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Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf  Theatre Royal BathAs the Summer Season 2014 opens, the programme for Autumn and Winter has just been announced. The Summer Season features a plethora of much-loved actors with no less than seven Olivier Awards between them. Adrian Noble directs one of the greatest of all American plays, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? starring Clare Higgins and Tim Pigott-Smith. David Grindley directs Alan Bennett’s brilliantly entertaining Kafka’s Dick, starring Matthew Kelly and Samantha Spiro. Alison Steadman, Pippa Nixon and Desmond Barrit star in Emile Zola’s passionate love story, Thérèse Raquin, directed by Jonathan Munby, and Felicity Kendal and Simon Shepherd star in Noël Coward’s immortal comedy Hay Fever, directed by Lindsay Posner. In the Ustinov Studio Michael Longhurst directs Joshua Harmon’s uproarious comedy, Bad Jews, one of the most talked about shows of recent years.

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The first show after the Summer Season (and playing for two weeks) will be one of the biggest hits in the history of the National Theatre, ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS. Richard Bean’s adaptation of The Servant of Two Masters is a glorious celebration of British comedy, a unique blend of satire, songs, slapstick and glittering one-liners. Francis Henshall is played by GAVIN SPOKES, reprising his West End role, alongside three former EastEnders stars – SHAUN WILLIAMSON, EMMA BARTON and JASMYN BANKS.  Theatre Sponsor: Mallory

Also DIRECT FROM THE WEST END, where it will be playing over the summer, is Oscar Wilde’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, with one of the most star-studded line-ups ever seen on the Theatre Royal stage. NIGEL HAVERS and MARTIN JARVIS will play Algernon Moncrieff and John Worthing JP, reprising the roles they played for the Peter Hall Company production in 1982, SIÂN PHILLIPS will play Lady Bracknell, a part she recently performed in Washington. The cast also includes ROSALIND AYRES, NIALL BUGGY, CHRISTINE KAVANAGH, CHERIE LUNGHI and PATRICK GODFREY.

Also DIRECT FROM THE WEST END, where it was WINNER OF THE 2014 OLIVIER AWARD FOR BEST NEWsinclair-630x310 COMEDY, is JEEVES & WOOSTER IN PERFECT NONSENSE. Adapted from the works of P.G.Wodehouse by the Goodale Brothers, this delightful evening of theatrical absurdity stars JAMES LANCE (I’m Alan Partridge, Teachers, The Book Group) as Bertie Wooster and JOHN GORDON SINCLAIR (Gregory’s Girl) as Jeeves and is directed by Sean Foley (The Ladykillers, The Play What I Wrote). Theatre Sponsor: Wessex Water

Also 2014 OLIVIER AWARD-WINNERS – ENGLISH TOURING OPERA – who won for OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN OPERA, return in the Autumn with more of the baroque splendour for which the company is especially renowned. They present Haydn’s fast-moving comedy, LIFE ON THE MOON and Handel’s romantic and tragic tale, OTTONE. Both are performed with the Old Street Band, ETO’s acclaimed baroque period orchestra.

The UK’s leading contemporary dance company, RAMBERT have been winning rave reviews for their revival of ROOSTER which they will be bringing to Bath in the Autumn. Christopher Bruce’s electrifying celebration of the Swinging Sixties, which is performed to some of the Rolling Stones’s most iconic music, is accompanied in the programme by Lucinda Childs’ FOUR ELEMENTS and Mark Baldwin’s THE STRANGE CHARM OF MOTHER NATURE.

DIRECT FROM THE WEST END is TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. This production of Harper Lee’s much-loved classic (recently in the news as one of the American novels which would no longer form part of the English Literature syllabus) was performed to great acclaim at London’s award-winning Regent’s Park Theatre.

slavas snowshowAlso DIRECT FROM THE WEST END is SLAVA’S SNOWSHOW, a unique combination of theatrical clowning and stunning visual spectacle, which has been loved by audiences all over the world. This extraordinary show is performed by a renowned company of clowns led by SLAVA POLUNIN, who was recently appointed Artistic Director of the St Petersburg Circus.

Opening in Bath PRIOR TO THE WEST END, Theatre Royal Bath Productions presents THE HYPOCHONDRIAC. Richard Bean, the adaptor of One Man, Two Guvnors, turns Moliere’s masterpiece about a miserly hypochondriac into a riotous comedy in this brand new production which stars one of the UK’s best-loved actors, TONY ROBINSON. Lindsay Posner, one of the UK’s greatest directors of farce will direct, having enjoyed huge success with this comedy at the Almeida Theatre in 2005.

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Opening in Bath PRIOR TO A UK TOUR, Theatre Royal Bath Productions in association with the Robert Stigwood Organisation, presents a brand new production of one of the best-loved dance stories of all time, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. Packed with legendary hits from the Bee Gees, performed by a large and hugely talented cast of actor-musicians who will play instruments, dance and sing, the show is choreographed by the award-winning Andrew Wright and directed by Ryan McBryde, who has directed musicals all over Europe.

HENRY IV Parts 1 and II have recently been described by the Guardian as “Shakespeare’s two greatest plays”. Now the Royal Shakespeare Company brings its acclaimed, epic productions to Bath as the only venue in the South West. ANTONY SHER plays Shakespeare’s great comic creation Sir John Falstaff, with JASPER BRITTON as Henry IV and ALEX HASSELL as Prince Hal. See both productions on the same day for a thrilling theatrical experience.

After a sell-out visit to Bath in 2013, the legendary, record-breaking, smash hit thriller, THE MOUSETRAP returns. Agatha Christie’s intriguing country house murder mystery is the longest running show in the history of theatre anywhere in the world. This is the 60th anniversary production.

BATH LIGHT OPERATIC GROUP makes its annual visit to the Theatre Royal with JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s multi award-winning musical, inspired by the relationship between Judas and Jesus. 

This year’s traditional family pantomime, CINDERELLA, will star DANI HARMER in the title role. Dani is of course known to millions of children as Tracy Beaker and was a finalist in the 2012 series of Strictly Come Dancing. She will be joined by MELANIE WALTERS, as Fairy Godmother, who is best-known for playing Gwen, Stacey’s mum in the acclaimed sitcom Gavin & Stacey, and much-loved Bath comedian and pantomime favourite, JON MONIE as Buttons, immediately following a run at the Edinburgh Festival with his stand-up show.
Theatre Sponsor: Bath Chronicle

Al_Murray_Portrait_PaintedSunday concerts in the main house include: AL MURRAY, The Pub Landlord in his brand new show, ONE MAN, ONE GUVNOR (performances in Bath will be filmed for the upcoming DVD); FASCINATING AIDA bring their new show, CHARM OFFENSIVE; ERIC AND LITTLE ERN is an affectionate, moving and funny homage to Morecambe and Wise created and performed by IAN ASHPITEL and JONTY STEPHENS and featuring classic material by Eddie Braben, Dick Hills and Sid Green, and FRANK SKINNER presents his new stand-up show, MAN IN A SUIT.

After an ecstatically-received American Season in Spring 2014, the plays for the Autumn will be THREE BLACK COMEDIES which have been especially commissioned by the Ustinov in new translations. The first is PLAY STRINDBGERG, the UK premiere production of Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s gleeful black comedy, which is inspired by Strindberg’s Dance of Death. Britain’s leading satirist, Alistair Beaton is translating this production, which will be directed by Nancy Meckler, the former Artistic Director of the multi award-winning Shared Experience. GREG HICKS, one of Britain’s leading classical actors will star.

Florian Zeller is one of France’s hottest literary talents. His new play, Le Pere, has just won three Moliere Awards, France’s highest theatrical honour. This UK premiere production of the play which studies the relationship between a father and daughter, will be translated by Academy Award-winning adaptor and writer Christopher Hampton. THE FATHER will be directed by James Macdonald, who recently won the Best Director Obie Award in the USA.

Eugène Ionesco was one of the greatest innovators in European drama. His extraordinary play about a dying 400 year-old king, will be the final play in the season of black comedies.  EXIT THE KING will be directed by Laurence Boswell, the Artistic Director of the Ustinov Studio, whose recent work for the Ustinov includes A Lady of Little Sense and Punishment Without Revenge in the Spanish Golden Age Season and Intimate Apparel in the American Season 2014. He also recently directed the production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Things We Do For Love in the Theatre Royal’s Main House, prior to a national tour. Exit the King is translated by the award-winning Jeremy Sams.

The ENGAGE programme of participatory and educational events for adults includes masterclasses in Commedia Dell’Arte, prop-making, pyrotechnics and a ten-week course in exploring the voice led by Hammerpuzzle Theatre Company. Engage also produces LOCKDOWN, a play commissioned from local writer Sarah Curwen and will be presenting two script-in-hand performances chosen from the May submission.

After its sell-out World Premiere production of THE QUEEN’S KNICKERS, adapted from Nicholas Allan’s book by Oliver Birch and John Biddle and directed by Lee Lyford, this egg and Southbank Theatre production returns to Bath prior to a 31-venue UK-wide tour. The egg also ventures further afield with LITTLE RED HEN, adapted from the nursery favourite, which will take place at Bath City Farm; GATECRASH, an interactive production in which audience members themselves gatecrash a house party using wireless headphones, which happens at Victoria Hall in Radstock, and this year’s Storm on the Lawn production, held in the Ball Court at Prior Park College, will be ROBIN HOOD, in which 60 young people will join a professional team to create a dazzling piece of outdoor theatre featuring sword fights and archery as the culmination of a three-week summer school.

Shows taking place at the Theatre Royal’s award-winning egg theatre for children, young people and their families include, for younger children, ONCE IN A BLUE MOON, a celebration for the moon’s birthday and THE ASSEMBLY OF ANIMALS, a kind of performed sculpture including puppetry, magic and scientific demonstration. For ages 5 – 8, shows include THE FALCON’S MALTESER a new adaptation of Anthony Horowitz’s story of an inept private detective by New Old Friends in association with the egg; COMEDY CLUB 4 KIDS; interactive stand-up animation with LITTLE HOWARD AND THE MAGIC PENCIL OF LIFE AND DEATH; Winner of the Theatre UK Award for Best Children’s Show of 2012, THE CURIOUS SCRAPBOOK OF JOSEPHINE BEAN; Theatre Alibi returns with MUCKY PUP, a funny and touching story about the friendship between a very tidy boy and a very scruffy dog; award-winning Antler Theatre’s adventure story, WHERE THE WHITE STOPS, and a YaD Arts and Tall Stories production of Lemony Snicket’s LATKE WHO COULDN’T STOP SCREAMING which includes live music, lots of laughter and a screaming potato pancake. For ages 10+ Travelling Light presents Saikat Ahamed dancing through his dual-identity childhood in STRICTLY BALTI; Wee Stories presents ONE GIANT LEAP, Iain Johnstone’s astonishing solo performance which attempts to bring the whole universe inside the theatre, and Half Moon Theatre presents FREE, a haunting story about free-running. Theatre Royal’s Young People’s Theatre will be presenting four different performances they themselves have devised, under the banner of THE ELEVENTH HOUR to mark the centenary of the First World War. This year’s egg Christmas show will be a new musical production of RUMPELSTILTSKIN with book and lyrics by Radio 4’s Matt Harvey and music by award-winning composer and winner of the 2003 BBC Young Composer Competition, Thomas Hewitt-Jones.

Special Events include LONGBOURN, JO BAKER’S acclaimed version of Pride and Prejudice as told from the servants’ point of view and THE STRANGEST FAMILY in which JANICE HADLOW takes a moving look at the private life and family of George III – two events which are part of this year’s Jane Austen Festival. Tony Award-winning drama critic JOHN LAHR talks about his much-anticipated biography of TENNESSEE WILLIAMS; SHEILA HANCOCK talks about her first novel, MISS CARTER’S WAR and archeologist MIKE PITTS discusses the extraordinary project which resulted in finding the king’s remains in a Leicester car park in DIGGING FOR RICHARD III. Events staged by the Theatre’s Fundraisers – and open to the general public – will include a demonstration with Bath baker RICHARD BERTINET, who will be talking about his new book, Patisserie, a CHRISTMAS COOKERY SCHOOL at Lucknam Park Hotel and CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT at St Michael’s Church, Bath.