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2015 Summer Season at Theatre Royal Bath

The Theatre Royal Bath is delighted to announce its 2015 Summer Season, 1st July – 5th September, comprising three productions and starring Anita Dobson, Stephanie Cole and Janie Dee.

The season begins on 1st July with Oliver Goldsmith’s SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER, continues with TALKING HEADS by Alan Bennett and concludes with the World Premiere of the new musical MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS, with book and direction by Terry Johnson.

SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER by Oliver Goldsmith
Wednesday 1st July – Saturday 18th July
Directed by Lindsay Posner

She Stoops to ConquerPopular actress Anita Dobson will play Mrs Hardcastle in Oliver Goldsmith’s 1773 classic play, a delightfully warm and witty romp filled with a sweep of brilliant comic characters, hilarious misunderstandings, mischief and mayhem.

Charles Marlow has a problem. In front of servant girls he can flirt and frolic effortlessly – but in front of genteel ladies he can barely string two words together. When he and his friend Hastings are duped into believing the Hardcastle’s ancestral home is an inn, Marlow is delighted to find the serving wench so attentive. Little does he know that the girl is actually Kate Hardcastle, the squire’s daughter whom he seeks in marriage, who has put on servant’s dress to turn him into a fool. Meanwhile, Squire Hardcastle is mistaken for the eccentric landlord and social-climber Mrs Hardcastle makes herself look ludicrous attempting to impress the fashionable guests.

Anita Dobson is best known and loved for playing Angie Watts in ‘EastEnders’. Her stage roles have included Gertrude in Hamlet, Bette Davis in Bette and Joan, Mistress Quickly in The Merry Wives of Windsor for the RSC and Jocasta in Steven Berkoff’s Oedipus. Anita has also appeared in the West End productions of Calendar Girls and Thoroughly Modern Millie. This spring she will star in ‘Armada’ on BBC Two, a documentary series about Queen Elizabeth I.

Lindsay Posner is one of the UK’s greatest directors of comedy. His production of Hay Fever starring Felicity Kendal, which he directed for the 2014 summer season at Bath, is about to transfer to the Duke of York’s. Other recent successes include Speed The Plow, Noises Off, Abigail’s Party and Relatively Speaking.

TALKING HEADS by Alan Bennett
Wednesday 22nd July – Saturday 8th August
Directed by Sarah Esdaile

Talking HeadsTalking Heads is a stage adaptation of the award-winning, and ground-breaking, set of TV monologues of the same name which sealed Alan Bennett’s reputation as the master of observation. Stephanie Cole starred in the first series in 1988 along with actors including Patricia Routledge, Julie Walters and featuring Bennett himself; now she revisits the monologues on stage for the first time. All darkly comic, poignant and uplifting, Talking Heads is widely regarded as a modern classic. This is a rare opportunity to see three of the original monologues on stage:

A Cream Cracker under the Settee
Stephanie Cole stars as 75 year-old widow Doris, obsessive about tidiness and maintaining her independence. Prostate on the floor after a fall, she spies a cream cracker under the settee, which she determines to use as evidence against her incompetent home help. The original production was nominated for three BAFTA awards with Dame Thora Hird winning for Best Actress in 1989.

A Chip in the Sugar
Graham Whittaker is a devoted son whose life begins to unravel when he discovers his aging mother has taken up with an old flame. Alan Bennett himself played Graham in the original production in 1988.

A Lady of Letters
The acerbic Miss Ruddock watches the world from behind her curtains and constantly dashes off letters expressing her ill-informed opinions, one of which pushes her to the brink with unexpected but liberating consequences.

Stephanie Cole is one of the UK’s best-loved actresses, the winner of the Best TV Actress at the 1992 British Comedy Awards for ‘Waiting for God’ and the Best Comedy Performance at the 2012 British Soap Awards for ‘Coronation Street’. Her most recent TV credits include ‘Doc Martin’ and ‘Still Open All Hours’. Her numerous stage roles include A Passionate Woman and The Rivals.

Multi award-winning writer Alan Bennett is one of the UK’s best-loved playwrights. His work includes The Madness of George III, The History Boys, Enjoy and The Habit of Art. A film adaptation of The Lady in the Van is released later this year starring Dame Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings.

An Associate Director at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Sarah Esdaile has previously directed Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van, Single Spies and Kafka’s Dick. She will direct David Wood’s new adaptation of The BFG at the Octagon Theatre later this year.

Saturday 15th August – Saturday 5th September
Directed by Lindsay Posner
Book and Direction by Terry Johnson
Lyrics by Don Black
Music by George Fenton and Simon Chamberlain
Based on the motion picture original screenplay by Martin Sherman produced by Heyman Hoskins and Pathé

Mrs Henderson PresentsFor the show to go on, the clothes must come off!
Janie Dee will star in the world premiere of Mrs Henderson Presents, the brand new musical based on the film starring Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins, prior to the West End.

It’s London, 1937, and recently-widowed eccentric, Laura Henderson, is looking for a way of spending her time and money when her attention falls on a run-down former cinema in Great Windmill Street. Hiring feisty impresario Vivian Van Damm to look after the newly renovated Windmill Theatre, the improbable duo present a bill of non-stop variety acts. But as war looms something more is required to boost morale and box office… When Mrs Henderson comes up with the idea of The Windmill Girls – glamorous young women posing as nude statues – audiences flock.

And as the Blitz hits London, The Windmill provides a refuge for all, boasting the spirit-raising slogan “We Never Close”.

Janie Dee won an Olivier Award for Carousel (National Theatre), and Olivier, Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Alan Ayckbourn’s Comic Potential. She won the TMA UK Theatre Award 2013 for Best Performance in a Musical in Hello, Dolly! (Curve, Leicester). Most recently Janie starred alongside Dame Angela Lansbury in the West End revival of Blithe Spirit (Gielgud), as Desiree Armfeldt in the 40th anniversary concert performance of A Little Night Music (Palace) and in 84 Charing Cross Road (Salisbury Playhouse).

Terry Johnson’s many West End productions as director and/or writer include One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Hitchcock Blonde, Entertaining Mr Sloane, The Graduate, Dead Funny, Hysteria, Elton John’s Glasses and The Memory of Water. He won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical for La Cage aux Folles. His most recent credits include The Duck House (UK tour and West End) and Oh What A Lovely War (Theatre Royal, Stratford East).

Don Black’s stage musicals include Billy, Tell Me on a Sunday, Aspects of Love and Stephen Ward; receiving two Tony Awards for Sunset Boulevard. Film lyrics include ‘Diamonds are Forever’, ‘Born Free’ and ‘The Italian Job’. Among his many popular hit songs are Michael Jackson’s ‘Ben’ and Lulu’s ‘To Sir With Love’, both of which were U.S. number one hits.

George Fenton has composed numerous film scores including for the original film of ‘Mrs Henderson Presents’, ‘Gandhi’, ‘Cry Freedom’, ‘Dangerous Liaisons’, ‘The Wind that Shakes the Barley’ and ‘Memphis Belle’; and music for television series including ‘The Jewel in the Crown’, ‘The Blue Planet’ and ‘Planet Earth’.

Simon Chamberlain was the original Music Director on the film ‘Mrs Henderson Presents’.

The cast also includes Sarah Bakker, Katie Bernstein, Rhiannan Chesterman, Lizzy Connolly, Victoria Hay, Samuel Holmes, Lauren Hood, Matthew Malthouse and Emma Williams.

Venue: Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose, Bath BA1 1ET
Times:Monday – Saturday, 7.30pm (8th, 24th July and 28th August, 7pm)
Thursday & Saturday, 2.30pm matinees (No matinees 2nd, 23rd July or 15th August)
Box Office: 01225 448844 / theatreroyal.org.uk
Tickets: £17.50 – £38

Wednesday 1st July – Saturday 18th July
Monday – Saturday, 7.30pm; matinees Thursday & Saturday, 2.30pm (No matinee 2nd July)

Wednesday 22nd July – Saturday 8th August
Monday – Saturday, 7.30pm; matinees Thursday & Saturday, 2.30pm (No matinee 23rd July)

Saturday 15th August – Saturday 5th September
Monday – Saturday, 7.30pm; matinees Thursday & Saturday, 2.30pm (No matinee 15th August)

Friday 6th March 2015


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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