The first day of spring is on Saturday and the clocks go forward for British summer time a week later. Meanwhile, in a darkened theatre somewhere near you…

OPENING 17 March. Journey’s End by RC Sherriff is revived at South Hill Park in a co-production with Icarus. This 1928 classic about the First World War has maintained its power over audiences of all ages and is still unfortunately of relevance today. The initial run to 20 March is succeeded by two days at Winchester’s Theatre Royal, on 30 and 31 March.

OPENING 17 March.
Wife After Death by Eric Chappell stars Tom Conti in a comedy about what happens when a television personality suddenly dies, leaving a vacuum in a circle which extends far beyond his immediate family and closest colleagues. It’s at the Theatre Royal, Brighton until 20 March and at the Arts Theatre in Cambridge the following week (22 to 27 March). Miss it in either place and you can catch up at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford between 19 and 24 April. It is rumoured that a West End run beckons.

OPENING 22 March (previewing from 19 March). Hi-De-Hi! at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage. This is a stage version – yes, yet another one! –  of the famous television series from the 1980s with scripts by Jimmy Perry and David Croft produced by Bruce James. The Stevenage run ends on 27 March but it is the start of a national tour which extends through the summer into September, visiting theatres in Basingstoke, Hayes, Lowestoft, Worthing, Dunstable, Peterborough, Hastings,Westcliff, Southsea, Swindon, Croydon and Windsor among others nationwide.

OPENING 23 March (previewing from 18 March). Cider with Rosie has been adapted by Daniel O’Brien from the Laurie Lee memoir and is at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds until 24 March only, though it returns to its home theatre between 5 and 9 May as part of a major national tour, the first such for five years This includes the Corn Exchange in Newbury (29-31 March), the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford (12 to 17 April) and the South Holland Centre in Spalding (14 to 15 May). It’s directed by Abigail Anderson with original music by TJ Holmes.

OPENING 23 March. The Ministry of Fear by Graham Green is at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford until 27 March in a co-production between Exeter’s Theatre Alibi, the Northcott Theatre and the Oxford Playhouse. Green’s chiller has been adapted by Daniel Jamieson and is directed by Nikki Sved. It can also be savoured at the new Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich between 7 and 10 April and at Winchester’s Theatre Royal from 27 April until 1 May.

OPENING 23 March. The Glass Menagerie was Tennessee Williams’ first international success in the late 1940s and is partly autobiographical. This new production by Polly Teale from Shared Experience and the Salisbury Playhouse stars Imogen Stubbs as Amanda. It is at the Palace Theatre, Watford until 27 March and also can be seen at the Arts Theatre, Cambridge from 13 to 17 April.

OPENING 27 March. The Gruffalo is on the road once more. This story of a mouse who keeps potential predators at bay with evoking a great hairy monster is, of course, based on the award-winning picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.  Tall Stories’ production is at the Theatre Royal, Winchester until 28 March, the Alan Arena in St Albans on 30 and 31 March, at the  Civic Theatre in Chelmsford from 6 to 8 May, then at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds (21 to 23 May), the Rhodes Centre, Bishop’s Stortford (3 to 4 June) and at the Haymarket Theatre in Basingstoke on 11 and 12 June.

OPENING 30 March
(previewing from 25 March). Alice in Wonderland in a new in-house production at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton has been adapted by Russ Tunney (who also directs the show) from Lewis Carroll’s classic story. Matt Baker has composed the score and Alice’s adventures take her, when the Southampton run ends on 3 April) to Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (6-10 April) and to the Haymarket Theatre in Basingstoke (13 to 17 April).

OPENING 30 March. Men of the World is the new play by John Godber for the Hull Truck Theatre Company. It was briefly at the Civic Theatre, Chelmsford in February but is now at the Arts Theatre, Cambridge until 3 May. Then this story of long-distance coach drivers and the pensioners who they ferry around Europe on holiday takes the motorway to Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park Theatre for 13 to 17 April, to South Hill Park from 28 April until 1 May and parks at the Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells from 13 to 15 May.

OPENING 31 March.
The Black Veil is one of Charles Dickens’ adventures into the macabre. The short story has been adapted by John Goodrum and this Bruce James production stars James Alexandrou. Its other performances at the Key Theatre in Peterborough are on 1 and 3 April (no performance on Good Friday) and then it wafts down to the Haymarket Theatre in Basingstoke between 6 and 10 April and up to the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft for 13 and 14 April.