Derby Theatre to stage new play Jinny

Jinny, a new play which responds to John Osborne’s iconic Look Back in Anger from a female perspective, is being staged at Derby Theatre.

It is part of the theatre’s RETOLD series, which aims to crack open the classics from the viewpoint of female characters, as well as giving exciting female contemporary writers the opportunity to have their work performed on the main stage at Derby Theatre.

The new play, which has been written by Derby-born Jane Wainwright, is a humorous and poignant response piece to Osborne’s classic and has been built on research and development with women living in Derby today.

It is a story of a young woman trying to cope with the world in which she finds herself.

Jinny puts Derby’s women centre stage as the ‘angry young man’ becomes today’s ‘angry young women’.

Jane was a member of the Royal Court’s Young Writers Programme, Invitation Group and ‘Supergroup’. She writes for TV, theatre and radio and is currently developing a radio play for BBC Radio 4.

For the RETOLD project the playwright has created Jinny and her childhood friend, Liv. They are 25 and going nowhere – unless being evicted is a destination.

Jinny is all the things she feels she should be: strong, outspoken and armed with a degree, but it turns out that isn’t enough.

In a world where your mate earns more than your dad and folk go to the supermarket with no bra on, Jinny wants more.

But when everyone is promised everything, what happens when there’s not enough to go round?

The theatre’s artistic director and chief executive Sarah Brigham, who is directing the play, said: “Jinny takes the character of Jimmy Porter and looks at a female 2016 equivalent. We researched with women across Derby to see what challenges they face today and those findings have been the basis for the script.

“Joanna Simpkins who we’ve cast is a fantastic actor who I think will bring a real truth to the role. Expect to hear the story of a brassy woman living in Derby who was promised it all and still wondering what “all” is.

“The idea behind the RETOLD series, of which Jinny is a part, was born out of me feeling there was a lack of female characters in the classic plays being staged in British Theatre and this series of plays would be a perfect way to rebalance this by producing contemporary pieces exploring the classics from the perspective of the female characters.

“I am also keen and passionate about profiling the work of today’s female writers who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to have their work performed on a main stage in a professional theatre.”

Jinny will run on selected days between Monday March 7 and 23, with Look Back in Anger running from March 4-26. For tickets go to

Look Back in Anger smashed on to the scene and changed the face of British theatre in the mid-1950s, by placing on stage the voice of the ‘Angry Young Man’. The play has a huge resonance in Derby, as it is a strongly autobiographical piece which suggests it is based on Osborne’s unhappy marriage to actress Pamela Lane, and their life living in a cramped flat in Derby during the 50s.