This Autumn, Primavera, in association with Jermyn Street Theatre, stages the first ever revival of Terence Rattigan’s debut work, First Episode.
First Episode is the story of a movie star’s appearance in a student play and is inspired by events from Rattigan’s own time in 1930s Oxford. Set in the university at that time, the story charts the relationship of best friends Tony and David when Tony becomes besotted with the beautiful star Margot Gresham and a triangle of rival affections is created.
Both touching and uproariously funny, First Episode is one of the earliest plays to deal explicitly with homosexuality, and for lovers of Rattigan’s work it marks the start of Rattigan’s glittering career.
Written with fellow undergraduate, Philip Heiman and originally staged at a small experimental theatre in Kew in 1933, First Episode transferred to the West End and then to Broadway in 1934. Rattigan was twenty-two years old.
Terence Rattigan was born in 1911. After the success of First Episode, he went on to become one of the foremost playwrights and screenwriters of the 20th century, with work including Flare Path, The Browning Version, The Deep Blue Sea, French Without Tears, Separate Tables, The Winslow Boy, Cause Celebre, and After the Dance. Many of his plays have been revived to great acclaim in recent years at the National Theatre, Old Vic, and in the West End. He was knighted in 1971 and died in 1977.
Tom Littler’s past award-nominated productions at Jermyn Street Theatre include The Living Room, Bloody Poetry, Anyone Can Whistle and Saturday Night. His last London production was Martine (Finborough Theatre), nominated for seven Off-West End Awards.
Primavera has received numerous Critics’ Choice awards and Off-West End nominations, including Best Production, Best Director, Best New Play, Best Actor and Best Actress multiple times, Best Set, Best Costume, Best Lighting, and Best Sound. It has worked with actors including Caroline Blakiston, Sorcha Cusack, Rosalie Craig, the late Richard Griffiths, Harry Hadden-Paton, Susannah Harker, Anthony Howell, Tuppence Middleton, Stephen Moore, Christopher Timothy, David Warner, Honeysuckle Weeks and Marjorie Yates. Past productions include The Living Room by Graham Greene, starring Christopher Timothy and Tuppence Middleton (Jermyn Street Theatre), Bloody Poetry by Howard Brenton (Jermyn Street Theatre), Antigone by Sophocles / Timberlake Wertenbaker (Southwark Playhouse), Saturday Night by Stephen Sondheim, starring Helena Blackman (Jermyn Street Theatre / Arts Theatre, West End), Anyone Can Whistle by Stephen Sondheim, starring Rosalie Craig and Issy van Randwyck (Jermyn Street Theatre), Jingo by Charles Wood, starring Susannah Harker and Anthony Howell (Finborough Theatre).
This year Jermyn Street Theatre celebrates its twentieth anniversary. The autumn season is a celebration of British work of the 1930s and also includes the current revival of John Van Drutten’s Flowers of The Forest starring Sophie Ward and the first production in sixty years of Mordaunt Shairp’s controversial 1930s allusion to homosexuality – The Green Bay Tree. The season builds on the theatre’s other recent successes which include Maltby & Shire’s Closer Than Ever, Arthur Wing Pinero’s The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith, an acclaimed season of South African work and the recent production of William Inge’s Natural Affection.
Primavera in association with Jermyn Street Theatre presents:
FIRST EPISODE by Terence Rattigan
(co-authored with Philip Heimann)
Director Tom Littler
28 October to 22 November 2014
Jermyn Street Theatre
Tuesday to Saturday 7.30pm, Saturday/Sunday matinees 3.30pm
Tickets: £22.00, £18.00 concessions.
Earlybird offer all tickets £17.00 if booked before 6th October
Box office: 0207 287 2875
Monday 22nd September 2014