Constance, an unknown play by Oscar Wilde, premieres at the King's Head Theatre next week (13 September-23 October 2011). Here, the company give us five good reasons to go along...


1. Constance is the world premiere of Oscar Wilde's final play
After his release from prison in 1897, Oscar Wilde immediately began writing a new play, Constance. Wilde sold what he claimed were “exclusive rights” to a number of theatrical agents, publishers, actors and managers, eventually handing over his handwritten manuscript to an American actress, Mrs Cora Brown Potter. On her death in the 1930s the manuscript passed onto the French writer Guillot de Saix, who with a colleague Henri de Briel, put together a French translation.

Henri de Briel was suspected of being a collaborator with the Germans during World War II, and Wilde’s original English manuscript is thought to have been destroyed by members of the resistance movement when they caught up with him. However, a copy of the French translation survived in Guillot de Saix’s possession, and in due course was published in a French literary magazine. Constance was unearthed by Wilde enthusiast and writer, Charles Osborne, many years later. Osborne has translated the play back into English, recreating for the world a genuine, brand new, Oscar Wilde play.

2. Constance holds up a mirror to writers own troubled home life
The play follows Constance, the perfect wife: loyal, faithful, and with excellent family credentials. At the Daventry’s country house, various members of Constance’s extended family, are assembled for an evening of entertainment. An incident between the Reverend’s wife and the industrialist sets in motion a train of events that risk upsetting the moral code of this aristocratic family, driving them from Twickenham to London to the Tyrolean Alps. These chain of events are not dis similar to what happened to Wilde's wife, Constance who was driven from her home by the shame of the scandal that her husband had been imprisoned for.

3. Eclectic cast and crew
From actors straight out of drama school, to actors with decades of experience, international designers, old friends returning to the King's Head Theatre, this show brings together a wide range of experience to create an incredibly talented cast and crew.

4. Brand New Stage Design for the King's Head Theatre revealed
The opening of Constance also coincides with the unveiling of a complete new auditorium at the King's Head Theatre. A new stage construction (supported by The Cameron Mackintosh Foundation) and new seating (donated by The Trafalgar Studios) means Constance is the first chance to experience the transformed space.

5. 36 Performances only
The run is 36 performances only so don't miss this chance to see a historic piece of theatre. This is the only chance you will be able to say I saw an Oscar Wilde world premiere performance.