A NEW play about a pioneering Exmoor woman, and one of the region's most fascinating characters, is to be performed at Ilminster Arts Centre.

'Rosalie' is inspired by the life of Rosalie Chichester (1865-1949), who owned Arlington Court, North Devon.

She was a Suffragette, scientist, photographer, explorer, collector and unapologetic eccentric who inherited and ran the family estate, and travelled widely.

The one-woman play starring Helena Payne is presented by the acclaimed Pleasure Dome Theatre in partnership with the National Trust.

It explores the pressures of female identity and familial responsibility in Victorian and Edwardian England.

Directed by the award-winning Scott Le Crass, it sheds light on one of the South West's most interesting but lesser-known personalities.

Helena Payne said: "She was a remarkable woman from a family of history and heritage, who saw and experienced huge social change and technological innovation.

"In many ways she was a woman ahead of her time, not limited by Victorian expectations of what women could or should do.

"She was a great protector of wildlife and had an ardent love of nature.

"When researching this play I was drawn to Rosalie's inquiring mind and intriguing personality, and thought that more people needed to know about her.

"Indeed, at Pleasure Dome Theatre, our mission is to tell Exmoor stories and this often means exploring the lives of hidden figures in history and giving them the limelight and recognition they deserve.

"This little-known story explores the complicated relationship between an extraordinary place and an extraordinary person."

The performance starts at 7.30pm on Saturday, April 15. Tickets £12 (£5 for students with ID, free to children 12 or under, accompanied by a paying adult).

To book visit www.ilminsterartscentre.com phone 01460 54973 (9.30am - 3pm, Tuesdays-Saturdays) or email performances@ilminsterarts.org.uk