Donate Tickets



by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Vanessa Stalling

Feb 10, 2023 — Mar 05, 2023

FASCINATING; any fan of Churchill’s plays will likely feel this is an evening well spent.” –Chicago Tribune★★★½ “Thanks to a stellar production from Vanessa Stalling, directing a CRAZY-GOOD CAST, this 40-year-old play comes across as STRIKINGLY CONTEMPORARY.” -Sun-Times

Reader Recommended “Throughout the play the women sing, sometimes alone but best of all together, creating temporary harmonies, a loveliness seemingly from nothing, breathed, voiced, created, experienced, then gone, a vibration that passes through like a ghost of a HOPE that can’t quite exist in this universe yet somehow does.” – Chicago Reader

On the marshy fens of eastern England in the 1980s, ghosts of the past haunt the women who labor as tenant farmers in the potato fields and who lead lives essentially unchanged from their 19th-century forebears. When Val seizes on a new relationship as a path to escape the crushing bonds of work, poverty, and family, she is confronted with the explosive repercussions of her decision. Employing astonishing theatrical imagery, Churchill’s Fen shows with grace and sly humor how the intricate pressures of gender and class both shape and distort the characters of women.

Jeff Award-winning director Vanessa Stalling (Photograph 51) returns to Court Theatre to bring her striking clarity and fresh perspective to the path-breaking text that won Churchill the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and cemented her reputation as one of our greatest living playwrights.

Digital Program
Sponsored by The Marion M. Lloyd Court Theatre Fund.

Photo of Morgan Lavenstein, Genevieve VenJohnson, Elizabeth Laidlaw, and Lizzie Bourne by Michael Brosilow.

Artistic Team




Articles and Interviews

Learning Guide: FEN

Check out these resources for academics, enthusiasts, educators to support your learning and viewing of FEN. We’re thrilled to offer them as a complement to our Student Matinee program, and we hope they enrich your experience of this production.

“A Dark Beauty”

Director Vanessa Stalling illuminates the force of Caryl Churchill's FEN and how the competing worlds, desires, and constraints create an enriching theatrical experience.

The Fenlands

Production Dramaturg Derek Matson provides an overview of the history and socioeconomic context surrounding FEN, while encouraging audiences to imagine a different, brighter future

Theatre & Thought Series

In 2020, Court conducted a series of conversations regarding Caryl Churchill's FEN. Check out these discussions to deepen your knowledge of this ambitious, visceral production.

The Feminism of FEN

Everything comes from somewhere! Learn about the source text that inspired Caryl Churchill's FEN, Mary Chamberlain's seminal work FENWOMEN: A PORTRAIT OF WOMEN IN AN ENGLISH VILLAGE.

You Don’t Own Me

Exploring the feelings, dreams, and desires of each character, this playlist offers a fun and engaging way to familiarize yourself with the themes of Caryl Churchill's FEN.

Related Events

  • March 15 - 17 → Spotlight Reading Series

    Originally curated by Ron OJ Parson as a series of readings throughout the year, this year’s Spotlight Reading Series is curated as a three-day event celebrating playwright Sonia Sanchez. Join us for staged readings, pre-show Communal Activations, and post-show conversations with local artists, innovators, and luminaries.

You have seat(s) on hold for:


Forgot your password?