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ROWAN ATKINSON, TOM CONTI, MICHELE DOTRICE, RUPERT EVERETT, MATHEW HORNE, FELICITY KENDAL, PENELOPE KEITH, JOHN MAJOR, CLIVE MANTLE, ROGER MOORE, GWEN TAYLOR, KARA TOINTON, DON WARRINGTON & SEAN WILLIAMSON WILL ALL BE VISITING THE THEATRE ROYAL BATH IN THE NEW SEASON

The Autumn-Winter Season announced by the Theatre Royal brings a raft of famous names to Bath. These include much-loved favourites such as Felicity Kendal, Penelope Keith, Tom Conti and Rowan Atkinson (who’s previously performed stand-up at the Theatre Royal but now stars in a play), also some first time visitors including Hollywood star Rupert Everett, Gavin & Stacey’s Mathew Horne, EastEnders’ Kara Tointon and the legendary Roger Moore.

The first new show of the season will be ROUGH JUSTICE a gripping courtroom drama by Terence Frisby. TOM CONTI stars as James Highwood, the producer of a series of documentary television programmes challenging the British justice system, but how will he fare now that he finds himself in the dock accused of murder?

FELICITY KENDAL returns to Alan Ayckbourn’s work for the first time since 1973 when she stars alongside JONATHAN COY in his much-loved comedy of misunderstandings, RELATIVELY SPEAKING. Directed by Lindsay Posner, whose recent West End hits include Noises Off and Abigail’s Party, this is the play which turned Ayckbourn into a household name when it first opened. PRIOR TO WEST END.

STOP PRESS. STOP PRESS – KARA TOINTON (who played Dawn Swann in EastEnders, was the winner of Strictly Come Dancing 2010 and starred in Ayckbourn’s Absent Friends in the West End earlier this year) has just been confirmed to play Ginny.

 

GOOD GRIEF began life as a best-selling comic novel and was then adapted for the stage by its author Keith Waterhouse. PENELOPE KEITH plays recently widowed June Pepper, who follows her journalist husband’s instructions to keep a journal of her feelings and finds there is more to the process of grieving than she has imagined. PRIOR TO WEST END.

The Regency Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds has recently been refurbished and their company now visits Bath for the first time with a brand new adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, MANSFIELD PARK. The story of Fanny Price, a girl from a humble background who goes to live in the aristocratic home of her uncle, has been adapted for the stage by Tim Luscombe, whose previous successful adaptations include both Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

THE LADYKILLERS is one of the biggest West End hits of recent years, was nominated for five Olivier Awards, including Best New Play, and now tours for the first time. The celebrated Ealing comedy has been adapted by Graham Linehan (writer of Father Ted) and directed by Sean Foley (The Play What I Wrote). This classic black comedy will star MICHELE DOTRICE as the dotty landlady with CLIVE MANTLE and SEAN WILLIAMSON amongst the villains.

Sean O’Casey’s THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS is one of Irish drama’s greatest masterpieces. This production visits Bath from the world-renowned Abbey Theatre where the work of major Irish dramatists has been nurtured and premiered for over a hundred years. This iconic play, set against the backdrop of the 1916 Easter Rising, is directed by Wayne Jordan and received rave reviews on its Dublin premiere.

Hollywood star RUPERT EVERETT has championed the work of Oscar Wilde on both stage and screen and on both sides of the Atlantic. In David Hare’s THE JUDAS KISS – PRIOR TO WEST END – he plays the great Irish writer at the pivotal moment in his life when he is forced to choose between freedom and his perfidious lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, played by one of the UK’s most exciting young actors, FREDDIE FOX.

Having originally been an Oscar-winning film, DRIVING MISS DAISY was then a huge hit on stage in the West End and on Broadway and now tours for a strictly limited season. GWEN TAYLOR and DON WARRINGTON play the elderly southern matriarch and her kind-hearted chauffeur in this touching and compelling tale of an unlikely friendship.

ENGLISH TOURING OPERA returns to Bath in November with two great theatrical 20th century operas. Benjamin Britten’s ALBERT HERRING is an hilarious satire about English village life conducted by Britten expert Michael Rosewell; THE LIGHTHOUSE is Peter Maxwell Davies’s thrillingly atmospheric work based on the true story of the mysterious disappearance of three lighthouse keepers in the Flannan Islands in Scotland in 1900.

RAMBERT DANCE COMPANY will be celebrating their Artistic Director, Mark Baldwin’s ten years at the helm with the LABYRINTH OF LOVE TOUR, featuring a brand new piece by Marguerite Donlon; Sounddance by Merce Cunningham and Elysian Fields by Javier De Frutos which is inspired by A Streetcar Named Desire. Music will be performed live by the Rambert Orchestra and soprano Kirsty Hopkins.

Brandon Thomas’s CHARLEY’S AUNT is one of the most popular farces of all time. It broke records when it first opened in 1892 and has been a perennial favourite ever since. Gavin & Stacey’s MATHEW HORNE stars as Lord Fancourt Babberley, who is persuaded by two fellow Oxford students to impersonate Charley’s Aunt when his real aunt is delayed. Of course, when she unexpectedly appears there’s mayhem. This will be the only date outside London for this Menier Chocolate Factory production.

BATH LIGHT OPERATIC GROUP makes its annual visit to the Theatre Royal with THE SOUND OF MUSIC, probably the most famous musical ever written. On the Friday evening the company is presenting a SING WITH BLOG NIGHT in which audience members are invited to join the company in singing Rodgers and Hammerstein’s much-loved songs.

NORTHERN BALLET’s spectacular production of BEAUTY & THE BEAST features breathtaking haute-couture-style costumes and sets and is accompanied by music from Saint-Säens, Bizet, Debussy, Poulenc and Glazunov. It has been described as ‘like a fabulous silent movie’ and promises to delight both adults and children alike with its story of the handsome prince who is transformed into a Beast and the beautiful young woman who breaks the spell.

Since last visiting Bath, THE WOMAN IN BLACK has become a major motion picture starring Daniel Radcliffe. Now the most terrifying live theatre experience in the world returns to send shivers running throughout the audience, as it transports them into a ghostly world. This production, adapted by Stephen Mallatratt from the novel by Susan Hill, is celebrating its 23rd year in the West End.

Directly after this year’s pantomime, ROWAN ATKINSON, star of Blackadder, Mr Bean and Johnny English, will make his first appearance in a play for almost 25 years when he plays St John Quartermaine, the hopeless teacher in Simon Gray’s poignant comedy, QUARTERMAINE’S TERMS. This production, which plays Bath immediately PRIOR TO WEST END, is directed by multi award-winning director Richard Eyre.

This year’s traditional family pantomime, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, will star the Olivier Award-winning actress NICHOLA McAULIFFE as the Wicked Queen; the West’s best-loved dame, CHRIS HARRIS, will be back to celebrate his 12th consecutive year in Bath; hilarious local comedian JON MONIE is Muddles and seven genuinely small actors will play Snow White’s friends and protectors. Snow White has only ever been produced once before at the Theatre Royal (in the 1991/92 season). The Theatre Royal is grateful to the Bath Chronicle for once again supporting the pantomime.

Sunday Concerts in this Season are Olivier Award-nominated satirists FASCINATING AIDA with their Cheap Flights Tour; Cornish comedian JETHRO in concert with a special guest, and king of the double-entendre JULIAN CLARY with his new tour – Position Vacant – Apply Within. Before Christmas the 18th Century Concert Orchestra returns with their atmospheric recreation of  HANDEL’S MESSIAH BY CANDLELIGHT and BATH PHILHARMONIA will present the annual  NEW YEAR’S EVE GALA with guest soloist TAMSIN WALEY-COHEN and a programme of American classics including Leonard Bernstein’s Candide Overture and West Side Story Suite and the Barber Violin Concerto.

Special Events include AN AFTERNOON WITH SIR ROGER MOORE, in which the legendary actor talks about his life and new book, Bond On Bond;  JOHN MAJOR  tells the story of his father, an old time musical singer and comedian in MY OLD MAN; BBC news presenter NICHOLAS OWEN talks about working in the media in DAYS LIKE THIS; former sergeant DAVE HAYHOE and his dog, TREO, who is more decorated for his bravery than any other dog in the world, will both be in Bath for IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DOG; The History Wardrobe returns with  LADIES OF A CERTAIN AGE, which puts the focus on Jane Austen’s older characters, as well as the writer herself; PRUE LEITH, recently a judge on The Great British Menu talks about her life in the world of food in RELISH and Timothy Parry-Williams reveals the research on historical textiles by British and Japanese museums  in PLAIN, STRIPE, CHECK. All Special Events are open to the public.