Theatre Royal Bath’s Spring Season announced today is packed with award-winning productions direct from or prior to the West End; advance information on three Summer Season comedies and the Shakespeare Unplugged Festival which pays tribute to The Bard on the 400th anniversary of his death.
Postal Booking from 1st December Online Booking from 3rd December
Telephone & Counter Booking from 7th December
The extraordinary set for William Golding’s LORD OF THE FLIES, featuring a crashed plane, will be one of the most dramatic ever seen on the Theatre Royal’s stage. Nigel Williams’ adaptation of the classic novel about a group of schoolboys forced to survive on a desert island, comes to Bath from London’s award-winning Regent’s Park Theatre.
Bath-born Jacqueline Wilson, has recently been awarded the JM Barrie Award for a ‘Lifetime of Unforgettable Writing for Children’. One of her most famous creations, HETTY FEATHER, comes to the stage direct from a sell-out West End season, directed by Sally Cookson. Featuring circus skills, original songs and live music, the production was nominated for an Olivier Award.
Making its first ever visit to the UK, the acclaimed SAINT PETERSBURG CLASSIC BALLET brings two of the best-loved classical ballets in the repertoire to Bath. SWAN LAKE and THE NUTCRACKER, both accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s glorious music, feature extraordinary dancers and a full orchestra. A half price children’s ticket offer is available.
LET IT BE, the international hit show that celebrates the music of The Beatles, is one of the West End’s most popular shows. Packed with over forty of The Fab Four’s greatest hits, this spectacular concert charts the band’s meteoric rise and will be enjoyed by audience members of all ages.
Celebrating its tenth anniversary, Patrick Barlow’s ingenious adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s THE 39 STEPS features 4 actors and 130 characters in 100 hilarious minutes. This wonderfully inventive and gripping comedy thriller is the winner of both Olivier and Tony Awards.
Two plays at the heart of the Stephen Joseph Theatre’s 60th anniversary celebrations feature in the Company’s annual visit to Bath. Alan Ayckbourn directs both a revival of his award-winning 1974 work, CONFUSIONS, five witty and inter-connected short plays, and the world premiere production of his 79th play, HERO’S WELCOME, a ruefully comic view of the human predicament.
MARTIN SHAW and CHRISTOPHER TIMOTHY star in a brand new production of HOBSON’S CHOICE. Theatre Royal Bath Productions and Jonathan Church Productions present Harold Brighouse’s classic comedy about a tyrannical shop-keeper and his three daughters, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2016. This production is PRIOR TO WEST END.
First performed in 1999, TOAST is by Richard Bean who went on to write the huge hit, One Man, Two Guvnors. This brilliantly-observed drama set in a bread factory stars Olivier Award-winner, MATTHEW KELLY, and SIMON GREENALL, who is best-known for his role in Alan Partridge. The show visits Bath prior to running at the Brits off Broadway Festival in New York. During the same week, during the day, THE GRUFFALO’S CHILD brings to life Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s story in a magical musical stage adaptation by Tall Stories Theatre for ages 3+.
TOM CHAMBERS and LAURA ROGERS star in Noël Coward’s much-loved comedy PRIVATE LIVES. When former husband and wife, Elyot and Amanda, find themselves honeymooning on adjacent hotel balconies, they are unable to resist rekindling their former passion. CHARLOTTE RITCHIE and RICHARD TEVERSON play the abandoned new spouses. This production is PRIOR TO WEST END.
BATH OPERATIC AND DRAMATIC SOCIETY, one of the region’s most acclaimed amateur companies, makes its annual visit to the Theatre Royal with one of the most thrilling musicals of all. With its breath-taking choreography, gritty storyline and classic songs, Leonard Bernstein’s WEST SIDE STORY marked a turning point in American musical theatre and won a plethora of awards.
Following ten successful years of the Agatha Christie Theatre Company, Bill Kenwright now presents the Classic Thriller Theatre Company with a new production by Richard Levinson and William Link, the legendary writers of Murder, She Wrote. REHEARSAL FOR MURDER stars ROBERT DAWS, AMY ROBBINS, ROBERT DUNCAN, SUSAN PENHALIGON, STEVEN PINDER, LUCY DIXON and BEN NEALON.
Alan Bennett’s SINGLE SPIES is a comedy masterpiece – two plays (An Englishman Abroad and A Question of Attribution) about the lives of two members of the notorious ‘Cambridge Five’ spy ring in the 1950s. NICHOLAS FARRELL and Downton’s DAVID ROBB star as the spies, with BELINDA LANG playing HM The Queen.
English Touring Theatre returns to Bath with Peter Whelan’s fascinating play, THE HERBAL BED, The Secret Life of Shakespeare’s Daughter. Based upon real events, and set in 1613, this emotional thriller is about what happened when Susanna Hall (née Shakespeare), is publicly accused of adultery with her neighbour.
David Wood’s magical stage adaptation of Michelle Magorian’s much-loved novel, GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM is an Olivier Award-winning production which visits Bath for the first time. This poignant story of an evacuee and his friendship with an elderly recluse, played by DAVID TROUGHTON, is guaranteed to inspire audiences and bring generations together.
The 2016 Summer Season, begins with Noël Coward’s PRESENT LAUGHTER starring SAMUEL WEST and directed by Stephen Unwin. The production – often thought of as semi autobiographical – is undoubtedly one of Noël Coward’s funniest plays, as he looks at life behind the theatrical curtain and reveals a world of glittering wits, dashing dressing gowns and ostentatious personalities.
In the second Summer Season production, Terence Rattigan shows himself to be a master farceur in WHILE THE SUN SHINES, a hilarious mix of mistaken identities and crossed wires set in a London flat during the Second World War. Christopher Luscombe directs this comedy, which ran for over one thousand performances in the West End.
For the third play in the Summer Season, Olivier Award-winning director Laurence Boswell, the Artistic Director of the Ustinov Studio and an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, will direct a brand new production of Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, to mark the anniversary of the playwright’s death in 1616.
One-nighters in this season will be STEWART LEE in A ROOM WITH A STEW, featuring brand new material ahead of the new series of Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle on BBC2; the world-renowned UKULELE ORCHESTRA OF GREAT BRITAIN present two concerts on Valentine’s Day as part of THE GIGASECOND TOUR and JONATHAN AGNEW returns after the huge success of Boycott and Aggers in AN EVENING WITH AGGERS AND TUFFERS (PHIL TUFFNELL) in which the two cricketing legends talk about the game.
The Ustinov Studio’s seasons of UK premieres programmed by Artistic Director Laurence Boswell have brought some extraordinary works to Bath in recent years. The next season will comprise two French-Canadian dramas: RIGHT NOW by Catherine-Anne Toupin, is a co-production with the Traverse and The Bush, two of the UK’s premier champions of new writing. Directed by Michael Boyd this thrilling dark comedy is about the relationship between a young couple and their distinctly odd neighbours; FOREVER YOURS, MARIE-LOU, is widely considered to be a masterpiece, a brilliantly witty exploration of a chronically dysfunctional family by Michel Tremblay, who has been at the fore of Quebec’s vibrant theatre scene since the 1960s. Laurence Boswell directs this new translation by Michael West.
Prior to the Season of French-Canadian Drama, the Ustinov presents the VISITING COMPANY SEASON, a hugely varied range of drama, comedy and music. The season includes the return of two tour-de-force performances, which have sold-out on previous visits. CLIVE FRANCIS presents his captivating one-man version of Charles Dickens’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL and TAYO ALUKO plays the great singer and activist in CALL MR ROBESON. Also in the season, Worklight Theatre presents LABELS, an award-winning show about a refugee’s experiences in rural Devon; The Devil’s Violin presents THE FORBIDDEN DOOR, a visceral combination of live music and dynamic storytelling; Scratchworks Theatre Company presents NEL, a story about the world of a foley artist (who creates and records sound effects for films); Pipeline Theatre tell the stories of a volatile fifteen year old and her foster mother who came to Britain on the kindertransport in TRANSPORTS; Folio Theatre Company’s REEL LIFE is set on a secluded bank of the River Avon and Platform 4 presents THE LEGEND OF THE HOLY DRINKER, a performance using puppets, songs and an accordion based on the novella by Joseph Roth. In WHO IS DORY PREVIN? acclaimed singer and storyteller KATE DIMBLEBY and pianist and vocalist NAADIA SHERIFF explore the songbook and life of the cult seventies singer in a touching show directed by Cal McCrystal. Presented by Verity Standen in association with the Tobacco Factory, MMM HMMM is a new piece of a cappella song theatre in which three vocalists explore everyday life with their voices and, following an acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe run, SHAZIA MIRZA performs her new show, THE KARDASHIANS MADE ME DO IT, a searing exploration of life, love and Jihadi brides.
The 2016 SHAKESPEARE UNPLUGGED FESTIVAL is a five-week season of work inspired by Shakespeare’s works launched by THE BIG DAY IN FREE FAMILY OPEN DAY – an extravaganza of Shakespeare-related activity which includes a Shakespeare Treasure Hunt and R & J Love Potions, whilst the opening production is THE RUFF GUIDE TO SHAKESPEARE – an hour-long introduction to the life, times and every play, presented by Bristol Old Vic Theatre School; very young children will enjoy DINKIES DREAM, a magical visit to a forest full of fairies with storytellers JACKIE EKERS and POOJA KUMAR; the acclaimed all-male Propeller presents POCKET DREAM, A Midsummer Night’s Dream for young audiences; ROMEO AND JULIET is presented by Let’s All Dance, in a high-energy, hip-hop version in which the lovers communicate via text messages, and New Mutiny Theatre presents an explosive one-hour version aimed at ages 5+; Bath Spa University Students present SHAKESPEARE PROJECT, which explores hidden and imaginary characters in Shakespeare’s work and Theatre Royal Bath Theatre School students present A SHAKESPEAREAN CABARET, a vaudevillian version of the complete works. For older students and adults, TRB Engage (a programme of participatory and educational events for adults) presents THY NAME IS WOMAN in which Shakespeare’s women bite back in a series of filmed and live performances in the egg and THE DOGS OF WAR, which weaves together Shakespeare’s writing on conflict, which takes place in a promenade performance at Burdall’s Yard. Open auditions for these two performances take place in January. There will also be showings of the films of Baz Luhrmann’s ROMEO & JULIET and Joss Wheedon’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, play readings, masterclasses and THE BIG FAT SHAKESPEARE PUB QUIZ. The Engage programme also includes workshops on PERFORMING WITH MASKS; THE STORYTELLING CHORUS and THE ART OF DEVISING.
The new year programme in the egg, the Theatre Royal’s much acclaimed theatre for children, young people and their families, includes, for younger children, THE BEAR, based on Raymond Briggs’s beautiful story book; LAND OF LIGHTS, in which a hot air balloon floats over a miniature landscape; TETRIS, a gravity-defying piece from The Netherlands in which four dancers tumble over each other like a game of Tetris, and Dr Seuss’s THE CAT IN THE HAT is back in a riot of magic, colour and rhyme presented by Paul Taylor Mills. For ages 5+ Half Moon presents POP-UP FLASHBACK, which opens up a world of poetry and incredible pop-up books; M6 Theatre presents TADPOLES, in which two superheroes are pitted against each other in a tadpole catching competition (voiced by Sue Johnston); over Easter, Red Earth presents THE REMARKABLE TALE OF OLIVER TWIST, in which Dickens’s original story is presented in the style of a Victorian music hall; The Wrong Crowd presents KITE, a wild adventure without words inspired by the world of indoor kite-flying, and the Theatre Royal Bath Theatre School presents BEDBUG, an original musical satire by Snoo Wilson with music by Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet and Guy Pratt of Pink Floyd, as part of the National Theatre’s Connections 500.
Special Events in the season include MURDER ON THE RIVIERA, a murder-mystery lunch in the company of Moonstone Theatre; DEREK FOWLDS talks about his new autobiography, A PART WORTH PLAYING; best-selling author DAMIEN LEWIS returns to talk about CHURCHILL’S SECRET WARRIORS, the story of a small band of secret operatives who broke all the rules of warfare; MICK ESCOTT discusses his book about theatres all over the country – and in amazing spaces – in ROUND THE FOOTLIGHTS; in association with Bath Literature Festival, Britain’s longest-serving theatre critic, MICHAEL BILLINGTON discusses his new compilation THE 101 GREATEST PLAYS and explorer LEVISON WOOD talks about his new book, WALKING THE HIMALAYAS, and HRH PRINCESS MICHAEL OF KENT talks about her fascinating trilogy of works about the French Court of the 15th century and a murder which took place there, in THE QUICKSILVER TOUR.
Events organized by the Theatre’s Fundraisers, and open to the general public, include a visit to PARK FARM CHEESE DAIRY in Kelston, a visit to the EMMA BRIDGEWATER POTTERY in Stoke-on-Tent and an evening of bluegrass music with local acoustic band CARDBOARD FOX.