Iron Lady writer Abi Morgan adapts true story of a 'kept woman' for The Mistress Contract at the Royal Court Theatre

The Mistress Contract is written by The Iron Lady's Abi Morgan

Abi Morgan, the writer of The Iron Lady, is to make her bow at the Royal Court Theatre with the extraordinary true story of a woman who drew up a contract agreeing to be the mistress of a wealthy businessman, and has stayed with him for over 30 years.

The Mistress Contract, which is to premiere in January next year, is part of Vicky Featherstone’s first season as artistic director of the London theatre.

The play is taken from transcripts in which the anonymous woman and her wealthy lover share their most intimate thoughts. Ms Featherstone called the transcripts “extraordinary” adding that she and Ms Morgan were “very lucky to get hold of them”.

They were initially collected into a book, with the authors using the pseudonyms “She and He,” and published in the US in 2011.

The book will be published in the UK by Serpent’s Tail in November. Publisher Hannah Westland said: “I feel like it has taken on a life of its own. We had really high hopes for the dramatic rights as it reads like a play script. Vicky swept in very quickly and picked it up.”

The pair – she is 88, he is 93 – is still together, living in separate houses in the same city on the west coast of America.

She is described as a “highly educated, intelligent woman with a history of involvement in the feminist movement”. The pair first met at university before losing touch. They began the affair after meeting two decades later

Ms Westland said: “The identities of the two could probably be pieced together but we took the decision that this was an interesting story, and should be taken in the abstract.”

The book opens with a piece of paper they both signed in 1981. The contract stated that in return for money to live in “tasteful accommodations to her liking” and an income, she would provide “mistress services”.

These included companionship for the businessman when he was in the area, and “all sexual acts engaged in when requested by Mr [redacted], with suspension of historical, emotional, psychological disclaimers for duration of time requested”.

It stated that for the “duration of the agreement, Ms [redacted] becomes sexual property of Mr [redacted].”

She faxed the document through to her lover, and it was returned almost immediately with his signature.

The woman went on to tape every conversation they had about their relationship with a small recorder, whether travelling, in restaurants, on the telephone and even in bed.

“The transcripts and the play observe this couple,” Ms Featherstone said. “It charts the cultural journey of the last 40 years through books and literature, films they have seen and it’s about decay… It’s a very beautiful piece.”

This is Ms Morgan’s first play for the Royal Court. Her previous theatre credits include 27 for National Theatre of Scotland and Frantic Assembly’s Lovesong.

She has also written the screenplay for films including Shame, directed by Steve McQueen, and television work such as The Hour and the adaptation of Birdsong.

Also in the Royal Court’s new season is The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas, which marks Dennis Kelly’s debut at the theatre.

Mr Kelly’s work includes the Olivier Award-winning Matilda the Musical as well as Channel 4 television show Utopia.

November marks the arrival of Let the Right One In, a stage adaptation based on the Swedish novel and film script. The theatre described it as an “enchanting, brutal vampire myth and coming-of-age love story”.

The National Theatre of Scotland production premiered at Dundee Rep Theatre earlier this year and will transfer to the West End in 2014 after playing at the Royal Court.

The season will include works by Samuel Beckett as well as a collaborative piece called Peckham: The Soap Opera.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Arts and Entertainment
Nicholas says that he still feels lucky to be able to do what he loves, but that there is much about being in a band he hates
musicThere is much about being in a band that he hates, but his debut album is suffused with regret
Arts and Entertainment
The singer, who herself is openly bisexual, praised the 19-year-old sportsman before launching into a tirade about the upcoming Winter Olympics

Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in the eleventh season of Two and a Half Men

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn