Pope Joan by Louise Brealey to receive its world premiere at St James’s Church, Piccadilly.
It will be part of the National Youth Theatre’s 2013 London Season.
The play tells the story of the legend of the first and only female to be elected Pope and is said to have modern parallels.
This is actress Louise’s first play. The show will be directed by former NYT member and former Donmar Warehouse resident assistant director Abbey Wright.
“When the NYT asked me to write a play about Pope Joan, my first instinct was to run like the clappers,” says Louise Brealey. “But the moment I began to read about the Joan legend, I fell in love with the idea of such a woman existing in a world where a woman of any learning was considered a dangerous freak.
“I wanted to have a stab at telling her story and find out what she might have to say to a 21st century audience. For me it doesn’t matter whether Joan really existed. It matters that so many people wanted her to exist.
“Having read everything there is to read about her, I want her to have existed too. She sounds amazing. My Pope Joan is the story of a lonely, clever, ambitious woman who has more enemies than friends and who risks her life daily for the cause she believes in.
“She wants to change medieval Christianity, and if she had succeeded, she would have changed the world.”
Pope Joan is at St James’s Piccadilly from 31 August to 15 September. Tickets are £17.50 from the National Theatre box office.