The new Spring and Summer programme at The Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond opens with an exciting adaptation of Charles Dicken’s classic novel – Great Expectations – performed by the great-great-grandson of the celebrated author but great things are also expected for the season itself, which includes a glittering array of high quality drama, dance, children’s theatre, comedy, opera and musical evenings.
World-class performers Dame Emma Kirkby, Jacob Heringman and Susanna Pell and the renowned Vienna Festival Ballet make a welcome return to Richmond’s historic stage, as well as Olivier Award-winning OperaUpClose with their hit production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.
“The Georgian Theatre has a unique place in theatre history – being the oldest working theatre in its original form in the UK – and as such attracts artists of great calibre who relish the opportunity of performing at such a distinguished venue,” said Warnock Kerr, the Theatre’s Chief Executive. “We have a sparkling season ahead of us with a huge variety of shows to suit all ages and tastes.”
Starting the season on 31 January is a performance of Great Expectations by Gerald Dickens, the great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens. Also a renowned actor, Gerald has adapted his famous ancestor’s literary masterpiece as a one-man performance – playing every one of the colourful characters himself. This show has already had audiences cheering across the UK with many fantastic reviews.
The February blues will most certainly be banished by OperaUpClose with their uplifting version of Mozart’s joyous The Marriage of Figaro on 7 February. Bursting with great tunes and laugh-out-loud comedy, this inventive performance is directed by Sarah Tipple, who has revived Anthony Minghella’s Madam Butterfly for ENO and delighted audiences with her hilarious Barbershopera productions.
At the end of the month on 27 February, Dame Emma Kirkby – the much celebrated and universally acknowledged queen of the lute song – will be accompanied by lutenist Jacob Heringman and viol player Susanna Pell to present an evening of English lute songs from the Golden Age. This talented trio are widely regarded as the some of the world’s finest performers of this repertoire.
Vienna Festival Ballet is celebrating 35 years of classical ballet performance that has taken them all over the world with a special Anniversary Gala on 9 April. This will feature excerpts from the best-loved Tchaikovsky ballets including Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty.
Yorkshire-born dramatist John Godber, once acknowledged as the third most performed playwright in the UK behind Shakespeare and Alan Ayckbourne, will be directing his smash hit comedy Bouncers on 11 April. This multi-award-winning play tells the tale of one night in a Yorkshire disco in the 1980s in an outrageous parody of Saturday Night Fever and showcases an array of Northern acting talent.
Audiences who have loved Dyad Productions’ previous one-woman shows of Austen’s Women, I, Elizabeth and Female Gothic will be delighted to know that they are back with The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe on 3 April. This stark confessional depicts the Hollywood legend as never seen before – alone in her bedroom in dressing gown and slippers – in real time, up to the very moment of her death.
Music lovers are set for a varied programme of performances with everything from folk to rock. Fresh from the West End is Bob Fox on 6 June who played the role of songman in the smash hit War Horse. Twice nominated as Folk Singer of the Year at the BBC Folk Awards, Bob will perform songs from War Horse with additional material from his own personal repertoire. Other veterans of folk – the ever-popular Churchfitters – will strut their stuff on 22 February. Renowned for their eye-popping range of instruments, audiences can expect to hear a double bass made out of a saucepan and an electric hub-cap, as well as foot-stompingly fast fiddle mixed with infectious funk-rock rhythms. Eric Clapton fans shouldn’t miss Classic Clapton on 26 June. Widely regarded as the world’s No. 1 Clapton tribute band, this is their third visit to The Georgian Theatre Royal and all previous shows were a sell-out. Other musical acts include Roisin Ban with songs from Ireland and beyond (21 June); Muker Silver Band (4 July); The Penhill Poachers (13 June) and A Night of Orbison (17 July).
Shows for children start with Hugless Douglas Live on Stage! on 28 February which tells the story of a loveable young brown bear who wakes up one morning in need of a hug; followed on 25 April by The Adventures of Robin Hood. This swash-buckling adventure is presented by the popular team from Riverbank Productions who promise exciting sword play, fast action, amazing puppetry and catchy sing-along songs. The Cat in the Hat on 2 May is based on the much-loved book by Dr Seuss.
Also featured in the Spring and Summer Programme are popular dramas (Jekyll & Hyde, Waiting for Stanley, Deathtrap, United We Stand, Satin ‘n’ Steel and The Merry Wives of Windsor); comedy (Robin Ince and Morecambe & Wise Rebooted); musicals (The Farndale Townswomen’s Guild Mikado); and much more.
Details of all shows and events are given in the newly published programme brochure, via the website (www.georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk) or by calling the Box Office on 01748 825252.