"Royal" Re-Opening for the EverymanDate: 14 September 2011
With just a couple of weeks until curtain up on the newly restored Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, the finishing touches are being added to the building's £3 million refurbishment, before the doors re-open to the public.
The first full production to run in the main house will have a royal presence - in the form of King George III.
Alan Bennett's acclaimed play about George III's well documented illness has been a huge hit with critics and audiences alike and was made into a successful film starring Nigel Hawthorne and Helen Mirren. This production stars David Haig, famous for his roles in Four Weddings and a Funeral and The Thin Blue Line.
George III's behaviour had always been odd. When rumours abound that he has addressed an oak tree as the King of Prussia, a collection of doctors is called. The King is subjected to the appalling medical treatment of the day, bound and gagged and strapped into a chair for hours, his bodily functions subjected to the most intense scrutiny.
The King distracted, a power struggle ensues between the opposition party, the Whigs, the Prince of Wales and Pitt, the Prime Minister, eventually resolved when George regains his wits and his authority. Throughout his distressing ordeal, the King remains both a fascinating and profoundly moving figure.
This is an epic production, with a huge cast, combining drama, politics and humour into a vivid theatrical portrait of English history, and is perfectly apt to re-open the restored theatre, since King George III is known to have visited Cheltenham in 1788 and attended the former theatre here during his visit.