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The Cambridge Arts Theatre Celebrates 75 Years

It’s the Arts Theatre in Cambridge’s 75th anniversary and the programming just unveiled for the summer and autumn of 2011 has a celebratory feel to it. Touring companies popular with CAT’s regular audiences make return visits and there are also some newcomers.

The Young Vic production of Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane has Rosaleen Linehan and Derbhle Crotty as Mag and Maureen respectively. It plays from 28 June until 2 July. ]Monday 4 July sees a new production of Michel Frayn’s Alarms and Excursions starring Gwyneth Strong and Serena Evans in the eight-play, 24-character comedy; it includes new material specially written for the Ian Fricker tour.

English Touring Theatre brings two contrasted shows to its two separate-week residencies. From 19 to 23 July you can see JB Priestley’s Journey’s End, the story of a North Country family just before the outbreak of the First World War. Then between 20 and 24 September, ETT has a new Roger McGough Molière adaptation – Tartuffe, a logical successor to The Hypochondriac two years ago.

While the Master’s Garden of Corpus Christi College hosts Hamlet from the Globe Theatre on Tour (27 to 31 July), the Arts Theatre entertains The Woman in White in Nicola Boyce’s stage adaptation of the Wilkie Collins mystery for Ian Dickens (25 to 30 July). Autumn itself arrives in some spectacle with the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Eduardo de Filippo’s The Syndicate starring Ian McKellen and Michael Pennington.

Tracie Bennett portrays Judy Garland in the musical End of the Rainbow between 26 September and 1 October. This award-nominated show is touring nationally after a West End season and is followed from 3 to 8 October by the Bill Kenwright production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Season’s Greetings. Robin Herford’s production stars Glynis Barber, Ricky Groves and Denis Lill.

From the Theatre Royal, Bath between 10 and 15 October comes Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George III. David Haig takes the title role. Stephen Daldry’s production of another Priestley classic – An Inspector Calls – for the National Theatre is back in Cambridge from 18 to 22 October. It’s closely followed by another National Theatre offering, this time in conjunction with Headlong.

Earthquakes in London is by Mike Bartlett and directed by Rupert Gould. (Bartlett’s Love Love Love by the way is at the Arts from 1 to 4 June). Nigel Havers leads the cast of Nick Fisher’s Basket Case between 14 and 19 November. It’s a comedy about a divorced couple and an elderly, much-loved family pet. Come mid-November and the pantomime season isn’t that far distant, but in the meantime there are three shows to please younger theatre-goers.

The first of these is Mr Stink (7-12 June), an adaptation of David Walliams’s children’s book. The Jungle Book in the excellent Birmingham Stage Company adaptation of [Kipling} can be experienced from 13 to 17 July. The same company’s Horrible Histories between 25 and 29 October introduce us to some ruthless Romans and awful Egyptians with the aid of the splendid Bogglevision 3-D effects.


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