2010 isn’t very far away, and the Theatre Royal at Bury St Edmunds has announced its plans for the spring season. These include in-house productions as well as a varied programme of outside productions, including those from companies which have already established a strong working relationship with the theatre and its audiences.

The new season begins with the world première of Out of Joint’s latest production. Andersen’s English is a new play by Sebastian Barry and concerns a meeting between Charles Dickens and Hans Christian Andersen. It’s directed by Max Stafford-Clark. Also of interest is a new production for children by the excellent Teatro Kismet; this is The Mermaid Princess. Middle Ground offer Billy Liar and Hancock’s Finest Hour is a Maverick Theatre presentation.

Restoring the Repertoire – the Theatre Royal’s initiative to bring back to stage life less familiar plays from the Georgian and Victorian repertoire – will give modern audiences the chance to see 18th century versions of Shakespeare. These rehearsed readings will be presented in association with Shakespeare’s Globe’s Read Not Dead project. There’s The Jew of Venice in the George Granville version, Nahum Tate’s notorious re-working of King Lear, with a happy ending and John Poole’s “travestie” of Hamlet.

One of 2009’s great successes was Abigail Anderson’s production of Twelfth Night. For 2010 she is directing The Merchant of Venice, which should prove an interesting contrast with the Granville variation. For the Theatre Royal’s annual national touring production, she will direct a new adaptation of Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie; ten theatres across the country will play host to the production after a short Theatre Royal season.