Jilted on the verge of marriage, Sir Roderick spurns all contact with all women. The woman who jilted him, wooed with verses by another, became Lady Smatter and is, she feels, at the centre of literary life, peppering her every sentence with misremembered quotations. Sir Roderick has severed relations with his sister Eleonora because she presumed to marry Wilmot, Lady Smatter’s brother. That marriage had now foundered over suspected adultery. Years have now passed, children have grown up and heirs need to be found. In this world of antagonism and suspicion is it possible for love to blossom and hate to wither?

Fanny Burney is famous – as a novelist and as a woman of letters. Yet she also wrote plays and our production of The Woman Hater will be, incredibly, the world premiere of her 1802 play.

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