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.

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.


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.


Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose, Bath, BA1 1ET
Box Office: 01225 448844
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)

Theatr Clwyd: Full Cast Announced For Peter Gill’s New Adaptation Of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya

Uncle Vanya
Uncle Vanya

Uncle Vanya

Artistic Director of Theatr Clwyd, Tamara Harvey, today announced the full cast for her production of Uncle Vanya, in a first-time co-production with Sheffield Theatres. In a brand new adaptation from Peter Gill, Tamara Harvey directs Jamie Ballard as Vanya, following their previous collaboration on Simon Gray’s In The Vale of Heath at Hampstead Theatre, he will be joined by Robert Blythe (Telyegin), Oliver Dimsdale (Astrov), Sharon Morgan (Mariya), Sian Owens (Worker), Shanaya Rafaat (Elena), Veronica Roberts (Marina), Rosie Sheehy (Sonya) and Martin Turner (Serebryakov).

Opening on Tuesday 26 September, with previews from 21 September, in the Emlyn Williams Theatre, the production will transfer to the studio at Sheffield Theatres as part of Robert Hastie’s inaugural season from 18 October until 4 November.

Chekhov’s comic tragedy about polite people going crazy in the middle of nowhere, drinking too much and not having enough sex. Can people ever take a leap and change their own lives?

Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was a Russian playwright and short story writer. His principal works for the stage include Ivanov, Platonov, The Seagull, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.

Peter Gill (b.1939) is a Welsh playwright, theatre director and actor. As a playwright, his works include, The Sleeper’s Den, Over Gardens Out, Small Change, Kick for Touch, Cardiff East, Certain Young MenThe York RealistOriginal Sin, Another Door Closed, Versailles and As Good a Time as Any. His adaptations for the stage include A Provincial Life, The Merry-Go-Round, The Cherry Orchard, Touch and Go, As I Lay Dying and The Seagull.

Jamie Ballard plays Vanya. Recent theatre credits include The White Devil, Troilus and Cressida (Shakespeare’s Globe), Ghosts(HOME, Manchester) King John (The Rose Theatre Kingston), In The Vale of Health (Hampstead Theatre), Scenes from an Execution, Saint Joan, Emperor and Galilean, Warhorse and Antigone (National Theatre), Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, Sweet Charity, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RSC), The Devil Inside Him (National Theatre of Wales) The Changeling, Macbeth (The Tobacco Factory & Barbican), Hamlet, Troilus & CressidaAs You Like It (The Tobacco Factory) and The Duchess of Malfi (Salisbury Playhouse). For television his credits include Three Girls, Penny Dreadful, Ripper Street, The Hollow Crown II, Sons of Liberty, Father Brown, and The Great Fire. For film his credits include Suffragette, X & Y, A Poet in New York, The Comedian, and Black Death.

Robert Blythe returns to Theatr Clwyd to play Telyegin. Previous credits for the company include Arms and The Man, As You Like It, Taking Steps, A Small Family Business, Pygmalion, The Drawer Boy, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and King Lear. Other theatre credits include Twelve Angry Men (Garrick Theatre), Deep Cut (Tricycle Theatre), Henry IV, Henry V and Under Milk Wood(National Theatre), Badfinger (Donmar Warehouse) and Mother Claps Molly House (Aldwych Theatre). For television his credits include High Hopes, Waking The Dead, The Famous Five, and You Me and It. For film, his credits include An Ordinary Man, Lie Still, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, The Theory of Flight, and Experience Preferred but Not Essential.

Oliver Dimsdale plays Astrov. Recent theatre credits include The Argument (Hampstead Theatre), A Tale Of Two Cities (Royal and Derngate), Macbeth (The Tobacco Factory/Filter Theatre), Silence, Twelfth Night (RSC/Filter Theatre)and The Tempest(RSC), The Caucasian Chalk Circle (National Theatre), Pravda (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Comedy Of Errors (Sheffield Crucible) Great ExpectationsThe Dead Wait (Royal Exchange) Five Finger Exercise, Beautiful Thing and The Changeling (Salisbury Playhouse). For television his credits include Grantchester, Mr Selfridge, Downton Abbey and He Knew He Was Right. For film, his credits include Journey’s End, Good People, The Fold, Cosi and Rocknrolla. 

Sharon Morgan plays Mariya. Recent theatre credits include This Incredible Life (Canoe Theatre), Mother Courage and Her ChildrenA Good Night Out In The Valleys and Under Milk Wood (National Theatre Wales), Dirty, Gifted & Welsh (Dirty Protest & National Theatre Wales), Dandelion (Welsh Fargo Stage Company) and Sherman Swingers, A Christmas Carol, Cityscape: No Vacancies and Cityscape: Patrolaphobia (Sherman Theatre). For television her work includes Hinterland, The Evermoor Chronicles, Da Vinci’s Demons and Small Country. Film credits include Apostle, Laura Marlin Mysteries, Love Is Thicker Than Water, The Devil’s Vice, Svengali, Resistance, Rain, Abraham’s Point, and Leaving Lenin.

 Sian Owens plays Worker. As a recent graduate of ALRA her credits include The Tempest (Taking Flight Theatre) and Shakespeare by the Sea (Matthew Townsend Productions).

Shanaya Rafaat plays Elena. Recent theatre credits include Terror (Lyric Hammersmith), The White Devil and King Lear(Shakespeare’s Globe), A Tale of Two Cities (Northampton/UK Tour), Great Expectations (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Stateless (Tristan Bates Theatre), Around The World in 80 Days (St James Theatre), The Illusion (Southwark Playhouse) and A Midsummer Nights Dream (RSC and world tour). For television, her credits include Silk and Lewis.

Veronica Roberts plays Marina. Recent theatre credits include After Electra (Tricycle Theatre and Theatre Royal Plymouth), Meeting Bea, Housewife 49, Sherlocks Last Case (Old Laundry Theatre), Horse Piss for Blood (Theatre Royal Plymouth), Nicholas Nickleby (Chichester Festival Theatre and UK tour), Separate Tables (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Comedy of Errors (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Comfort Me With Apples, Buried Alive, Dearly Beloved (Hampstead Theatre), Dancing at Lughnasa (Garrick Theatre) and Crime and Punishment (Lyric Hammersmith). For television her credits include Tenko and Peak Practice; and for film,  Mr Turner.

Rosie Sheehy plays Sonya. Recent theatre credits include Escape the Scaffold (Theatre 503), Strife (Chichester Festival Theatre), Bird (Royal Exchange Manchester), The Hairy Ape (The Old Vic) and Chicken (Paines Plough). For television her credits includeDCI Banks.

 Martin Turner plays Serebryakov. His recent theatre credits include The Plague (Arcola Theatre), The Lovers of Viorne, The Haunting of Hill House, The King’s Speech (Chichester Festival Theatre), Macbeth (Chichester Festival Theatre, Gielgud Theatre, BAM, Lyceum Theater (Broadway), Medea (National Theatre), Twelve Angry Men (Birmingham REP and The Garrick), Boris Godunov, A Life of Galileo (RSC), Electra (Gate Theatre), Fabrication (Print Room), Hay Fever (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Scenes From The Back Of Beyond (Royal Court Theatre), Rabbit (Trafalgar Studios), Promises, Promises, (Sheffield Crucible), Pericles(Lyric Hammersmith) and Protection (Soho Theatre). For television, his credits include Follow the Money, New Tricks and The White Queen.

 Artistic Director of Theatr Clwyd, Tamara Harvey directs. Her inaugural production for Theatr Clwyd was Much Ado About Nothing, followed by the première of Elinor Cook’s award-winning play, Pilgrims and Skylight by David Hare. She has directed in the West End, throughout the UK and abroad, working on classic plays, new writing, musical theatre and in film.  Her previous credits include the world premières of From Here To Eternity (Shaftesbury Theatre), Breeders (St James Theatre), The Kitchen SinkThe Contingency PlanSixty-Six Books and tHe dYsFUnCKshOnalZ! (Bush Theatre), In the Vale of Health (a cycle of four plays by Simon Gray), Elephants and Hello/Goodbye (Hampstead Theatre), and Plague Over England (Finborough Theatre & West End). Other theatre includes Kreutzer vs Kreutzer (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse/Royal Festival Hall), Bash (Trafalgar Studios),Whipping It Up (New Ambassadors), One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (Gielgud & Garrick Theatres), Educating Rita and Smash(Menier Chocolate Factory & Theatre Royal Bath) and Pride and Prejudice (Sheffield Theatres).

Listings                                                                                                                                                 Uncle Vanya

Emlyn Williams Theatre

Theatr Clwyd

Raikes Lane, Mold CH7 1YA

Box Office: 01352 701521

Online booking (no booking fees):

Thursday 21 September – Saturday 14 October

Press Night: Tuesday 26 September 7.45pm

Evening performances – 7.45pm

Matinee performances:

Saturdays 2.45pm

Wednesday 4 October 2.45pm

Thursday 12 October 2.45pm

Twitter: @clwydtweets

Facebook: /TheatrClwyd

Sheffield Theatres

Studio Theatre

Wednesday 18 October – Saturday 4 November

Evening performances – 7.45pm

Matinee performances:

Saturdays 2.15pm

Thursday 26 October 2.15pm

Wednesday 1 November 2.15pm