image from play posterUniversity Players will stage “An Experiment with an Air Pump” January 29 through February 7.

Downton Abbey writer’s work to appear on University Players’ stage

Shelagh Stephenson, a multi-award-winning English actress and writer, has a long list of credits that includes writing for the costume drama Downton Abbey. Stephenson is a prolific writer for stage, radio, film and television and her play The Memory of Water was adapted for film and produced as Before You Go, starring Julie Walters. Another of her award-winning plays will appear on the Essex Hall Theatre stage beginning January 29.

University Players opens 2016 with Shelagh Stephenson’s provocative drama An Experiment with an Air Pump, running from January 29 through February 7. Her play gives the audience an intelligent, emotionally powerful drama—part detective story, part science play—that asks the question: “how far will you go for the sake of science?”

Beginning in 1799, on the eve of a new century, a Northern English house buzzes with scientific experiments and furtive romance. In 1999, in a world of scientific chaos, cloning and genetic engineering, the cellar of the same house reveals a dark secret buried for 200 years.

Wednesday through Saturday performances are at 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. On Sunday, January 31, a “Talk Back” discussion with the actors will follow the performance. Note: An Experiment with an Air Pump contains language some may find offensive.

Tickets may be ordered online at or by calling 519-253-3000, ext. 2808.