Gemma Whelan

Vita and Virginia

by Eileen Atkins

Theatre Rhinoceros

Feb – Mar, 2004

Bay Area Premiere


  • “...directed with heartfelt precision by Gemma Whelan.”

    San Francisco Observer

  • “Gemma turned a piece, which on paper was all words, into an exciting and stimulating evening of theatre. Her use of space, composition, and colaboration with the designers, were all superb.”

    John Fisher, Executive Director, Theatre Rhinoceros

  • “Gemma is a marvelous director to work with, because she can draw very intricate, layered performances out of her actors through her remarkable combination of intellect, intuition, practicality, and kindness. I would call her rehearsal process "guided collaboration," for there is no doubt that she is the head of the team, but we are very free to create, explore, and grow. Working with Gemma is the purest ensemble I’ve experienced.”

    Jennifer Grimes, actor cast as Vita


Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, members of the illustrious Bloomsbury set, met at a dinner party in 1922 and began a relationship that lasted over 20 years. Their revelatory letters to one another chronicle their extraordinary friendship. As a playwright, Eileen Atkins astutely harvests the Woolf/Sackville-West correspondence and diaries so that the written words come alive as real conversations between two deeply connected individuals.


Photos © 2004 David Wilson


Carolyn Cox / VIRGINIA
Jen Grimes* / VITA


Gemma Whelan / DIRECTOR
Taisia Nikonishchenko / COSTUME DESIGN
Angela Henderson / STAGE MANAGER

* Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States, appearing under a Special Appearance Contract.