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Ava: The Secret Conversations

Riverside Studios, Hammersmith


A visually striking and enigmatic affair, based on the book “The Secret Conversations” by Peter Evans and Ava Gardner.

A fading star of Hollywood’s golden age, now living a quiet life in 1980s London, hires a journalist to write her biography in order to bring in much needed income. The journalist can’t believe his luck. From poor Southern farm girl to a powerful Hollywood goddess her story is pure celluloid. A devastating beauty whose hard drinking, hard loving lifestyle kept the gossip columnists busy as her movies thrilled the punters. The ultimate femme fatale – Ava Gardner

Not always intentionally, Ava spills the beans on her three husbands to often humorous affect: Mickey Rooney, a serial cheater so notorious that even his mother warned Gardner about him; bandleader Artie Shaw “a dominating son of a bitch – always putting me down” and Frank Sinatra.. “We were fighting all the time. Fighting and boozing. It was madness. But he was good in the feathers”. This compelling new play f explores the fractured relationship between the public and private lives of one of Hollywood’s great icons. 59 Productions has created set design inspired by cinematic techniques and tools, and video design that brings to life Ava’s memories as she reminisces across a lifetime of glamour and gossip.

Opened Jan - Apr 2022

Riverside Studios, Hammersmith

Design inspired by cinema techniques and tools

Translating the story into narrative and spatial diagrams









Video Design

Director Gaby Dellal has worked largely in film and, alongside projection specialists 59 Productions, has created a show that splices film and theatre together with finesse.
The lustrous production from director Gaby Dellal also involves beautiful set design from 59 Productions…and visual archive projections of photos and Hollywood scenery conveying cinematic touches that transport us back to the era.


Produced by
Karl Sydow

Directed by
Gaby Dellal

Adapted and written by
Elizabeth McGovern

59 Productions

Fotini Dimou

Lighting Design
Elliot Griggs

Sound Design
Ella Wahlström

Movement Director
Gemma Payne

59 Team

Design Directors
Leo Warner & Ben Pearcy

Set Designer
Hannah Rozenberg

Video Designer
Matthew Taylor

Associate Set Designer
Scarlett Moloney

Assistant Video Designer
Felix Green

Edd Stockton

Video Line Producer
Kate Stanley

Production Video
Richard Wells

Anna Jones