Theatre Royal Bath today announces its programme for spring 2018, which will include three new in-house productions. Known for celebrating UK premieres of both new writing and forgotten gems, the Ustinov Studio will present two plays in the spring. Opening the season will be newly discovered comedy Agnes Colander by Harley Granville Barker, directed by Trevor Nunn. This will be followed by the UK premiere of Samuel D.Hunter’s The Whale, directed by Laurence Boswell. Theatre Royal Bath’s main house will see a specially commissioned new thriller, Sherlock Holmes: The Final Curtain by Simon Reade after Arthur Conan Doyle, directed by David Grindley.
Thursday 15 March – Saturday 14 April
Multi award-winning director Trevor Nunn will make his Ustinov Studio debut with the world premiere of Harley Granville Barker’s Agnes Colander, edited by Richard Nelson. This thrilling new discovery from one of the great playwrights of the Edwardian era was written in 1900 and unearthed among Granville Barker’s papers in the British library a century later. Decades ahead of its time, the witty and compelling comedy reflects a female independence and a determination for change that still resonates today.
It is three years since Agnes, an artist, left her unfaithful husband Henry. Now he writes to her in her Kensington studio begging to reunite, but Agnes married young; her innocence gone and her ambition and independence is growing. As she travels from London to France, Agnes finds herself torn between Otho, a worldly Danish artist and Alec, an infatuated younger suitor, between longing to paint and be an independent woman and a yearning to be loved.
Trevor Nunn is former Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. His has won multiple awards for his extensive and varied work which includes Les Miserables, Oklahoma!, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby and The Merchant of Venice / Summerfolk.
Harley Granville Barker is considered to be one of the great playwrights of the Edwardian age and champion of contemporary realism. His work included The Voysey Inheritance and Waste.
Richard Nelson is a multi-award-winning playwright and librettist. He is an honorary associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, recipient of the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the PEN / Laura Pels ‘Master Playwright Award’.
Presented by Theatre Royal Bath Productions, Ben Limberg, Joel Stillerman & Empire Street Productions
Thursday 26 April – Saturday 26 May
Following the success of its off-Broadway run, Samuel D.Hunter’s The Whale will have its UK premiere at the Ustinov, directed by the studio’s Artistic Director Laurence Boswell. First opening in New York in 2012 to a raft of awards, including the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play and Drama Desk Special Award for Significant Contribution to Theatre, the play is the huge-hearted and fiercely funny story of a father’s final chance at salvation, and of finding hope and beauty in the most unexpected places.
Charlie, a reclusive online writing instructor, lives marooned on a couch. Weighing in at six hundred pounds, he is slowly eating himself to death. But redemption may be within reach as he tries to reconnect with his estranged, sharp-tongued daughter. A conveyor belt of visitors – welcome and otherwise – move through his living room, from his friend and nurse Liz, the sister of his deceased boyfriend, to Elder Thomas, a hopeful young missionary and Mary, his ex-wife. Can any of them help him to see a future?
Laurence Boswell is an Olivier Award winner, Artistic Director of the Ustinov Studio and an Associate Artist of the RSC. His recent productions include The Mentor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Theatre Royal’s Main House, and Trouble in Mind, The Mother, Intimate Apparel and The Spanish Golden Age Season in the Ustinov Studio.
Samuel D.Hunter’s playwriting credits include A Bright New Boise (Obie Award, Drama Desk nomination for Best Play), The Few, A Great Wilderness, Rest, Pocatello, Lewiston, Clarkston, and most recently, The Healing and The Harvest.
SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE FINAL CURTAIN
Presented by Theatre Royal Bath Productions & Kenny Wax
Wednesday 25 April – Saturday 5 May
In a new commission by Theatre Royal Bath, Robert Powell and Liza Goddard star in Sherlock Holmes: The Final Curtain. Written by award-winning dramatist Simon Reade after Arthur Conan Doyle and directed by David Grindley, this gripping new thriller sees the infamous, and now retired, detective faced with a new mystery to solve.
All too aware that he’s older and slower, Sherlock Holmes is concerned he might have lost his touch, paranoid that he is an easy target for his enemies. He never truly believed Moriarty – his arch nemesis – died at the Reichenbach Falls. So when Mary Watson tracks him down to tell him she has seen her long-dead son through the window of 221B Baker Street, apparently alive and well, Holmes is determined to solve the mystery and confront his own demons at the same time.
Robert Powell received multiple awards and a BAFTA nomination for his portrayal of Jesus in Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth. His numerous credits include Holby City on television and Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell and King Charles III on stage.
Liza Goddard’s extensive stage credits include Lady Windermere’s Fan, An Ideal Husband and Alan Ayckbourne’s Communicating Doors and Season’s Greetings. Her television work includes cult classics Doctor Who and Bergerac.
Simon Reade was former literary manager for the RSC where work included Midnight’s Children, Tales from Ovid and Epitaph for the Official Secrets Act. He has also written the screenplay for the upcoming film adaptation of Journey’s End.
David Grindley’s most recent stage credits include The Yalta Game, The Heiress, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and The Gigli Concert (all for Gate Theatre, Dublin), Sideways (St James Theatre) and Pygmalion starring Alistair McGowan. His Broadway production of Journey’s End won the Tony Award for Best Revival.
Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose, Bath, BA1 1ET
Box Office: 01225 448844
By Harley Granville Barker
Edited by Richard Nelson
Directed by Trevor Nunn
Dates: Thursday 15 March – Saturday 14 April 2018
Press Night: Wednesday 21 March, 7pm
By Samuel D.Hunter
Directed by Laurence Boswell
Dates: Thursday 26 April – Saturday 26 May 2018
Press Night: Wednesday 2 May, 7pm
Performance schedule: Mon – Sat 7.45pm, Matinees Thu & Sat 2.30pm (not 26 April)
Sherlock Holmes: The Final Curtain
By Simon Reade after Arthur Conan Doyle
Directed by David Grindley
Dates: Wednesday 25 April – Saturday 5 May 2018