LAMDA appoints Royal Exchange’s Sarah Frankcom to lead as new Director

LAMDA Director Sarah Frankcom and LAMDA President Benedict Cumberbatch. Credit Helen Maybanks
LAMDA Director Sarah Frankcom and LAMDA President Benedict Cumberbatch. Credit Helen Maybanks

LAMDA Director Sarah Frankcom and LAMDA President Benedict Cumberbatch. Credit Helen Maybanks

  • Appointment welcomed by LAMDA President Benedict Cumberbatch
  • As Director of LAMDA, Frankcom will shape LAMDA’s creative vision as it moves towards further independence and achieving degree awarding powers
  • Sarah Frankcom joins from Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester where she is Artistic Director

28th February 2019, London: LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art), the oldest drama school in the UK, today announced the appointment of acclaimed theatre director Sarah Frankcom as its new Director. Bringing world class industry experience, Frankcom joins from the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester where she has been Artistic Director for the last five years.

Frankcom is widely regarded as one of the most influential British theatre directors of the last decade. She was responsible for bringing a series of critically acclaimed shows to the Royal Exchange, most recently Death of a Salesman with Don Warrington, Happy Days with Maxine Peake, and Our Town, for which she was awarded Best Director at the 2018 UK Theatre Awards.

In the newly created role of Director, Frankcom will shape and lead LAMDA’s creative vision and oversee the training of the next generation of dramatic artists, directors and technicians. She will work directly with students to ensure they benefit first hand from her wealth of industry experience. The Directorship replaces the role of Principal following the departure of Joanna Read in January.

Frankcom will officially take up the role in November 2019 as LAMDA enters its first year as an independent Higher Education Provider and moves forward to realising its ambition of achieving degree awarding powers.

Speaking on her appointment, Sarah Frankcom said: “I am thrilled to be appointed as LAMDA’s new Director. LAMDA is a drama school that consistently delivers world-class arts training and examinations, and whose alumni I’ve always found to be the most open, collaborative, and generous during my work as a director.”

She continued: “I’m looking forward to building on LAMDA’s success and grasping the opportunity to re-imagine what a relevant 21st Century theatre training without barriers could be for all emerging talent.”

Welcoming the announcement, Benedict Cumberbatch, LAMDA President and alumni, said: “This is a very exciting next chapter for LAMDA and its students. I am thrilled at the prospect of working with Sarah, who I know has a passion for finding the best talent from whatever background and increasing diversity on stage and screen. Her reputation proceeds and I am sure her leadership will be a performance to truly grip the industry”.

Shaun Woodward, Chair of LAMDA, said: “This is an amazing appointment for LAMDA and a great next step for the school. Sarah is one of the outstanding directors in the UK and she will provide great leadership for our students in the years ahead. We are thrilled.”

Sir Nicholas Hytner, former artistic director of the National Theatre, adds: “Sarah is a tremendous appointment as LAMDA’s new Director. She is one of the UK’s outstanding directors from one of our leading theatres. Sarah galvanised Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre, transforming the careers of countless young actors in a succession of greatly admired productions”.

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FIRST LOOK: Emilia at the Vaudeville Theatre

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First Look: Production photography of Waitress

Bristol Old Vic’s Writers Department launches unique partnership with Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

Bristol Old Vic

In a bid to harness the writing, acting and technical talents of the South West’s most exciting emerging artists, Bristol Old Vic’s Writers Department has partnered with Bristol Old Vic Theatre School to present 5 plays and a musical born from The Open Session. New Plays in Rep will include two fully staged productions and four workshop performances. The season of work will take place in The Weston Studio in repertory style and will be performed entirely be Bristol Old Vic Theatre School actors-in-training. Also involved are students on other BA and MA courses, including Design, Production Arts, Costume, Directing and Scenic Art.

Bristol Old Vic’s Writers Department introduced its new writing initiative The Open Session in 2014, inviting West Country writers to submit drafts of their projects with the aim of being supported further. Since then, the department has received over 600 scripts, of which 28 were picked up for further development.

NEW PLAYS IN REP | THU 28 FEB – SAT 16 MAR | THE WESTON

 The Dissociation of Shirley Mason
The first fully staged play as part of New Plays in Rep is The Dissociation of Shirley Masonby Isabella Culver.

Isabella Culver is an actress and writer, who is also currently studying Site-Specific Theatre Practice at Mountview. This is her debut play, selected by Bristol Old Vic from its Open Session call-out to West Country writers in 2017.

The play will be directed by Peter Leslie Wild, who directed The Wizard of Oz for Bristol Old Vic Theatre School at the Redgrave Theatre in 2017. Peter’s recent production of Wind in the Willows at the New Vic Theatre received 4 Star Reviews from The Guardian and The Stage.

The Dissociation of Shirley Mason charts the life of Shirley Mason, a young woman of uncertain identity – buffeted by the expectations of family and church in the American town of her childhood. Later, as an art student in New York she feels her personality disintegrating, and a psychiatrist takes a keen interest. Dr Cornelia B Wilbur may have stumbled upon a landmark case to make her reputation.

As the two women’s lives become entwined, lines blur between psychiatry and art, case studies and tall stories, real hurt and false memory.

Inspired by the real-life case of a woman diagnosed as having 16 personalities. This premiere production is an American tale spanning decades up to the 1970s, with questions for us all about where our true selves reside.

Orca
The second fully staged play is Matt Grinter’s debut play Orca.

Matt is a Bristol-based writer and director. He is currently on attachment at Bristol Old Vic through The Open Session. His work has appeared in several venues across Britain and beyond, including The Finborough, New York Metropolitan, Trafalgar 2, Glastonbury and Bristol Old Vic. His second play, The Dog and the Elephant was produced in conjunction with Bristol Ferment in 2015 and subsequently turned into a short film. Orca was the winner of the 2016 Papatango New Writing Prize and was first performed at Southwark Playhouse in November 2016.

Orca will be directed by Chloe Masterton, a recent MA Theatre Directing graduate from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

The play takes place on Midsummer’s Day. The village must choose a new Daughter to sail with the fishing boats and bless the waters, keeping the threat of the orcas that roam the sea at bay for another year.

Fan hopes with all her heart to be the one chosen, but her older sister Maggie is adamant she must never, never, go with the boats. Because something happened to Maggie out there. Because no one will admit it. Because sometimes the most beautiful places harbour the darkest secrets.

Orca is an incisive, unflinching insight into what makes a community tolerate the unthinkable.

 Mr Maglump
Bristol Old Vic’s Writers Department will also be re-introducing the musical Mr Maglump, following its first outing during The Weston Studio’s Opening Weekend in October. The ‘musical for all ages’ is written by Brook Tate, based on a book he originally wrote and illustrated for his nieces. It has been workshopped with the help of the Writers Department.

On a street where everybody knows their neighbour, one man stands apart – Mr MaglumpBehind his door lies a rather marvellous secret which could turn the town upside down, and quite possibly the right way up. Just one brave child has the courage to find out what it was, or who it was, that put the glum in Maglump.

Brook is a painter, writer and musician based in Bristol. He has been painting since 2011 and has written and illustrated two children’s books, Theresa the Tree and Little Bobby MaddisonMr Maglump is his first musical.

 

Wonder Boy
The second workshop performance will be Wonder Boy by Ross Willis.

Ross is a member of the Orange Tree Writers’ Collective, BBC Writers Room and a playwright on attachment at Bristol Old Vic. He was the writer-in-residence at Theatre Clwyd and is an alumnus of Tamasha Playwrights and Soho Theatre Writers Lab, where he developed Wonder Boy. Ross is currently one of the 503Five, a group of resident playwrights at Theatre503, where his debut play Wolfie, a surreal telling of life in and after the care system, will open in March. Ross has recently been announced as one of three writers awarded the inaugural Royal Court & Kudos Writing Fellowship.

Wonder Boy tells the story of a schoolboy struggling with a severe stammer, who finds help in a teacher who champions him; but he also has the attention of his comic book creation Captain Chatter, and taunting supervillain William Shakespeare. A dynamic and tender new play that explores the failings of language and grief.

 Invalid
The New Plays In Rep season will also feature Nell Leyshon’s new play, Invalid, which will be performed in Bristol Old Vic’s new studio space, Coopers’ Loft.

Performed entirely in the dark, this evocative new play centres on a woman who is confined to a darkened room. Her young children seem far away but her partner is by her side; however his ability to negotiate the darkness is a strange kind of reassurance. This thrilling and immersive performance takes place with the audience seated.

Nell is a writer of plays, novels, radio drama, and a libretto. Awards in theatre include the Evening Standard Award, and an Olivier nomination (Comfort Me With Apples); for BBC radio drama the Richard Imison Award (Milk); and for internationally published novels the Prix de l’Union Interalliee. Bedlam was the first play written by a woman to be performed at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Nell has written plays for Hampstead Theatre, National Theatre Connections, Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador, Theatre Royal Plymouth, and RADA.

 

Kingdom or The Anthropocene
The final piece will be Kingdom or The Anthropocene by Skot Wilson.

Skot is a multi-disciplinary writer from Devon. In 2016, he became one of 6 writers on attachment at Bristol Old Vic following his Open Session submission Footsteps. His play Stallions was amongst the eight plays shortlisted from 1,160 for the international Nick Darke Award 2018. He was awarded the 2018 Benjamin Franklin Literary Prize. He also works at the Natural History Museum and has been published in the Journal of Natural History.

Kingdom is Skot’s first staged work.

The tussle for the planet is evoked in this set of surprising short plays looking at the indelible mark human beings have made on animal life – an age named The Anthropocene. Kangaroo boxing, sea wall erosion, earth grubs hiding a murder, and whales thrown off course by a sea full of digital noise, all combine to ask “Whose Kingdom is this?”

 

 

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Full casting announced for The Barn Theatre production of The Butterfly Lion

The Butterfly Lion

Full casting announced for the award-winning Barn Theatre’s (Best Fringe Theatre  – The Stage Awards 2019) upcoming production of The Butterfly Lion by the acclaimed writer and former Children’s Laureate, Michael Morpurgo (War HorsePrivate Peaceful, Running Wild).

The cast comprises of: Jasper William Cartwright (Michael/Bertie), Jonathan Charles (Lion), Jeremy Cobb (Merlot), Henry Douthwaite (Father), Hilary Harwood (Millie), and Abigail Matthews (Mother).

One of Morpurgo’s finest works, this heart-warming yet bittersweet story of faithfulness, destiny and love has been adapted for the stage by Daniel Buckroyd. The production runs at The Barn from 2 April – 4 May, with press night on Thursday 4 April 2019, and is directed by Jessica Daniels, with designs by Lizzy Leech, puppetry designs and direction by Maia Kirkman-Richards, and lighting by Sam Rowcliffe-Tanner.

The Butterfly Lion tells the extraordinary story of young Albert Andrews and the unlikely friendship that he strikes up with the orphaned white lion cub he rescues one day from the African Veldt. It’s an epic tale that spans more than seventy years and takes us from rural Wiltshire to the plains of South Africa, and from the bleeding heart of war-torn France finally back to England and the safety of home. It’s a journey that begins with a solemn promise made by a boy never to forget his friend, a journey that will keep you on the edge of your seat until its startling conclusion.

Following on from The Butterfly Lion, The Barn’s 2019 season continues with a William Shakespeare classic history, Henry V (22 May – 22 June 2019), a brand new production of the comic thriller, The 39 Steps(10 July – 10 August 2019), the award-winning musical Daddy Long Legs (2 October – 2 November 2019), and a reimagining of Charles Dickens’ festive masterpiece, A Christmas Carol (27 November 2019 – 4 January 2020).

Nottingham Playhouse announces Autumn Season – Alex Kingston stars in An Enemy Of The People, new production of Sondheim’s Assassins and much much more!

AUTUMN SEASON 2019
  • Film, TV and theatre star Alex Kingston confirmed to play the lead in specially-adapted Rebecca Lenkiewicz version of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People
  • New production of Assassins confirmed for Autumn 2019
  • World premiere of LIT by Sophie Ellerby
  • Casting for Memory of Water announced
  • Details of Adam Penford’s production of Coram Boy revealed
  • Emerging BAME playwright Nathaniel Price under commission for a new Nottingham-based drama

NOTTINGHAM PLAYHOUSE has unveiled its 2019 Autumn season, including a specially-adapted version of An Enemy of the People starring Alex Kingston.In the new 2019 Autumn brochure, the Playhouse has also revealed another new production for the theatre Assassins, as well as announcing a world premiere for the Neville Studio LIT and its epic community project Coram Boy, to take place at Nottingham’s Albert Hall.

Celebrated for 12 years in renowned US drama series ER, award-winning actress, TV and film star Alex Kingston will take on the lead of Dr Stockmann in An Enemy of the People in September. The timely and gripping play about fake news, whistle-blowers and the corruption of power is set in contemporary Norway where Dr Stockmann discovers the town’s famous spa waters are poisoned.

British playwright Rebecca Lenkiewicz, has specially adapted An Enemy of the People for Nottingham Playhouse. Lenkiewicz is also an esteemed screenwriter whose credits include co-writing the Oscar winning Ida, and Colette which starred Keira Knightley.

Adam Penford, artistic director at Nottingham Playhouse, said:
“I am thrilled that An Enemy of the People is our headline drama this Autumn, following on from the major success of The Madness of George III in November. It’s a play I’ve had my eye on for a few years as the themes it explores feel so current; it’s hard to believe Ibsen wrote it 130 years ago.

“Alex Kingston is a tremendous actor with a powerful stage presence and global profile. I was delighted by how passionately she felt about both the play and the character and was excited about coming to Nottingham. Likewise, Rebecca Lenkiewicz is one of the most renowned British playwrights and her new incisive adaptation brings the play bang up-to-date so it has the freshness and mass appeal of a contemporary thriller.

“An Enemy of the People is one of the greatest dramas ever written and audiences will be gripped by its dramatic narrative and the mirror it holds up to our society.”

Speaking about her role in An Enemy of the People, Alex Kingston said:
“I am really excited about participating in the 2019 season at Nottingham Playhouse. The lead main character was written for a man and has always been played by a man; in this version it is being adapted to allow me to play this role.

“The piece is really timely – there are a lot of shadows within the play that echo what we are going through right now – the Flint water scandal in Michigan, the vilification of Hillary Clinton, the general state of democracy and post Brexit Britain – there are a lot of themes that will resonate for the audience in this play.”

The award-winning theatre, which recently won Regional Theatre of the Year at The Stage Awards 2019, has also confirmed the world premiere of LIT – a co-production with HighTide, directed by Stef O’Driscoll and the debut play of local writer Sophie Ellerby. Taking place in the Neville Studio in late September and October, the play will explore the turbulent teenage years of a girl looking for love in all the wrong places.

The Autumn will also see Nottingham Playhouse and The Watermill Theatre produce Stephen Sondheim’s multiple Tony Award-winning musical Assassins in November.
Bill Buckhurst will return to the Playhouse following universal acclaim for his direction of 2018’s Sweet Charity, to direct the clever, funny and thought-provoking musical about the power of the President, lure of celebrity and the failure of the American dream.

The latest announcement also includes casting for heart-breaking drama The Memory of Water, taking place in May.
The comedy drama directed by highly acclaimed director and National Theatre, Royal Court and Shakespeare’s Globe regular Adele Thomas follows three estranged sisters who return to their childhood home on the eve of their mother’s funeral. Shelagh Stephenson’s Olivier award-winning story is a relatable drama about the complexities of family relationships.

Cuckoo and EastEnders actress Juliet Cowan will be taking on the role of Teresa, along-side EastEnders actor Nicholas Bailey who will be playing Mike. People Like Us and Love and Marriage actor Stewart Wright has also been confirmed to play Frank.

Nottingham Playhouse also announced it has commissioned a new drama for its theatre from stage and screenwriter Nathaniel Price. Set in the early 1980s Nottingham, the drama centres on the lives of a dual heritage family. Nathaniel is currently writing episodes for a major new adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses (Mammoth Screen/BBC) and Tin Star II starring Tim Roth (Kudos/Sky).

Coram Boy, led by Adam Penford, has also been announced as the theatre’s most ambitious community project yet, which will be taking centre stage at the Albert Hall in August.
Up to 100 amateur performers will form the production’s acting and choral ensemble working alongside a cast of professional actors.

The epic adventure play, based on the award-winning novel by Jamila Gavin, features twists and danger and is about the strength of love between a parent and child.
To apply to take part in Coram Boy and to book into an audition workshop complete the online application form by Sunday 17 March at www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/participation/community/coram-boy-community-company/

Participants will need to commit to weekly evening rehearsals from week commencing 6 May – 20 July, as well as evening technical and dress rehearsals running from 22 July – 6 August and the performances from 7 – 10 August.

Nottingham Playhouse Autumn shows will go on sale to Playhouse Pass members on Wednesday 6 March and will go on general sale on Friday 15 March.

For more information about Nottingham Playhouse visit www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk

Box Office Information:
Nottingham Playhouse
www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk
Box office 0115 941 9419

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Bill Deamer: ‘We are not doing a carbon copy; that was that production of Follies and this is a new production of Follies.’

Follies

Choreographer Bill Deamer enters the room. ‘Hello!’ he says cheerily.

Bill Deamer is one of Britain’s leading song and dance men for theatre, film and TV. Last year he bagged himself an Olivier nomination for Best Theatre Choreographer for Follies

Now Dominic Cooke’s production of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s masterpiece, is back at the National Theatre. We are talking in the interview room backstage at the National Theatre and Deamer has just been giving notes to the cast of Follies. ‘We now have to let them take the show and run with it,’ he says.

The 2019 Follies Company with Bill Deamer

The 2019 Follies Company with Bill Deamer

It’s tricky, Deamer explains, to reimagine a critically acclaimed musical for the Olivier stage with new cast members in just over a month, yet they have cleared that obstacle with breath-taking ease. ‘We’ve only had four weeks rehearsal whereas we had 9 originally. What you can’t do when you recast is assume the energy is going to be the same.’

It’s not only the cast that has changed since the 2017 production, however. The ensemble brings glorious new touches to the big number choreography; particularly the Mirror Mirror number, in which Dawn Hope leads the cast through a show-stopping musical theatre extravaganza.

FOLLIES 2.0

FOLLIES 2.0

Rehearsals must have been full-on? ‘To learn and create and become the Follies company in four weeks was a tall order, Deamer says. ‘The actors are different, we are not doing a carbon copy; that was that production of Follies and this is a new production of Follies. We’ve looked at certain concepts and developed them even more. The ghosts and how they are in contact with and interact with their older selves have all been developed.’

‘There’s a moment at the beginning of the show, during the Overture and all of a sudden the ghosts realise that they are back and they all gesture to the front,’ he continues. ‘There’s so much power in it, it gives me Gooseflesh talking about it.’

During a recent preview an audience member took a photograph of Joanna Riding performing as her voice cracked during the last lines of Losing My Mind. Follies’ Associate Director, Josh Seymour tweeted his dismay.

He winces when I mention it. ‘Good job Imelda wasn’t there!’ he says. ‘I can’t believe that during one of the most sensitive parts of the show somebody actually pulls a camera out to take a photograph – with a flash on. It’s absurd. Why do people do it? It’s so rude – it is disrespectful to the actors and it disrespectful to the audience.’

Should they have been ejected? ‘Yes.’ Deamer says bemused.

Were they? ‘No. It was such a subtle part of the show it would have disturbed things more to chuck them out,’ he says.

‘I think we all talk about audience etiquette and audience behaviour but it is not made clear enough – when you are recording for TV you hand your phones in. Maybe that is the way to go? I just don’t know.’

We discuss the mythical Follies 2018 Cast Recording that has just finally been released. ‘I’ve heard all of the various productions of Follies that have been recorded and they all have their merits. I think the quality of all of the vocals are quite extraordinary – Stephen Sondheim’s music and Jonathan Tunick’s arrangement just come to life.’

Alexander Hanson and Joanna Riding credit: Johan-Persson

Alexander Hanson and Joanna Riding credit: Johan-Persson

Does he have a favourite? ‘I have to say that Too Many Mornings breaks my heart; the woodwind, the obo – that wonderful sound. There is something in it that just moves me completely. Hearing Phillip (Quast) and Imelda (Staunton) sing it together is quite extraordinary,’ Deamer says.

The ghosts of those former cast certainly loom over the return of Follies; there are some big tap-shoes to fill. Now though, replacing Staunton as Sally is Joanna Riding and Alexander Hanson takes on the role of Ben. ‘Joanna and Alex are so completely different from their predecessors,’ Deamer says.

‘Jo is so different from Imelda – you couldn’t say that one is better than another; they are completely different. Alex brings such pathos to Ben. I have my amazing memories of working with Imelda and Phillip and now I have my memories of working with Jo and Alex.’

Dawn Hope Stella and the company National Theatre credit: Johan Persson

Dawn Hope Stella and the company National Theatre credit: Johan Persson

‘They are quite wonderful because Dominic and I have worked hard with them and it is all based as it was originally: the director, the designer, the choreographer and the music, we all work as one. So, we had that strength in the rehearsal room.’

Deamer has been a consistently working choreographer for over twenty-five years. His first Olivier nomination was for the critically acclaimed production of The Boy Friend that opened at Regents Park Open Air Theatre in 2006. He has beavered away across theatre, film and television winning an Olivier Award as Best Choreographer in 2013 for Top Hat, as a musical theatre and Charleston specialist for Strictly Come Dancing.

Bill Deamer and Carl Woodward

Bill Deamer and Carl Woodward

He never stops.

The last thing Deamer wants is to be thought of as, he stresses, a one-style  choreographer. ‘People assume I just do the old-fashioned stuff- which drives me insane. Actually, it is not old fashioned, it is classic. I’ve got Saturday Night Fever out on tour at the moment. I have a production of Evita that’s toured for 11 years around Europe out on the road.’

‘I’m a fully trained dancer and a musical theatre choreographer,’ he shrugs. ‘I trained in classical dance and ballet and jazz and indeed if anyone knows my work on TV with Strictly. For me, pigeonholing any artist is just nonsense.’

Dominic Cooke (Director) and Bill Deamer (Choreographer) in rehearsal for Follies at

Dominic Cooke (Director) and Bill Deamer (Choreographer) in rehearsal for Follies 

What advice does he have for aspiring choreographers? ‘The first thing that I say to any performer is: learn your craft. Get your technique – without that you will not survive. Too many dancers are jack of all trades and master of none and quite simply, it isn’t going to work.’

Our time has come to an end and it’s time for Bill to go.

‘I’m very luck to do what I do – I have worked for it and I’ve learnt my trade. It is wonderful to work with such brilliantly diverse people and create theatre – it feels like such a privilege to be able to work on the various projects that I do; when it doesn’t, I won’t do it,’ he concludes. The words are spoken without a hint of mawkishness, only sincerity. It is all he knows.

Follies is at the Oliver, London until 11 May.

Jennifer Saunders and Rupert Everett announced in opening plays of Theatre Royal Bath’s Summer Season by Artistic Director Jonathan Church

Jonathan Church

Jonathan Church, Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Bath’s Summer Season, today announced the opening shows for its 2019 programme which will see much-loved British comedian Jennifer Saunders star as Madame Arcati in Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit directed by Richard Eyre, and Rupert Everett making his directorial stage debut in Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in which he will also play the title role in a new version by David HareBlithe Spirit will run from 13 June to 6 July with opening night for press on 19 June, followed by Uncle Vanya from 18 July to 3 August with opening night for press on 24 July, both in the Main House. Further casting and the full summer programme will be announced in due course.

Theatre Royal Bath is also delighted to announce it is extending its tenure with Jonathan Church as Artistic Director of the Summer Season by a further three years through to 2022. It follows Jonathan Church’s inaugural summer season in 2017 and a hugely successful 2018 programme with two West End transfers including the critically acclaimed production of Arthur Miller’s The Price currently playing at Wyndham’s Theatre, and Switzerland at the Ambassadors Theatre.

BLITHE SPIRIT
Thursday 13 June – Saturday 6 July
Press night: Wednesday 19 June

Jennifer Saunders, one of the UK’s most popular comic actors, makes her Theatre Royal Bath debut as the preposterous clairvoyant Madame Arcati in Noël Coward’s classic comedyBlithe Spirit. The production brings together a distinguished and multi-award-winning creative team, directed by former National Theatre director Richard Eyre with design byAnthony Ward and lighting by Howard HarrisonLisa Dillon will also star as Ruth Condomine, with further casting to be announced.

Written in 1941, Coward’s inventive, witty and meticulously engineered comedy proved light relief and a popular distraction at the height of World War II when it was first staged. The show had a record-breaking run in the West End and on Broadway and remains one of the playwright’s most popular works.

Novelist Charles Condomine and his second wife Ruth are literally haunted by a past relationship when an eccentric medium inadvertently conjures up the ghost of his first wife, Elvira, at a séance. When she appears, visible only to Charles, and determined to sabotage his current marriage, life – and the afterlife – get complicated.

Jennifer Saunders is well known as one half of the comedy duo French and Saunders, for which she and Dawn French received a BAFTA fellowship in 2009, and for the hit comedy series and subsequent film, Absolutely Fabulous, which she also wrote and starred in. She has received numerous awards including two Emmys, five BAFTAs and four British Comedy Awards. Other recent credits include Lady Windermere’s Fan (West End) and the BBC series Jam and Jerusalem.

Lisa Dillon starred as Mary Smith in the BBC series Cranford. Her stage credits include Richard Eyre’s Private Lives in the West End, the RSC’s The Roaring Girl and The Taming of the Shrew, A Flea in Her Ear and Design for Living at the Old Vic and The Knot of the Heart and When the Rain Stops Falling at the Almeida.

Noël Coward was an English playwright, composer, actor, producer and director. His dramas include Hay Fever and Private Lives. For filmhe wrote and directed the Academy Award-winning In Which We Serve and the screenplay for Brief Encounter.

Richard Eyre was at the helm of the National Theatre for 10 years and is the winner of five Olivier Awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award. His numerous hugely-acclaimed productions include Guys and DollsThe Invention of Love and Private Lives. His award-winning film and television work includes Iris, Tumbledown and The Children Act.

Anthony Ward has designed numerous productions including the Tony Award-winning Mary Stuart, the Olivier Award-winning Oklahoma! and What’s on Stage Award winner Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Howard Harrison is a two-times Olivier Award-winning lighting designer whose recent works include Impossible and Mamma Mia! (London, Broadway and worldwide).

Blithe Spirit is presented by arrangement with Lee Dean.

 

UNCLE VANYA
Thursday 18 July – Saturday 3 August
Press Night: Wednesday 24 July

Rupert Everett returns to Theatre Royal Bath where he last appeared in The Judas Kiss in 2012 and which went on to transfer to the West End, and following recent critical acclaim as Oscar Wilde in The Happy Prince which he also wrote and directed. Everett will direct his first stage play and lead the cast in Anton Chekhov’s theatrical masterpiece Uncle Vanya, a playful story of unrequited love, loss and misplaced dreams, in a new version by the playwright and screenwriter David Hare.

It’s late summer, at the close of the nineteenth century. In the heart of the Russian countryside, Vanya and his niece Sonya have worked for years to manage the ramshackle estate on behalf of his brother-in-law, a retired professor. When the professor arrives with his stunningly beautiful young wife and announces his plan to sell the estate, all their lives are thrown into turmoil.

Rupert Everett rose to fame in Another Country which earned him his first BAFTA nomination. Since then he has played many leading roles including in the multi-award-winning filmMy Best Friend’s Wedding, The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, Dance With A Stranger, The Madness of King George and St Trinian’s. His stage credits include Blithe Spirit on Broadway and Pygmalion and The Judas Kiss in the West End.

Anton Chekhov was a leading playwright and author of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is regarded as one of the most influential writers of the Russian realist school. His plays include The Seagull, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.

David Hare’s award-winning plays include Racing Demon, Plenty, Skylight, Amy’s View and The Judas Kiss. He received Academy Award nominations for his adaptations of The Hoursand The Reader.

LISTINGS

Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose, Bath, BA1 1ET
Box Office: 01225 448844
Website: www.theatreroyal.org.uk
Facebook: TheatreRoyalBath
Twitter: @TheatreRBath

Blithe Spirit
By Noël Coward
Directed by Richard Eyre
Designed by Anthony Ward
Lighting Design by Howard Harrison
Presented by arrangement with Lee Dean
Thursday 13 June – Saturday 6 July
Press night: Wednesday 19 June, 7pm
Performance Schedule: Mon – Sat 7.30pm, Matinees Thu & Sat 2.30pm (no matinee 13 or 15 June)
Tickets: £25.50 – £39.50 (Preview Perfs and Mondays, all seats £15)

Uncle Vanya
By Anton Chekhov in a new version by David Hare
Directed by Rupert Everett
Thursday 18 July – Saturday 3 August
Press night: Wednesday 24 July, 7pm
Performance Schedule: Mon – Sat 7.30pm, Matinees Wed & Sat 2.30pm (no matinee 20 July)
Tickets: £25.50 – £39.50 (Preview Perfs and Mondays, all seats £15)

Casting announced for Nicholas Hytner’s immersive production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream - l-r Gwendoline Christie (Titania), David Moorst (Puck), Ryan Bawa, Oliver Chris (Oberon) and Hammed Animashaun (Bottom) - Photo credit Perou
A Midsummer Night's Dream - l-r Gwendoline Christie (Titania), David Moorst (Puck), Ryan Bawa, Oliver Chris (Oberon) and Hammed Animashaun (Bottom) - Photo credit Perou

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – l-r Gwendoline Christie (Titania), David Moorst (Puck), Ryan Bawa, Oliver Chris (Oberon) and Hammed Animashaun (Bottom) – Photo credit Perou

Gwendoline Christie, Oliver Chris, David Moorst and Hammed Animashaun lead the cast as Titania, Oberon, Puck and Bottom in Nicholas Hytner’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream which has its first performance in the Bridge Theatre’s immersive format this summer on 3 June.

The theatre becomes the forest – a dream world of flying fairies, contagious fogs and moonlight revels.  The seating is wrapped around the action while the immersive tickets allow the story to be followed on foot.

The production re-unites the team responsible for last year’s smash-hit Julius Caesar.  Direction is by Nicholas Hytner, design by Bunny Christie, costume by Christina Cunningham, lighting by Bruno Poet and sound by Paul Arditti and joining the team will be Grant Olding.

The full cast is Paul Adeyefa (Demetrius), Hammed Animashaun (Bottom), Charlotte Atkinson (Moth), Tessa Bonham Jones (Helena), Oliver Chris (Oberon/Theseus), Gwendoline Christie (Titania/Hippolyta), Jermaine Freeman (Flute), Isis Hainsworth (Hermia), Chipo Kureya (Peasebottom), Francis Lovehall (Starveling), Kevin McMonagle (Egeus), Ami Metcalf (Snout), Jamie-Rose Monk (Snug), Felicity Montagu (Quince), David Moorst (Puck), Lennin Nelson-McClure (Mustardseed), Rachel Tolzman (Fairy), Jay Webb (Cobweb) and Kit Young (Lysander).

A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs at the Bridge Theatre from 3 June – 31 August 2019 and has its opening night on 11 June 2019.  Evening performances are Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm with weekday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm (check website for details).

Three hundred immersive tickets at £25 are available in advance for each performance with a special allocation of £15 immersive tickets held for Young Bridge members, a free scheme for those under 26.

Gwendoline Christie is best known for portraying Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones. Her theatre credits include Dr Faustus and Mirandolina at the Royal Exchange Theatre,Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, Cymbeline at the Barbican Theatre, Pravda for Chichester Festival Theatre and Great Expectations for the Royal Shakespeare CompanyOn television Christie’s credits also include Top of the Lake: China Girl by Jane Campion. Her film credits include Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2, In Fabric by Peter Strickland, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie as well as the forthcoming production of The Personal History of David Copperfield by Armando Ianucci.

Oliver Chris’ credits include One Man Two Guvnors and King Charles III both of which transferred to the West End and then to Broadway. He was in the Bridge’s opening production,Young Marx. His other work in the theatre includes Great Britain, Season’s Greetings and Twelfth Night for the National Theatre, Closer for the Donmar Warehouse, Women andCyrano de Bergerac for the Royal Exchange Theatre and The Taming of the Shrew at Wilton’s Music Hall.  On television he has been seen in Motherland, King Charles III, The Musketeers, The Scandalous Lady W, Bluestone 42, Breathless, Silent Witness, Hotel Babylon, Green Wing, The IT Crowd and The Office. His film credits include The Little Stranger, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and The Gathering. He recently directed Ralegh: The Treason Trial at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.

David Moorst won Best Newcomer (Critics’ Circle) and Emerging Talent Award (Evening Standard) a year after graduating from LAMDA.  He was at the Bridge Theatre last summer inAllelujah!. His other theatre credits include Shopping and Fucking at the Lyric Hammersmith, Into the Woods for the Royal Exchange Theatre, Violence and Son at the Royal Court andWonderland at Hampstead Theatre. His television and film credits include Grantchester, Partners in Crime, Holby City and Peterloo. 

 Hammed Animashaun was in Barbershop Chronicles, Amadeus and The Threepenny Opera for the National Theatre, The Importance of Being Earnest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bugsy Malone and Secret Theatre for the Lyric Hammersmith, Measure for Measure at the Young Vic, Hate at the Barbican Theatre and The Boy Who Fell Into a Book at Soho Theatre. His television and film credits include Black Mirror and The Festival.

This is the first time Nicholas Hytner has directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His previous Shakespeare productions are As You Like It, Hamlet, Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2, Henry V, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Measure for Measure, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Timon of Athens, Twelfth Night and The Winter’s Tale.

Almeida Theatre announces full casting for Three Sisters

Three Sisters. Patsy Ferran, Pearl Chanda and Ria Zmitrowicz. Photo - Nadav Kander.
Three Sisters. Patsy Ferran, Pearl Chanda and Ria Zmitrowicz. Photo - Nadav Kander.

Three Sisters. Patsy Ferran, Pearl Chanda and Ria Zmitrowicz. Photo – Nadav Kander.

Do you ever wonder what would happen if we could live our lives all over again but be fully conscious of it the second time? 

 I bet we’d try to do everything differently, or at least would know to create a different world for ourselves.

In a room in a house in a provincial town, three sisters wait for their lives to begin.
Olga, the eldest. Masha, the middle child. Irina, the youngest.

The clock strikes. A candle is lit.
The clock stops. Something catches fire.
The clock strikes. They wake up.

Following her critically acclaimed production of Summer and Smoke, Almeida Associate Director Rebecca Frecknall directs Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters, in a new adaptation by Cordelia Lynn (One For SorrowLela & Co).

Joining the previously announced Pearl Chanda and Patsy Ferran are Lois ChimimbaAlexander ElliotAnnie FirbankElliot LeveyEric MacLennanFreddie MeredithPeter McDonaldSonny Poon TipShubham SarafAkshay SharanAlan Williams and Ria Zmitrowicz.

Rebecca Frecknall is Associate Director at the Almeida Theatre and was previously on the Almeida’s Resident Director programme. For the Almeida, she previously directed Summer and Smoke (transferred to the Duke of York’s Theatre) and worked as Resident Director on Ink at the Almeida/Duke of York’s Theatre and Movement Director on Albion. Her production of Steel by Chris Bush ran in the Sheffield Crucible Studio in 2018.  Prior to the Almeida, she was Resident Director at Northern Stage from 2015-2016 after winning the acclaimed RTYDS Bursary. During this time she directed IdomeneusWhat Are They Like?, Educating Rita (for Durham Gala) and Julie by Zinnie Harris. Before taking up this role, she worked as a freelance director in London and has worked with the National Theatre, RSC and Young Vic. She was the 2012 recipient of the National Theatre Studio’s Resident Director Bursary and was awarded one of the Young Vic’s Jerwood Assistant Director Bursaries in 2011.

Cordelia Lynn’s plays include One For SorrowBest Served ColdLela & CoBelievers Anonymous and After The War. Her opera writing credits include Miranda and other vocal work includes HeaveThe White Princess and you’ll drown dear.  She was the recipient of the Harold Pinter Commission 2017.