From Dusty Springfield to Sherlock Holmes, Gangsta Granny to Mary Stuart and Strictly to Sinatra – Theatre Royal Bath’s spring season includes three World Premieres, a raft of major productions and much-loved musicals, and a superlative range of top-class dance.
Postal Booking from 31st October.
Online Booking from 2nd November.
Telephone & Counter Booking from 6th November.
DUSTY, a landmark new musical about the life of the iconic Dusty Springfield written by Jonathan Harvey based on the authorized biography by Vicki Wickham, and directed by Maria Friedman, will receive its WORLD PREMIERE in Bath PRIOR TO WEST END. Three times Olivier Award nominee KATHERINE KINGSLEY (Piaf, Singin’ in the Rain, A Midsummer Night’s Dream) will play the extraordinary chanteuse whose numerous hits included I Only Want to be With You, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me and Son of a Preacher Man.
SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE FINAL CURTAIN is the WORLD PREMIERE production of a new thriller, which has been commissioned by Theatre Royal Bath from award-winning dramatist Simon Reade, after Arthur Conan Doyle. ROBERT POWELL (Holby City, Jesus of Nazareth) and LIZA GODDARD (Bergerac), who have previously co-starred in Single Spies and Relatively Speaking, will play Holmes and Mary Watson in this chilling new drama.
The Theatre Royal is offering an abundance of Christmas productions for all ages. SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS in the Main House stars HARRIET THORPE (Absolutely Fabulous, The Brittas Empire), much-loved comedian JON MONIE, back by popular demand, and NICK WILTON (EastEnders) who returns as dame with seven talented short actors playing the ‘magnificent seven’. (Snow White is sponsored once again by the Bath Chronicle and Moore Stephens will again be sponsoring the goody bags.) In the egg, LITTLE MERMAID is the story of a scruffy mermaid who doesn’t fit in which is inspired by the story by Hans Christian Andersen and written by award-winning Bea Roberts. (The show is sponsored by King Edwards School), and AURORA offers an invitation to very young children and their families to journey into the Northern Lights on a multi-sensory adventure. In the Ustinov Studio LIVING SPIT’S NATIVITY presents a hilariously crude adult take on the Christmas story and Actors Touring Company and Orange Tree Theatre present WINTER SOLSTICE a razor sharp comedy set on Christmas Eve about the rise of the new right across the globe by Roland Schimmelpfennig, the most performed playwright in Germany. Tickets for AN EVENING WITH AGGERS AND BUMBLE on a Sunday in January would make the perfect Christmas present for cricket-lovers when Jonathan Agnew and David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd talk cricket in the wake of the forthcoming Ashes series.
In the New Year families will thrill to Bath-born Jacqueline Wilson’s HETTY FEATHER, directed by Sally Cookson. Featuring circus skills, original songs and live music, the production was a huge West End hit and was nominated for an Olivier Award. An Easter holiday treat will be David Walliams’ GANGSTA GRANNY, the award-winning West End production which has been adapted for the stage by Birmingham Stage Company, who previously brought Horrible Histories to Bath.
Returning to Bath after a triumphant visit last year, SAINT PETERSBURG CLASSIC BALLET presents two of the best-loved classical ballets in the repertoire. 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.
The internationally feted RICHARD ALSTON DANCE COMPANY makes a welcome return to Bath after an absence of more than a decade, with a programme of sensational dance featuring three pieces choreographed by Alston himself: CARNAVAL to Schumann’s music which is played live by outstanding pianist Jason Ridgway; CHACONY with music by Purcell and Benjamin Britten, and GYPSY MIXTURE with exhilarating dancing to the music of Romanian and Macedonian gypsy bands.
Dance champions and former stars of Strictly Come Dancing VINCENT SIMONE and FLAVIA CACACE present TANGO MODERNO, a theatrical spectacular featuring ten dancers and West End singers, whilst current Strictly favourite, BRENDAN COLE, takes to the stage on a Sunday night with ALL NIGHT LONG 2018, a sensational dance show guaranteed to wow audiences. The exceptional range of dance is completed by RAISING THE BARRE with THE DOROTHY COLEBORN SCHOOL OF DANCING, which celebrates the talent of all the students from Bath’s acclaimed dance school over two Sundays in March.
The multi award-winning BLOOD BROTHERS is one of the best-loved musicals of all time. LYN PAUL (Cabaret, New Seekers), who has been described as the definitive Mrs Johnstone, leads the cast in Willy Russell’s captivating story of two brothers separated at birth. THE RAT PACK – LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS brings the glamour of the famous Sands Hotel to Bath with the greatest hits from Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin. Also DIRECT FROM WEST END, SHOWSTOPPER! THE IMPROVISED MUSICAL is an Olivier Award-winning, must-see show in which a brand new musical comedy is created from scratch at every performance based on suggestions from the audience. BATH OPERATIC AND DRAMATIC SOCIETY make their annual visit to the Theatre Royal with the Lerner and Loewe’s classic musical MY FAIR LADY, which is based on the story of Pygmalion.
From a classic musical to classic drama, Oscar Wilde’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST stars GWEN TAYLOR (Bit of a Do, Barbara) as Lady Bracknell with SUSAN PENHALIGON (A Bouquet of Barbed Wire) as Miss Prism in this new version of one of the wittiest comedies in the language. An undoubted modern classic is ART, Yasmina Reza’s dazzling study of three friends and their contrasting reactions to an all-white painting, which stars NIGEL HAVERS (The Charmer, Don’t Wait Up, Downton Abbey), DENIS LAWSON (Bleak House, Local Hero) and STEPHEN TOMPKINSON (Drop the Dead Donkey). Direct from seasons at Chichester Festival Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre, TESSA PEAKE-JONES (Only Fools and Horses) and ADEN GILLETT (The House of Eliott) star in Terence Rattigan’s classic drama, THE WINSLOW BOY. Based on real events, this is the story of a young cadet who is expelled for stealing a five-shilling postal order and the devastating impact this has on his entire family.
THIS HOUSE is one of the National Theatre’s biggest hits of recent years. Set in Westminster in 1974 where a minority Labour government under Harold Wilson is trying to hold power together in an era of chaos. Author James Graham also has two plays running concurrently in the West End, Ink and Labour of Love.
In Friedrich Schiller’s political tragedy MARY STUART, JULIET STEVENSON (Death and the Maiden, Truly, Madly, Deeply) and LIA WILLIAMS (Oresteia, Skylight) trade the play’s central roles of Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart, by the toss of a coin. Bath will be one of only three regional venues visited by Robert Icke’s electrifying production from the Almeida Theatre.
Also based on historical fact, DAVID HAIG (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Thin Blue Line, My Boy Jack) stars in his own play, PRESSURE, an intense thriller about the most important weather forecast in the history of warfare when Scottish meteorologist Group Captain James Stagg, advised General Eisenhower on when to give the order which resulted in the D-Day landings.
A quartet of illustrious actors stars in QUARTET, Ronald Harwood’s play about four elderly former opera singers. PAUL NICHOLAS (Just Good Friends, EastEnders), SUE HOLDERNESS (Only Fools and Horses), JEFF RAWLE (Drop the Dead Donkey) and WENDI PETERS (Coronation Street) attempt to celebrate Verdi’s birthday in this funny and touching comedy.
The Ustinov Studio will host a major theatrical event when AGNES COLANDER, a newly discovered play by Harley Granville Barker written in 1900, receives its WORLD PREMIERE in Bath. Former Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, TREVOR NUNN, will direct the story of an artist torn between a longing to paint and be an independent woman and a yearning to be loved. This witty and compelling early work was found amongst the writer’s papers in the British Library by the critic Colin Chambers and the US playwright Richard Nelson, who has edited the piece for performance.
The Ustinov Studio’s Artistic Director, Laurence Boswell will be directing THE WHALE, the UK PREMIERE of the Off-Broadway smash hit by Samuel D. Hunter which is about a reclusive six hundred pound man who is eating himself to death and the visitors who try to help him to see a future. This huge-hearted and fiercely funny comedy is the winner of multiple awards Stateside.
Before the two new premieres, the Ustinov Studio will be hosting its Visiting Company Season 2018 with a plethora of drama, comedy and music. Worklight Theatre presents MONSTER, a startling new play about masculinity; Theatre Ad Infinitum returns with the life-affirming theatre piece without words, TRANSLUNAR PARADISE and their reinvention of Homer’s Greek myth, ODYSSEY; Kieran Hurley performs the Fringe First Award winning drama, HEADS UP; New Old Friends present their brand new comedy thriller, CRIMES UNDER THE SUN; THE NORTH! THE NORTH! is a surreal road trip which combines storytelling and animation; CARRY ON JAYWICK is a new verbatim play about the Essex seaside town using the words of its real inhabitants; THE WAR OF THE WORLDS is Pantaloon Theatre Company’s hilarious yet faithful adaptation of the H.G.Wells classic, and Bath Spa University presents Tennessee Williams’s THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA.
LUCY FLEMING (The Archers) and her husband SIMON WILLIAMS (Upstairs, Downstairs, EastEnders) read letters sent between Lucy’s parents, Celia Johnson (who starred in Brief Encounter) and her husband Peter Fleming (brother of the James Bond creator) during the second world war in POSTING LETTERS TO THE MOON; SO MANY REASONS is about the unique influence our mothers have on how we understand the world told from the perspective of a British Ghanaian woman by Heather Agyepong; HOW (NOT) TO LIVE IN SUBURBIA is the hilarious, brutal and poignant description of the life of single mother, artist and proud Londoner, Annie Siddons.
Comedy comes from SHAPPI KHORSANDI in MISTRESS AND MISFIT in which she presents an alternative view of England’s unsung heroine, Emma Hamilton; there’s music from WILL PICKVANCE in PIANOHOOD, in which he combines a rich array of characters, comedy and melody in an exploration of what it is to be a son, a father and a dreamer, and singer/songwriter and guitarist SARAH McQUAID, recently honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award, performs a concert of her magical songs.
In the egg, the Theatre Royal’s much acclaimed theatre for children, young people and their families, coming events include, for the youngest children, THE POLAR BEARS GO UP, a wordless story about two polar bears who are heading into space; THE LITTLE MOCHI MAN uses origami puppets, animation and specially composed music to introduce the wonders of Japan; LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD WOLF is a bold and highly theatrical retelling of the well known classic tale; A TIGER’S TALE incorporates circus skills, puppetry, music and song to tell the story of Fenella, the Holmfirth Tiger; adapted from Mary Norton’s timeless classic, THE BORROWERS tells the story of Arrietty and her family who live below the floorboards, and PENGUINS is an engaging show about friendship and the ever-changing meaning of family.
For children aged from five years, BIG DAY IN: WINTER FUN is a mini-fest of storytelling, creative arts and crazy pop-ups (with free entry to everything except the performances); INGO’S WAR is the heartwarming tale of a dog during the Blitz which uses extraordinary puppetry, and ME AND MY BEE is a comedy about climate change and bees with multi award-winning theatre company This Egg.
For older children, Box Clever present their accessible, exciting and contemporary adaptations of Shakespeare’s ROMEO AND JULIET and MACBETH; AFRAID TO ASK is a piece of devised theatre which marks the inaugural production in the egg’s new partnership with Bath College; AMY CONWAY’S AWESOME WORLD explores what depression is like and what it is like to fight it through video games, and in NATIONAL THEATRE CONNECTIONS the egg hosts a two-week festival of brand new plays commissioned by the National Theatre for performance by young people at which the egg’s resident company, Bath Theatre Academy, will be performing Alice Birch’s [BLANK] (yes, it really is called that!).
OUT OF YOUR MIND is a festival of new writing conceived, written and performed by a company of local adults and children who see the world at different stages, ages and perspectives (the theatre-makers are aged from 5 years). This event is part of the Engage programme of participatory activities for adults, which also includes a workshop with Theatre Ad Infinitum; a ten-week course on the essentials of acting; a weekend course on improvisation and WHERE ARE WE NOW, a new project to create an original piece of vocal theatre exploring the issue of isolation.
Special Events include acclaimed Royal biographer PENNY JUNOR talking about her new study of the Theatre Royal’s Patron, Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, in THE DUCHESS – THE UNTOLD STORY; best-selling author DAMIEN LEWIS returns to tell the explosive true story of the undercover mission SAS GHOST PATROL; DEBORAH CADBURY explores 19th century power struggles and romances in QUEEN VICTORIA’S MATCHMAKING – The Royal Marriages That Shaped Europe; best-selling author PAULA BYRNE will be in conversation with Sir Jonathan Bate as they discuss her novel LOOK TO YOUR WIFE, a contemporary take on Shakespeare’s Othello; and Moonstone Theatre Company returns with two themed comedy lunches, DEATH IN THE FINAL ACT, the investigation of a murder and LUNCH AT CAFÉ RENE, a tribute to the TV comedy ‘Allo,’Allo.
Events organized by the Theatre’s Fundraisers, and open to the general public, include CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT, Bridge Sessions, hosted by champion player, Chris Dixon; two supper clubs at Lucknam Park Hotel and a visit to the Royal Mint.