Firebird – Philippa Stockley

by Philippa Stockley
  • Dramatic Rights: Available
  • Setting: Victorian England
  • Vibe: True story about one of the first feminist businesswomen in the UK .
  • Period: Victorian

FIREBIRD tells a fictionalised version of the true-life story of legendary business empress, Eleanor Coade.

Coade (born 1733) rose from genteel poverty to build a business empire that competed with the still-famous international brands in scale, societal impact and creative originality. This achievement by a woman was unprecedented. That Coade’s name isn’t better known to us illustrates how keen society was to cover over the discomfiture of her success. Her obscurity (compared to say Wedgwood) illustrates a feminist reading of her life as much as her achievements.

Coade’s life story is deeply moving and unfolds the psychological costs on Coade for her insistence on showing the world what she could do; as she stands headfirst against societal expectations and anti-feminist religiosity of the time, which will chime with many today.

Also important in this story is the tear-jerking and warmly sincere demonstrating of Coade’s love story and difficulties she had when forced to hide her passion for the man she loved so that her authority as a groundbreaking female business tycoon.

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