Publishers bring Radium Girls play to West End

Publishers bring Radium Girls play to West End

Two publishing professionals have brought a production of Melanie Marnich’s 'These Shining Lives' to the Pleasance Theatre in London.

Kate Moore, a former PRH editorial director who now works as a freelance writer and editor, is directing the play, while Anna Marx, commissioning editor at John Blake, takes on the leading role of Catherine Wolfe Donohue.

The play tells the true story of the Radium Girls, the “ordinary women from the 1920s who broke the mould by stepping into the world of work for the first time – only to find the very thing that made them feel alive was slowly killing them, as they were poisoned by the radium paint with which they worked.”

Moore recently secured a deal with commissioning editor, Abigail Bergstrom of Simon & Schuster, to write an account of the women’s story titled The Radium Girls.

Moore said: “From the moment I discovered the women’s story it resonated powerfully with me. It has been a privilege to direct a production that dramatises their quiet heroism. As I researched the real women while directing the play, I was stunned to find that their tale had not yet been told in a narrative non-fiction account. I hope my book will redress the balance. I feel passionately about bringing this inspiring and important story to a wide audience and am thrilled to have the opportunity to do so with Abbie and the team at S&S.”

Marx said she was “delighted” to be involved in the production and “so pleased that Kate will be able to tell their story fully in her book.”

The Radium Girls’ story is “inspiring”, said Bergstrom. She added: “I’m thrilled to be publishing The Radium Girls – theirs is a story that should be told.’

The production runs from 8th to 20th September at the Pleasance StageSpace (picture shows rehearsal). The Radium Girls will be published by S&S in 2016.

The Radium Girls were factory workers who contracted radiation poisoning from painting watch dials with self-luminous paint at the United States Radium factor in 1917.