Centre-piece for the main house is undoubtedly the world premiere of William Golding’s novel The Spire, adapted for the stage by Roger Spottiswoode, and directed by Gareth Machin. Nobel prize-winning Golding lived in Salisbury, and taught at Bishop Wordsworth Grammar School in the Cathedral Close, where he found inspiration for both The Spire (an ‘epic saga’ centred on the creation of the 400 foot spire that towers over Salisbury Cathedral) and his perhaps more famous Lord of the Flies. The Spire plays in the main house 1 to 24 November while Stage ’65 Youth Theatre complement this with a run of Lord of the Flies in the Salberg Studio from 19 to 24 November.
Other highlights include a revival of Richard Harris’ hugely successful Stepping Out (6 September – 6 October). Directed by Adam Penford, associate director of the National Theatre’s smash-hit One Man, Two Guvnors, comes to Salisbury direct from that show’s award winning run on Broadway. This is followed in by the Newbury Watermill Theatre and their joyous musical comedy Radio Times (16 – 20 October). Starring west-end favourites Gary Wilmot and Sara Crowe, the company includes the Watermill’s most gifted actor/musicians.
December means family pantomime and this year’s Sleeping Beauty (5 December – 5 January) promises a traditional story written by Andrew Pollard, original songs, beautiful sets from the Playhouse’s superb creative team, and costumes designed by Keith Orton.
Headlining the Salberg programme is another premiere; this time Olivier Award winning author Simon Stephens’ new play, London, which opens at the Salberg (3 – 20 October) before a full UK tour. This is an exciting collaboration for the Playhouse, working with Paines Plough and Live Theatre, Newcastle, and combines the critically acclaimed Sea Wall and new play T5. Paines Plough were last at the Playhouse with the acclaimed Love, Love, Love which has recently enjoyed a run at London’s Royal Court.
Following the success of Theatre Fest West the Salberg continues to showcase theatre companies from around the south west, and the autumn/winter programme includes; Kneehigh and Little Angel Theatre’s A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (22 – 26 January), Exeter Bikeshed’s Bunnies (5 – 10 November), and Bristol’s Living Spit Productions’ unique production of The Six Wives of Henry VIII (20 – 22 September).
The season also includes Tomfoolery (13 – 15 September), a celebration of the genius of Tom Lehrer, and a busy range of theatre for young people.
This year, for the first time, the Playhouse is introducing a new festive show for younger audiences in the theatre’s Rehearsal Room. Frozen Forest (11 – 22 December) is a collaboration with Salisbury-based theatre company Hoodwink, and is specially created for first-time theatre-goers under the age of 5 years. The little ones will be invited to see, hear and touch a magical sleeping New Forest.
With the Salberg’s alternative Christmas fare, Spread a Little Happiness ( 19 December – 19 January) , boasting a song book from the likes of Novello, Coward, Brcusse and Lloyd Webber, and written and directed by Ben Occhipinti and Playhouse associate director Mark Powell, older patrons are also well catered for.
A full to bursting programme of workshops, talks, tours and themed dining events completes another exciting and exhausting season at this energetic and imaginative venue.
Tickets for the Autumn/Winter season go on sale from Friday 22 June.