was a prominent New Zealand modernist short story writer, born Kathleen Beauchamp and brought up in colonial New Zealand. At 19, she left her homeland to settle in England, where she became a friend of writers such as D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf. She was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1917, which led to her death 6 years later, at the age of 34.
Although Virginia Woolf is now more readily associated with the stream of consciousness technique, it was actually Mansfield who tried it out first. In addition to her short stories, amongst them Prelude, and The Aloe, which fictionally describe her early life in New Zealand, she is also known for her journals, letters, and poems.
Who was Katherine Mansfield?
Two Tigers was a finalist in the Vivan Ellis Prize for writers of the Musical Stage, where it was championed by
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice and Don Black.
It was workshopped on the London Fringe and subsequently presented at The Pleasance Edinburgh during the Festival Fringe, where it was nominated for a Fringe First.
"I was jealous of her writing - the only writing I have ever been jealous of." Virginia Woolf on Katherine Mansfield
Sue Casson with John Jansson at the piano
Songs from the show have been broadcast on BBC Radio, and performed in cabaret and recorded by Casson,
most recently accompanied by violinist Jackie Hartley on her Beachcomber CD. Hear two of them by clicking below.
To mark the centenary of Katherine Mansfield's death, Sue Casson is presently revisiting and reworking her early musical,
for performances in 2023. She has been exploring notebooks and biographies published since she first wrote the original show, focussing on the musical background to Mansfield's writing.
Follow her journey, which she has been sharing on Twitter
in a new collaboration of picture quote tweets with LCB Photography.