Alan Plater's latest play, Only a Matter of Time, premieres tonight, 13 February 2002, at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire, where it continues until 23 March 2002. A regional tour is planned for later in the year.

Directed by Watermill's artistic director John Doyle, the comedy is produced in association with the Theatre of Comedy, a unique production company run on a co-op basis by a collective of leading stage actors, directors and writers, including Plater.

Only a Matter of Time involves a railway official arriving in Wales to prepare the locals for the arrival of train lines. The play unravels 180 years of consequences - and, presumably, transport hassles - following that first meeting between an Englishman and a Welshman in a field.

Plater's award-winning television plays include Fortunes of War, A Very British Coup, The Beiderbecke Trilogy, The Barchester Chronicles and Keep the Aspidistra Flying. His prolific stage work include Close the Coalhouse Door, Sweet Sorrow, Shooting the Legend, All Credit to the Lads and I Thought I Heard a Rustling. He was most recently represented in the West End by the 1999/2000 production of Peggy for You, the homage to the late and legendary literary agent Peggy Ramsay, played by Maureen Lipman.

Following Only a Matter of Time, the Watermill spring 2002 season continues with a brief visit for I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls and then a major revival of the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof, also directed by Doyle, whose reinvention of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers transferred to the West End after winning the 2001 Barclays TMA Award for Best Musical.

The Watermill's Fiddler on the Roof is based on Harold Prince's New York stage production which was directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins. The revival is designed by Mark Bailey, with lighting by Richard G Jones and musical direction by Sarah Travis. It plays in Newbury from 10 April to 1 June 2002.

- by Terri Paddock