The curtain is coming up on a new play about controversial women's rights and birth control campaigner Marie Stopes.

Dorset theatre company AsOne was awarded an Arts Council grant to bring the story of Marie Stopes, a one-time Portland resident, to the stage.

The funding has helped members research, write, produce and premiere an original play, ‘Escaping the Storm’, about her life on the island.

AsOne has been working with Portland Museum, Pennsylvania Castle, The Portland Quarry Trust and the Atlantic Academy on the project.

More funding is being sought to support an associated community project getting students involved in conducting interviews and making filmed podcasts.

AsOne say Marie Stopes was 'probably the most controversial woman of the twentieth century'.

Vilified by the Catholic Church for her controversial views, she needed a retreat. Escaping the Storm finds Stopes on Portland; fossil hunting, skinny dipping, and mingling with the locals between 1923-58.

The community is shocked to discover she has bought the Higher Lighthouse. How will she change the islanders’ ways of thinking and how will she be changed by Portland?

It is interwoven by film – evoking both the rugged island environment, and Stopes’ favoured music.

Jane McKell from AsOne said: “When the playwright Peter John Cooper researched Marie Stopes on Portland we were surprised there was no previous record of a play written about her to be found.

"Stopes was controversial, brilliant, and complex – a gift of a story.

"We just had to create this play about how she affected Portland and how this rugged isle touched her. Pam Boyce and David Carter from Portland Museum Trust have both helped us immensely."

She added: "AsOne loves shining a light into the shadows of this part of the world, discovering some amazing women – and the men that surround them.

“Peter’s given the play a really engaging, ensemble feel, with four actors telling both an intimate, yet larger story to give background to who this woman was before she came to the island."

A number of events are lined up to promote the play.

This includes an introduction to the play, rehearsed scene readings and a Q&A session. This will be at Portland Museum on Sunday, September 9 at 3pm and will feature Pimm’s and cake. Tickets £3.50. Call 01305 821804.

A gala fundraiser with a preview of the play is at Pennsylvania Castle on Monday, October 15 at 6.30pm. Tickets £30. Call 01305 835541

The play will be premiered at Royal Manor Theatre on Tuesday, October 16 at 7.30pm before going on to tour widely. It will be performed at Weymouth Pavilion on Thursday, February 14, 2019.