In the Spring Season announced today, Theatre Royal Bath will be welcoming a Hollywood legend to the Ustinov Studio and internationally acclaimed companies Cheek by Jowl and Headlong to the Main House; it will be celebrating Shirley Valentine and Matthew Bourne’s 30th Anniversaries, Abigail’s Party’s 40th Anniversary, Roald Dahl’s centenary, and Geoffrey Boycott’s hundredth century; the Winner of the 2016 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy is visiting and Sasha Regan’s all–male company will open its new Mikado in Bath; there’s also Joe Orton’s anarchic comedy What the Butler Saw; ballet in the form of the sublime Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet; a new comedy musical version of The Addams Family and a recording of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue
– so there really is something for everyone…
Postal Booking from 8th November
Online Booking from 10th November
Telephone & Counter Booking from 14th November
F.Murray Abraham won the Academy Award for Best Actor playing Salieri in Amadeus in 1983 and has recently starred in international hit series Homeland and The Good Wife and films Inside Llewyn Davies and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Now he stars in Daniel Kehlmann’s THE MENTOR in the Ustinov Studio, directed by the Ustinov’s Artistic Director, Laurence Boswell, in which a spiky old author and a rising young literary star confront each other. Preceding this, the first of the two UK premieres in The German Season will be PLASTIC, Marius von Mayenburg’s outrageous satire on middle class political correctness, which will be directed by award-winning Matthew Dunster (Hangmen).
In the Main House, the multi award-winning CHEEK BY JOWL visits Bath as part of an international tour, with Shakespeare’s THE WINTER’S TALE, directed by Declan Donellan and designed by Nick Ormerod, the team who formed the company in 1981. Another internationally acclaimed company, Headlong, returns with an innovative presentation of Bernard Shaw’s PYGMALION. Directed by Sam Pritchard, this production is staged with a focus on class identity and how our voices define us and features video and sound technology by award-winning sound designers Ben and Max Ringham.
The season includes three extraordinary comedies: Mike Leigh’s ABIGAIL’S PARTY celebrates 40 years since it first brought to life the appalling Beverly. AMANDA ABBINGTON who is best-known for her roles in Sherlock and Mr Selfridge, will star in Theatre Royal Bath Productions’s new production directed by Sarah Esdaile which opens in Bath prior to the West End. English Touring Theatre will be presenting the Shakespeare’s Globe production of Jessica Swale’s NELL GWYNN, winner of the 2016 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. Christopher Luscombe directs LAURA PITT-PULFORD as the Drury Lane orange seller who became mistress to King Charles II in this bawdy theatrical whirl, direct from the West End. Prior to the West End, Theatre Royal Bath Productions and Curve present a new production of Joe Orton’s anarchic comedy WHAT THE BUTLER SAW. Comedian and actor RUFUS HOUND (One Man, Two Guvnors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Don Quixote) and DAKOTA BLUE RICHARDS (who played Lyra in the film of The Golden Compass), star in this inspired comic masterpiece which will be directed by Curve’s Artistic Director Nikolai Foster.
The 30th anniversary of Willy Russell’s heart-warming comedy SHIRLEY VALENTINE plays Bath prior to the West End. JODIE PRENGER plays the tour-de-force role of the housewife whose life is unexpectedly transformed, in this first major revival. Also celebrating a 30th anniversary, and opening in Bath, Britain’s favourite choreographer, MATTHEW BOURNE returns to his roots in EARLY ADVENTURES, a programme of three hit pieces that launched his career and saw the birth of the style, wit and sheer entertainment which characterise his company New Adventures. Also opening in Bath will be Gilbert and Sullivan’s THE MIKADO, a new production by Sasha Regan’s all-male company who have established a huge following in Bath after their previous visits with The Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore. After the sell-out success of last year’s debut visit, SAINT PETERSBURG CLASSIC BALLET returns with the beautiful Swan Lake and an opulent new version of The Nutcracker showcasing soloists Natalia Romanova and Petr Borchenko.
The season will feature two new musicals. FANTASTIC MR FOX is a new musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s story, which is part of the Roald Dahl Centenary celebrations. Adapted for the stage by Sam Holcroft with music by Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill, this promises to be a fantastic treat for all the family. THE ADDAMS FAMILY is a spectacular comedy musical based on the characters created by American cartoonist Charles Addams. The macabre family, whose members include Gomez, Morticia and Lurch, will feature in this heart-warming story of love, family and friendship with a twist, with a live orchestra and original score. Acclaimed amateur company BATH OPERATIC AND DRAMATIC SOCIETY will present the classic nineteen-sixties musical SWEET CHARITY, which includes the show-stopping numbers (Hey) Big Spender, Rhythm of Life and If They Could See Me Now.
THE MISER plays Bath as one of only two venues prior to the West End. Actor, writer, presenter and double Olivier Award winner GRIFF RHYS JONES returns to the stage to star as Harpagon, the title character in Moliere’s classic comedy. This hilarious new adaptation is written by Sean Foley and Phil Porter and is also directed by Sean Foley (The Ladykillers and Jeeves and Wooster). Further star casting to be announced.
Simon Reade’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE will be visiting Bath direct from London. MATTHEW KELLY (Of Mice and Men, Educating Rita, Waiting For Godot) and FELICITY MONTAGU (Alan Partridge, Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Durrells) star as Mr and Mrs Bennet in this elegant production directed by Deborah Bruce, which sold out at Regent’s Park Theatre, and follows their recent hits with adaptations of the classic novels To Kill A Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies.
One of the most successful literary adaptations of recent years has to be the National Theatre’s THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME, the winner of seven Olivier Awards including Best New Play. Olivier and Tony Award-winning Marianne Elliott directs the story of fifteen year-old maths wizard Christopher and his extraordinary journey in this new play by Simon Stephens based on the novel by Mark Haddon.
In addition to the stand-up evenings, RICKY GERVAIS AND GUESTS – WORK IN PROGRESS and RUSSELL BRAND: EXPOSED (sold out – returns only for both gigs), JACK DEE, BARRY CRYER and TIM BROOKE TAYLOR will be taking part in the BBC’s recording of I’M SORRY I HAVEN’T A CLUE as part of its 66th series, and AN EVENING WITH GEOFFREY BOYCOTT will see the outspoken cricketer and the ‘Greatest Living Yorkshireman’ reliving his 100th Hundred in 1977 and talking about cricket today.
The Ustinov Studio’s VISITING COMPANY SEASON brings together a hugely varied mix of comedy, drama and music. The Cornish artist and musician presents THE MATTHEW ROBINS CHRISTMAS SHOW, a collection of shadow operas brought to life by paper cut-outs and cardboard animations and featuring his creations Flyboy, Mothboy and Walter Knitty; based in the South West, New Old Friends and Lichfield Garrick have created an adult Christmas comedy thriller, CRIMES AGAINST CHRISTMAS – think Agatha Christie meets the 12 Days of Christmas, meets The 39 Steps!; after two previous sell-out visits in Call Mr Robeson, TAYO ALUKO returns in JUST AN ORDINARY LAWYER, a thrilling dramatization of the story of Tunji Sowande, Britain’s first Black judge, a cricket lover and a fine singer, who stepped up to the bar in 1978; Hijinx Theatre and Blind Summit present MEET FRED, the story of a puppet whose life spirals out of control and contains puppet nudity; SPILLIKIN is Pipeline’s love story between an elderly lady and a robot which has been uploaded with the personality of her late husband (meet the robot after the show for a Q & A); Theatre Alibi returns to Bath with FISH EYE, the confessions of a super snooper who discovers that everyone around her is a thief, a pervert or a terrorist!; Bristol–based VIC LLEWELLYN and KID CARPET present THE CASTLE BUILDER, which celebrates DIY Artists, makers, creators and builders everywhere through live music, dancing, projection and chewed bread sculptures; EUROHOUSE is a darkly comic look at the EU with Greek NASI VOUTSAS and Frenchman BETRAND LESCA in which they dance and shout, cry and sing, agree and disagree about the EU’s founding ideals; award-winning magician VINCENT GAMBINI presents astonishing close-up magic tricks and talks about what lies behind them in THIS IS NOT A MAGIC SHOW; acclaimed comedian SHAZIA MIRZA returns after a sell-out show last year with THE KARDASHIANS MADE ME DO IT, a brave and provocative piece of comedy about becoming a jihadi bride; and chanteuse KATE DIMBLEBY returns with SONGBIRDS, a look at the songs we all keep inside our heads that define who we are. Students from Bath Spa University will be presenting Noel Coward’s SEMI-MONDE, a decadent comedy set in the Ritz Hotel, Paris.
The Engage programme of participatory activities for adults includes the production and showing of THE ABANDONED, a feature-length film about the implications of the world being plunged into perpetual shadow – auditions are open in January to take part in the film. There are workshops in stage management, acting, storytelling and set designing; there is a masterclass with Frantic Assembly (the movement directors on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) and a monthly play reading session takes six of the most important plays of the 20th and 21st centuries for discussion.
Highlights in the egg, the Theatre Royal’s much acclaimed theatre for children, young people and their families, includes the Easter treat ELOISE AND THE CURSE OF THE GOLDEN WHISK, a swashbuckling adventure which sets off from the bombed out larder of a Bath restaurant in 1944 and MRS H AND THE SING-ALONG BAND, a chance for all the family to join in with an all star band and their array of instruments.
Shows for very young children include NEVERLAND, which is inspired by JM Barrie’s world in Peter Pan and features 360 degree projections; BEASTY BABY, which uses puppetry and live music in the acclaimed story of three people trying to bring up a very mischievous child; THE COLOUR OF ME, a dance performance piece about the effect of different colours; BRIGHT SPARKS, a performance created in response to research into the different sides of the human brain; THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG, a beautiful original ballet from Let’s All Dance and, in STORY TIME ADVENTURE, guest artists and storytellers bring favourite picture books to life for pre-schoolers.
For slightly older children Fine Chisel presents BENEATH THE BLIZZARD, fast-paced story-telling with folk-tunes set underground in a post-apocalyptic world; The Quarter Too Ensemble presents WOJTEK – THE HAPPY WARRIOR, the unbelievable true story of a Syrian Brown Bear who was enlisted into the Polish Army Corp during the Second World War, and Krazy Kat presents OLIVER IN THE OVERWORLD, the first ever musical created from scratch with sign-language which tells the story of a little deaf boy through beautiful puppets, songs and dances.
For teenagers, 20 Stories High and Contact presents a new verbatim play with live music and poetry, I TOLD MY MUM I WAS GOING ON AN RE TRIP, which raises the issue of abortion through the real voices of a host of different people; following 2016’s Connections 500, the egg plays host once again to NATIONAL THEATRE CONNECTIONS, a week jammed full of performances from youth theatre groups from all over the South West, and Theatre Royal Bath Theatre School presents Lucy Prebble’s hit play ENRON, about one of the most famous scandals in financial history.
Special Events in the season include former politician and railway aficionado MICHAEL PORTILLO talking about his new autobiography LIFE: A GAME OF TWO HALVES; former leader of the Liberal Democrats PADDY ASHDOWN discusses his latest book, GAME OF SPIES, a riveting three-way spy story set in occupied France; one of the nation’s favourite authors, DAMIEN LEWIS returns with THE NAZI HUNTERS, the incredible hitherto untold story of the most secret chapter in the SAS’s history; acclaimed historian ELIZABETH NORTON talks about her new book, THE LIVES OF TUDOR WOMEN in which she looks at what it was actually like to be a wet nurse, countess or serving maid during the Elizabethan era; KIM HICKS performs ALL ABOARD, in which she recreates an entire voyage on Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s historic steamship through the actual letters and diaries of some of the passengers, and five actors from Moonstone Theatre Company return after numerous sell-out visits to present LUNCHTIME WITH THE HOME GUARD, a fun interactive lunch set during the Second World War.
Events organized by the Theatre’s Fundraisers, and open to the general public, include an evening cookery demonstration at Lucknam Park with Head Chef Ben Taylor; a tour of Mumford’s Vineyard in Batheaston, and visits to Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury and Chavenage House in Tetbury.
For full info visit: www.theatreroyal.org.uk