Jean Rhys is best known for her novel Wide Sargasso Sea. The book, a prequel to Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, tells the story of Bertha, the Creole woman from the West Indies who became the first Mrs Rochester.
Like Bertha, Rhys was born in the West Indies and based her heroine's story on her own early life in Dominica. Now a new play, After Mrs Rochester, brings the story to the stage.
The play is written and directed by Polly Teale. Judi Herman asks Polly why Bertha's story has such enduring appeal? Shared Experience's After Mrs Rochester is on at the Oxford Playhouse and then goes to Ollerton, the Lyric Hammersmith, Cambridge and finally to Guildford.