Patricia Routledge (pictured) will star as Queen Mary in a new production of Crown Matrimonial, Royce Ryton’s 1972 drama about Edward VIII’s abdication crisis. The revival, directed by David Grindley, commences a seven-week tour from Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre on 4 June 2008 prior to a planned West End transfer this autumn.

Ahead of its opening in Guildford, the production today launches its website, which has been built by - which can also be accessed via the shortened URL is the first show site to join, and be powered via, the new Network of theatre-related web destinations.

Through the Network, producers, theatres and performers can quickly and cost-effectively build a professional web presence – without worrying about data protection, web hosting and other issues – and plug in immediately into Britain’s biggest and best theatre website. Those with existing websites can also join the Network and benefit from’s ever-rising traffic from avid theatregoers, who make nearly 500,000 visits a month to our main website, generating over three million page impressions a month.

Nick Salmon of Act Productions, producer of Crown Matrimonial commented: “With a play, particularly before it comes to the West End, it’s hard to get a good website up quickly and affordably. But this is just what we were able to do through this great scheme. And it’s terrific to be associated with a strong theatre brand like, the website that already does so much to promote all the shows and encourage theatregoing in London and across the country.”

David Dobson, managing director of, added: “The point of the Network is to deliver relevant traffic to more great shows and theatres – and we plan to extend this to appropriate performers’ websites as well. Theatregoers will also benefit by having easy access to lots of great theatre websites through their favourite theatre website,”

For more information on the Network and
other services, click here.

Crown Matrimonial focuses on the crisis that faces the nation when Edward VIII declares his deep love for Wallis Simpson. Unswayed by the prospect of public scandal, family upheaval and even abdication, he’s insistent that he will marry the woman he loves. Set in Marlborough House in 1936 and centring on the domestic life of the Royal Family, the play shows the volatility created between Queen Mary and her son by his love affair.

Although perhaps best known as Hyacinth Bucket from TV’s Keeping Up Appearances, Patricia Routledge is a veteran stage actress, who has regularly appeared in productions for the National and the RSC as well as in the West End. Amongst her most notable credits are A Woman of No Importance and A Lady of Letters, which Alan Bennett wrote for her, and Candide (for which she won an Olivier Award). Most recently, she has appeared in Solid Gold Cadillac in the West End and, on tour, Office Suite and The Best of Friends.

Routledge is joined in the Crown Matrimonial cast by Rufus Wright (as King Edward VIII), Emma Handy, Richard Hansell, Sam Hoare, Darlene Johnson, Laurence Kennedy, Jennifer Oscard, Rebecca Saire, Augustina Seymour and Dominic Cazenove.

Director David Grindley’s many other credits include Pygmalion with Claire Danes on Broadway, the current tour of Blackbird and, in the West End, Abigail’s Party, What the Butler Saw and Journey’s End, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Direction when it transferred to New York. The production is designed by by Jonathan Fensom, with lighting by Jason Taylor and sound by Gregory Clarke.

Following Guildford, Crown Matrimonial visits Bath, Bromley, Richmond, Malvern, Brighton and Manchester. For further information on tour stops, cast and creative details, visit

- by Terri Paddock