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)

Cast announced for the first complete London revival since 1936 of Noël Coward’s Tonight at 8.30

Cast of Tonight at 8:30

Cast of Tonight at 8:30

Final casting is announced for the first complete London revival of Noël Coward’s Tonight at 8.30 since 1936, being staged by Jermyn Street Theatre as part of its The Reaction Season – 15 plays and musicals – 12 of them one-act – based around themes of reacting and re-enacting.

Noël Coward’s Tonight at 8.30, running from 10 April – 20 May, features nine one-act plays ranging from music-hall pastiche, to light comedies, to heartbreaking drama. These have been arranged into three trios entitled Secret Hearts, Nuclear Families, and Bedroom Farces, with the chance to see all three trios (nine plays) in a single day on Saturdays and Sundays.

Nine actors play 73 roles across the nine plays. The ensemble cast includes Olivier Award-winning Sara Crowe (her West End roles include Sybil in Private Lives, Calendar Girls, Bedroom Farce), Ian Hallard, who was nominated for Best Actor for The Boys in the Band in last year’s WhatsOnStage Awards, Nick Waring (Queen of the Desert with Nicole Kidman, The Heart of Things, Jermyn Street Theatre), Miranda Foster (Gertrude, Hamlet, Shakespeare’s Globe; Harry, Springs Eternal, Orange Tree Theatre), and Olivier Award nominee Rosemary Ashe. Musical direction and piano is provided by Coward specialist Stefan Benardzcyk, who also plays a number of roles. Jeremy Rose (currently at English Theatre Frankfurt in Jekyll and Hyde), Boadicea Ricketts (nominated for two OffWestEndAwards as Best Actress and Best Ensemble in her debut as Sylv in the revival of Steven Berkoff’s East), and Ben Wiggins (Princess Katherine, Henry V, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) complete the cast. Set design is by Louie Whitemore, twice nominated for OffWestEnd Awards for her work at Jermyn Street Theatre last year, and costume designs are by Emily Stuart (two-time OffWestEnd Award winner). Choreography is by Gabriella Bird, lighting by Tim Mascall, and sound by Tom Attwood. The plays are directed by Tom Littler, Jermyn Street Theatre’s Artistic Director.

Cast (and the roles they are playing in the season):

Rosemary Ashe:  Clara (We Were Dancing), Nanny (Ways and Means), Martha (Shadow Play), Lily Pepper (Red Peppers) Violet (Star Chamber), Myrtle (Still Life), Emily (Family Album), Clare Wedderburn (Hands Across the Sea).

Stefan Bednarczyk Musical Director / Piano and playing: Major Blake (We Were Dancing), Alf (Red Peppers), Jimmie Horlick (Star Chamber), Albert (Still Life), Bu:rrows (Family Album), Peter (Hands Across the Sea), Sir Reginald (The Astonished Heart)

Sara Crowe: Louise Charteris (We Were Dancing), Olive Lloyd-Ransom (Ways and Means), Victoria  (Shadow Play), Xenia James (Star Chamber), Dolly (Still Life), Lavinia (Family Album), Mrs Wadhurst (Hands Across the Sea), Leonora (The Astonished Heart).

Miranda Foster: Stella (Ways and Means), Sibyl (Shadow Play), Miss Mabel Grace (Red Peppers) Dame Rose (Star Chamber), Laura (Still Life), Jane (Family Album), Piggie (Hands Across the Sea), Barbara (The Astonished Heart).

Ian Hallard: Karl (We Were Dancing), Chaps (Ways and Means), Simon (Shadow Play), Johnny Bolton (Star Chamber), Johnnie (Still Life), Richard (Family Album), Mr Wadhurst (Hands Across the Sea).

Jeremy Rose: Servant (We Were Dancing), Gaston (Ways and Means), George Cunningham (Shadow Play), George Pepper (Red Peppers), Julian Breed (Star Chamber), Bill (Still Life), Edward (Family Album), Ally (Hands Across the Sea), Ernest (The Astonished Heart).

Boadicea Ricketts: Eva (We Were Dancing), Princess Eléna (Ways and Means), Lena (Shadow Play), Hester (Star Chamber), Beryl (Still Life), Harriet (Family Album), Walters (Hands Across the Sea), Susan (The Astonished Heart).

Nick Waring: Hubert Charteris (We Were Dancing), Toby Cartwright (Ways and Means), Michael (Shadow Play), Mr Edwards (Red Peppers), Mr Farmer (Star Chamber), Alec (Still Life), Jasper Featherways (Family Album), Major ‘Bogey’ Gosling (Hands Across the Sea), Christian (The Astonished Heart).

Ben Wiggins: George (We Were Dancing), Stevens (Ways and Means), Young Man (Shadow Play), Alf (Red Peppers), Maurice (Star Chamber), Stanley (Still Life), Charles (Family Album), Mr Burnham (Hands Across the Sea), Tim (The Astonished Heart).

Tonight at 8.30 plays in repertory with Tomorrow at Noon, featuring three new plays by Jenny Ayres, Emma Harding, and Morna Young, each of which reacts to one of Coward’s Tonight at 8.30 plays, and responds to it in a contemporary voice. Ayres, Harding and Young were chosen from over 390 anonymous entrants.

Tom Littler said: “This is the most ambitious season in our 24-year history, and I am incredibly grateful to all of the people who have helped to set it up. I am very excited to be directing the whole of Noël Coward’s Tonight at 8.30 – in our intimate studio space, I think these plays can be revealed as works of extraordinary insight, wit, and emotional impact. Although each trio stands alone, I hope people will come to experience the full breadth of this remarkable cycle, which I count as Coward’s finest achievement.”


London Classic Theatre announces Autumn Tour of Noël Coward’s Private Lives

Michael Cabot


Michael Cabot

Michael Cabot

Artistic Director of London Classic Theatre, Michael Cabot, today announces a major new touring production of Noël Coward’s comedy masterpiece, Private Lives. Cabot directs Olivia Beardsley (Sibyl Chase), Kieran Buckeridge (Victor Prynne), Jack Hardwick (Elyot Chase) and Helen Keeley (Amanda Prynne). The production tours to 17 venues around the UK this Autumn, opening at Malvern Festival Theatre on 7 September, previewing from 6 September, and concludes its run atTheatre Royal Plymouth on 25 November.

  1. Deauville, France. Two newly-married couples occupy adjoining honeymoon suites in the same hotel. As a distant orchestra plays, Sibyl gazes adoringly at charismatic husband Elyot, while Victor admires his new wife, the vivacious and sophisticated Amanda.

Champagne flows and the sea shimmers in the moonlight as the newlyweds prepare for the evening ahead. But when Amanda overhears a familiar voice singing a forgotten song, an old spark reignites, with spectacular consequences.

Full of razor-sharp wit and quick-fire dialogue, Private Lives is Noël Coward’s most popular and enduring stage comedy. Extraordinarily written in only three days, Private Lives opened at London’s Phoenix Theatre in August 1930 to packed houses. Since then, this charming comedy of manners has retained its remarkable appeal, captivating audiences all over the world.

Noël Coward was one of the greatest playwrights of the 20th Century. His most notable plays include Hay FeverDesign for LivingPresent Laughter and Blithe Spirit.

Olivia Beardsley plays Sibyl Chase. She returns to London Classic Theatre having previously appeared in its UK tour of The Collector. Other theatre credits include Brimstone and Treacle (Hope Theatre), Secret Santa (Arts Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Centennial Park Open Air Theatre, Sydney), and Charcoal Creek (Merrigong Theatre Company). For film she has starred in The Babadook.

Kieran Buckeridge plays Victor Prynne. His theatre credits include Up Down Man, Can’t Buy Me Love, (Salisbury Playhouse), The Secret Adversary, Pinafore Swing (Watermill Theatre, Newbury), Elektra, The Rivals, The History Boys, Our Country’s Good, The Recruiting Officer (Theatre by the Lake), and Hamlet (Nuffield, Southampton). For television, his credits include Ye Olde Dragon’s Den, Moving On, Pearly Gates and Worried about the Boy; and for film, Darkest House, Dementamania.

Jack Hardwick plays Elyot Chase. His recent theatre credits include The Railway Children (King’s Cross Theatre), Battis Boy(Arcola Theatre), Blood Wedding (The Courtyard Theatre), The Revenger’s Tragedy (Hoxton Hall), Collaborators (National Theatre), Kiss (White Bear Theatre), Quality Street (Finborough Theatre), The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream(Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory). For television, his credits include Misfits and Law and Order; and for film, Verona.

Helen Keeley plays Amanda Prynne. She returns to London Classic Theatre having previously appeared in The Importance of Being Earnest. Other theatre credits include The Picture of Dorian Gray (Trafalgar Studios & UK tour), YapYapYap (Battersea Arts Centre), Half, To The End (Southwark Playhouse), and A Summer Day’s Dream (Finborough Theatre). For film, she has starred in Where To Now.

Michael Cabot is the founder and Artistic Director of London Classic Theatre. He has directed all thirty-six LCT productions since their debut in 1993 including Hysteria, The Birthday Party, Waiting for Godot, Absent Friends, Entertaining Mr Sloane, Betrayal, The Importance of Being Earnest, Equus and After Miss Julie. He has overseen the company’s transition from one of the success stories of the London Fringe in the late nineties to its current position as one of the UK’s leading touring companies. His freelance work as director includes two recent collaborations with award-winning playwright Henry Naylor, The Collector(national tour 2016) and Angel, which premièred at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016. Angel has won several theatre awards, including a Scotsman Fringe First and the Holden Street Theatres Edinburgh Award in 2016. The production transferred to the Adelaide Fringe in February 2017, winning the Adelaide Critics Circle Award, before playing at the 59E59 Theater in New York as part of the Brits off Broadway season. Angel was chosen by The Times as one of the UK’s Top Ten productions in 2016. Michael will direct Henry Naylor’s Borders at the Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh in August 2017.

London Classic Theatre

In April 2000, London Classic Theatre was launched as a touring theatre company with David Mamet’s Oleanna.  This inaugural tour lost a small fortune but doors had opened and, crucially, the work was being seen.  Seventeen years and thirty-six tours later, London Classic Theatre is now a successful, established part of the commercial UK touring theatre scene.  The company has never received any funding or sponsorship for its work.  As Artistic Director, Michael Cabot has programmed a repertoire of classic and modern classic plays, a mixture of the challenging and the commercial, big titles and less well-known, including two UK premières – Hugh Leonard’s Love in the Title and Joanna Murray-Smith’s Nightfall.  As venues and audiences have become more familiar with the work, he has been able to push the boundaries of what LCT offers, both in ambition, scale and complexity.

London Classic Theatre – in numbers… 

  • 36 tours since 2000
  • 29 productions
  • 250 venues visited
  • 450 weeks of touring
  • 325,000 miles covered
  • Over 2400 performances
  • Over 500,000 tickets sold
  • 156 actors
  • 18 designers
  • 2 UK premières
  • 4 Harold Pinter plays
  • 2 Patrick Marber plays
  • 2 Marivaux plays in new translation
  • Longest tour Equus – 35 weeks and 198 performances
  • Shortest tour The Game of Love and Chance – 5 weeks and 22 performances
  • £0 public subsidy

Facebook: @LondonClassicTheatre

Twitter: @londonclassic1

Listings                                                                                                                         Hysteria

Malvern Festival Theatre

6-9 September

Box office: 01684 892277


Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

12-16 September

Box office: 01284 769505


Greenwich Theatre

19-23 September

Box office: 020 8858 7755


Queen’s Hall, Hexham

26,27 September
Box office: 01434 652477 


Gala Theatre, Durham

28-30 September

Box office: 0300 026 6600


Octagon Theatre, Yeovil

3,4 October

Box office: 01935 422884


Wyvern Theatre, Swindon

5-7 October

Box office: 01793 524481


Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne

10-14 October

Box office: 01323 412000


Hexagon Theatre, Reading

17,18 October

Box office: 0118 960 6060


Harlow Playhouse

19-21 October

Box office: 01279 431945


Alban Arena, St Albans

24,25 October

Box office: 01727 844488


Civic Theatre, Chelmsford

26-28 October

Box office: 01245 606505 


Theatre Royal, Winchester

30 October – 4 November

Box office: 01962 840440


Blackpool Grand Theatre

7-11 November

Box office: 01253 290 190


Key Theatre, Peterborough

13-15 November

Box office: 01733 207239


New Theatre Royal, Lincoln

16-18 November

Box office: 01522 519999


Theatre Royal, Plymouth

20-25 November

Box office:  01752 267222