Lisa Dwan to star in a one woman reimagining of Antigone written by Colm Tóibín and directed by Trevor Nunn

24 March 2021. Angelica Films and London-based independent producer Nevision are co-producing a BBC special, Pale Sister, in association with Riverside Studios.

Pale Sister is presented as part of BBC Lights Up, a major festival of UK theatre adapted for TV and radio at a time when theatres throughout the UK are closed. Continuing its Culture in Quarantine initiative – bringing arts and culture into the nation’s homes – BBC Arts has partnered with theatres across the country to produce this unprecedented season of 18 plays for audiences at home.

Pale Sister stars, and is produced by, Lisa Dwan, along with Andrew Fettis, with Sir Trevor Nunn directing. It was recorded at Riverside Studios with Rachel Tackley as Associate Producer.

Airing on 30 March on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer, the 75-minute one woman play is executive produced by Sally Angel for Angelica Films, an All3Media company, Anne Morrison, Nevision’s Creative Director, Factual and Emma Cahusac for BBC Arts.

Written by celebrated author Colm Tóibín for award-winning actress Lisa Dwan, the play reimagines Sophocles’ Greek tragedy of Antigone from the point of view of her sister, Ismene.  Pale Sister follows Ismene as she recounts her sister’s infamous defiance of their uncle, the king of Thebes, and decides what to do as the pressure mounts on the timid young woman to act. 

Lisa Dwan says: “Antigone has always been read as a parable about what happens when a women speaks truth to power. Pale Sister asks the question of all of us today “Who are we if we are not Antigone?”

Emma Cahusac says: “BBC Lights Up is a major broadcast season celebrating the creativity and resilience of UK theatre, and I am delighted that Pale Sister has been filmed for BBC Four and iPlayer. The combined talents of Lisa Dwan, Colm Tóibín and Sir Trevor Nunn is a real treat for BBC audiences around the country, who will soon have access to this exceptional production.”

Sally Angel says: “Colm Tóibín’s play, exploring the timeless struggles of women to find the courage to speak up, is a crucial contribution to the Arts at this time. Angelica films is delighted to bring this exceptional piece to the screen together with Lisa Dwan, Sir Trevor Nunn, BBC Arts and Nevision. BBC Arts’ commitment to culture during the pandemic has created opportunities for new, hybrid forms of theatre and Angelica is thrilled to build on our experience having co-produced Sonia Friedman’s Uncle Vanya for BBC4 last year.”

Anne Morrison, Creative Director, Factual at Nevision adds: “Pale Sister is a dynamic piece of theatre which is timely and holds a contemporary relevance, highlighting the power of protest and women’s continued struggle and courage in standing up to harsh and wilful male authority.”

Colm Tóibín is one of Ireland’s most celebrated living authors, known for his novels including The Master, Nora Webster, The Testament of Mary, and Brooklyn, which was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film starring Saoirse Ronan and Domnhall Gleeson. He has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize three times and has received numerous awards, including the Costa Novel Award, the International Dublin Literary

Award, the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award, the Stonewall Book Award, and the Irish Pen Award. 


Lisa Dwan is an award-winning actress, director & scholar. She is probably best known for her internationally acclaimed one woman performances of the works of Samuel Beckett. Currently starring in Top Boy for Netflix and Bloodlands for the BBC and AMC in America, Lisa is teaming up once again with Sir Trevor Nunn to play Winnie for the seminal 60th anniversary performance of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days at Riverside Studios this July.

For further information, please contact DDA Blueprint

Janet Balmforth Tel: + 44 (0) 7748 185 656 or email

About Angelica Films

Angelica Films, an All3Media company, is led by award-winning producer Sally Angel, whose credits include the feature documentaries Tea with The Dames and Night Will Fall; Inside the American Embassy, which captured nine months of daily life behind the scenes of the U.S. Embassy in London; and the digital short Missed Call. Collectively, these productions have won and been nominated for many of the industry’s most-coveted awards, including BAFTAs, Emmys, FOCAL and Peabody Awards.

The Angelica Films team has produced programmes for some of the world’s most-respected networks and SVODs, including HBO, Nat Geo, IFC, Hulu, Netflix, BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, and UKTV. Angelica’s latest production was a filmed theatrical version of Sonia’ Friedman’s production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya for BBC Arts and the cinema, starring Toby Jones, Richard Armitage and Aimee Lou Wood.

About Nevision

Nevision is an award-winning independent international studio that produces drama, factual and kids & family ​series and films, nurturing talent and projects from scribe to screen. Nevision tells well-crafted, character-driven stories with global appeal. The team comprises some of the UK’s most experienced, creative and business executives overseeing an active slate of projects working with preeminent writers, talent, producers, distributors and platforms. Nevision has recently expanded its global reach via Nevision Inc. with offices in Los Angeles and New York, while Nevision’s sister company Nevis Productions is based in Copenhagen and Stockholm.

About BBC Lights Up

BBC Lights Up is a major festival of UK theatre adapted for TV and radio at a time when theatres throughout the UK are closed. Continuing its Culture in Quarantine initiative – bringing arts and culture into the nation’s homes – BBC Arts has partnered with theatres across the country to produce this unprecedented season of 18 plays for audiences at home.

Lights Up TV plays are the world premiere of The Winter’s Tale from the RSC; J’Ouvert from Sonia Friedman Productions; Orpheus In The Record Shop from Opera North and Leeds Playhouse; Katherine Parkinson’s Sitting; Sadie from the Lyric Belfast; Colm Tóibín’s Pale Sister; Half Breed from Soho Theatre; Buttercup from 20 Stories High;  Harm from Bush Theatre; Adam from the National Theatre of Scotland.

Lights Up radio plays are The Meaning Of Zong from Bristol Old Vic; The Fishermen from New Perspectives Theatre Company; a double-bill of Nick Payne’s award-winning stage plays Constellations and Elegy; Welcome To Iran from Theatre Royal Stratford East; Braids from Live Theatre Newcastle, Stripe By Stripe And Other Stories from National Theatre Wales; Folk from Hampstead Theatre; Dedication from The Nuffield Theatre, Southampton.

About Culture In Quarantine

BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine initiative is an essential arts and culture service across BBC platforms that will keep the arts alive in people’s homes, focused most intensely across BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, BBC Two, BBC Four, BBC Sounds, BBC iPlayer and We are doing this in close consultation and collaboration with organisations like Arts Council England and other national funding and producing bodies.

This arts and culture service includes:

  • Guides and access to shuttered exhibitions, performances or permanent collections in museums, galleries and performance spaces;
  • Ways to experience books with privileged access to authors including a collaboration with the Big Book Weekend amongst other initiatives.
  • Jewels from the archive as well as brand new content ensuring that brand new theatre and dance performances will join with modern classics to create a repertory theatre of broadcast.
  • Participatory offers including masterclasses and ways to enable audiences to create at home through Get Creative
  • Topical arts through Front Row, Front Row Late, Free Thinking and more
  • A fund with Arts Council England to support around 25 artists to create new work
  • A place for arts organisations to share innovations from quarantine and for audiences to discover new things through