Mousetrap Breaks Tradition for Christie FestivalDate: 20 February 2001
Agatha Christie’s record-breaking The Mousetrap has never been seen outside its home in the West End, where it’s now in its 49th year – but that’s about to change. This summer, the whodunit can be seen, not just at its regular St Martin’s Theatre in London, but also at the Palace Theatre in Westcliff, Essex, as part of a unique festival celebrating the crime writer’s work.
The first ever Agatha Christie Theatre Festival, running from 8 May to 28 July 2001, commemorates the 25th anniversary of Christie’s death. Over its twelve-week season, all 23 of her stage, radio and television plays will be performed including, by special arrangement, her most famous, The Mousetrap (1952). The festival will also include lectures, seminars and a revue based on the author’s life.
Born in Ashfield on 15 September 1890, Agatha Christie completed her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in 1916 but it did not find a publisher until four years later. After this somewhat slow start, she enjoyed international success, writing a book a year and many performance pieces. By the time of her death in 1976, she had written 68 mystery novels, more than 100 short stories, 23 plays, three books of poetry, six romance novels (under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott) and two autobiographies.
The festival will mark the first time that all of Christie’s plays will be presented as a complete season. The plays often differ from the novels and films that have become well known; in some cases, even the major characters are different. Amongst other highlights, the festival programme will feature the 50th anniversary production of The Hollow (1951) as well as rarely performed works such as “Mary Westmacott’s” A Daughter’s A Daughter (1956). Other Christie favourites performed will include And Then There Were None (1943), Witness for the Prosecution (1953) and Murder on the Nile (1946), adapted from her famous novel Death on the Nile.
Westcliff-on-Sea is situated approximately one hour’s train journey from London. For further information on the Agatha Christie Theatre Festival, contact the Palace Theatre box office on +44-1702-342564.
- by Terri Paddock