Film about poet Stevie Smith finds key source in biography written by Emeritus Fellow

Juliet Stevenson plays Stevie Smith in a new film available free until 5th April from the Globe Theatre. It is a beautifully scripted and performed piece, says Professor Frances Spalding, who wrote a biography of Stevie Smith in the late 1980s, and was surprised and delighted this month to be acknowledged effusively by one of the scriptwriters and Master of Ceremonies.  

Stevie Smith: Black March is a double-act performance between the poet and the man who acts as her sounding board, encouraging observations and chat before the dialogue segues into another poem. It is beautifully filmed in the candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, which is attached to the Globe. In the course of just over an hour you are given a full picture of Stevie Smith's life and career.

The film has been released to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Smith’s death, and sees the award-winning Stevenson bring the British poet to life in a production which draws on her letters and prose, featuring also her renowned illustrations.

Professor Spalding’s book, Stevie Smith: a Critical Biography (Faber & Faber, 1988) reveals and explores the intimate relationship between the course of Smith's life and the evolution of her art.

The film is available free and on demand until 5th April 2021, at

Professor Spalding is Emeritus Fellow of Clare Hall and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She is also an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art, and in 2005 was awarded a CBE.

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