Ayckbourn’s bittersweet comedy of two couples messing about on the river is directed by Lucy Pitman-Wallace (The Importance of Being Earnest and Relative Values at Salisbury Playhouse) and opens a season of theatre that includes classic English costume drama, traditional family pantomime, new plays and leading visiting companies.
The Playhouse will premiére Tim Luscombe’s new adaptation of Jane Austen’s final novel Persuasion (Thursday 20 October – Saturday 12 November). This classic costume drama takes in rural Somerset, the Cobb at Lyme and the dance halls of Bath in its story of love lost but not forgotten. Kate Saxon directs, following her much-acclaimed production of Far From the Madding Crowd for English Touring Theatre. Design is by Libby Watson who designed the recent production of Guys and Dolls at the Playhouse.
Later in the season the Playhouse teams up with Out of Joint, the Royal Court, Bolton Octagon and Curve Theatre Leicester to co-produce Stella Feehily’s new play Bang Bang Bang (Tuesday 15 – Saturday 26 November). Directed by Out of Joint’s Max Stafford-Clark, this revealing play goes behind the public face of charities, journalists and NGOs, and comes to Salisbury following a four week run at London’s Royal Court.
The new year sees the return of classic Coward to the Main House. Design for Living (Thursday 26 January – Saturday 25 February), Noël Coward’s witty and passionate 1930s comedy, centres on a group of bohemians for whom three is definitely not a crowd. Caroline Leslie (The Herbal Bed, Salisbury) directs this latest production in the Playhouse’s top-notch revivals of classic English drama that has included Private Lives, The Constant Wife and The Winslow Boy.
The Girl in the Yellow Dress (Monday 3 – Saturday 22 October) is the latest contemporary drama in the Salberg Studio. Rising South African playwright Craig Higginson’s gripping and erotically-charged drama was a huge hit at the Edinburgh Festival in 2010. This new production is directed by Tim Roseman, co-Artistic Director of London’s hot new-writing venue Theatre503.
This year’s pantomime is Jack and the Beanstalk (Wednesday 7 December 2011 – Saturday 7 January 2012), written by Mark Clements, and featuring fabulous puppets by the Playhouse’s Associate Company, Stuff and Nonsense. Ben Occhipinti, who has previously directed the Playhouse Stage ’65 Youth Theatre productions of Oliver! and The Wizard of Oz, directs this colourful traditional pantomime for all the family.
Meanwhile, in the Salberg Studio over Christmas, Let’s Misbehave, (Wednesday 14 December – Saturday 14 January) celebrates the songbook of Cole Porter. Director Simon Green returns to stage classic songs such as ‘You’re the Top’, ‘It’s De-Lovely’, ‘Night and Day’, ‘Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye’ and of course, ‘Let’s Misbehave’, all sung by West End performers.
The new season also includes Transport’s funny, moving and highly visual Invisible (Tuesday 17 – Saturday 21 January), directed by former Playhouse Associate Director Douglas Rintoul and, returning by popular demand, Romeo and Juliet: Unzipped (Tuesday 8 – Saturday 12 November), the ideal introduction to Shakespeare’s play for students and theatregoers.
Stage ’65 Youth Theatre discovers a new performance space in the Playhouse’s state of the art Rehearsal Room for Good Night, Sleep Tight (Monday 31 October – Saturday 5 November).
There is also a busy programme of Theatre for Young People (sponsored by the Salisbury Journal) and two special evenings raising funds for the theatre’s House Development Fund - Flanders and Swann – At the Drop of a Hippopotamus on Sunday 30 October, and The London Community Gospel Choir in concert on Sunday 18 December.