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.