Outside the national major subsidised theatres, such as the RSC and National, repertory seasons are nowadays thin on the ground. Watford's Palace Theatre, under its forward-thinking artistic director Brigid Larmour, however has announced the premieres of three plays under the title of Ideal World Season. It runs between 19 September and 19 October with opportunities to see all three plays in one day.
Gary Owen, whose Mrs Reynolds and the Ruffian and Equally Divided were both first staged by Larmour at the Palace, has written Perfect Match, about a couple whose decision to marry formally after nine years of unwedded bliss is affected when Anna makes the acquaintance of a new online dating agency.
Virgin by E V Crowe is directed by Joe Murphy in association with the Palace's associate company nabokov and tells the story of the effect of the internet on two generations of women. Stacey Gregg is a creative associate of the theatre and her Override examines a potential revolt from the magic of modern technology.
The season is preceded by a HighTide and Sheffield Theatres production of Jack Thorne's Stuart: A Life Backwards directed by Mark Rosenblatt. This runs from 28 to 31 August and is followed by Maueen Lipman – whose professional career actually began at the Palace Theatre – in Daytona by Oliver Cotton. It's about two ballroom-dancing fanatics whose perfect partnership is thrown of-course when someone from their past arrives. You can see David Grindley' production between 9 and 14 September.
Hertfordshire County Youth Theatre has earned itself plaudits in the past. Betwen 31 October and 2 November it stages David Wood's adaptation of Roald Dahl's Fantasic Mr Fox, directed by James Williams. Another major touring production arrives from 19 to 23 November in the shape of Stephen Unwin's new version of Ibsen's Ghosts for English Touring Theatre and the Rose Theatre, Kingston.
Pantomime has always been one of the Palace theatre's in-house specialities. This year it's the turn of Robin Hood who takes to the greenwood after that villainous Nottingham sheriff decides to abolish Christmas. The script is by Andrew Pollard, the designer is Cleo Petitt and the director Larmour. Performances run between 6 and 28 December.