At the turn of the century, Mrs. Patrick Campbell was England's most celebrated and notorious actress. An acclaimed beauty, loved by many, she is remembered for her wit, for bad behaviour, and her close friendship with George Bernard Shaw. She was a great actress, when she wanted to be. She had a low boredom threshold and frequently behaved dreadfully on stage. She could be a monster to work with, an atrocious snob and possessed a wicked sense of humour. But, on form, she was incomparable, the glory of her age. Her work was daring and unpredictable, enhanced by her great beauty. Shaw worshipped her, wrote "Pygmalion" for her and begged her to play Eliza. Rather than living to work, she always worked to live and died in exile and poverty. Pam Gems' new play is about the art and craft of acting and the turmoil of being a woman who was meant to please but couldn't resist using her mind. "Mrs Pat" opened at the York Theatre Royal in March 2006.