Theatre News

Star Casting Announced for Bath Theatre Royal's Summer Season

A number of star names have been announced to play in Bath Theatre Royal’s Summer Season.

Alison Steadman will appear in Therese Raquin in Bath this summer.
Alison Steadman will appear in Therese Raquin in Bath this summer.

Casting has been announced for Bath Summer Season 2014. In the main house will be four masterpieces of theatre directed by four of the UK’s leading directors in and an electrifying new comedy in the Ustinov Studio.

Bath’s Summer Season opens with one of the greatest of all American plays, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? starring Clare Higgins and Tim Pigott-Smith, appearing at the Theatre Royal from Wednesday 18th June to Saturday 5th July, directed by Adrian Noble.

Clare Higgins stars as Martha. She is the winner of three Olivier Best Actress Awards for her performances in Sweet Bird of Youth and Vincent in Brixton at the National Theatre and for Hecuba at the Donmar Warehouse. She won the 2003 Theatre World Award for outstanding major Broadway debut. Starring as George, Tim Pigott-Smith returns to Bath direct from huge acclaim for his performance in Mike Bartlett's King Charles III at the Almeida Theatre. His other recent stage work includes Prospero in The Tempest in Bath’s 2012 Summer Season. His many film and television credits include 37 Days, Miranda, Downton Abbey, and The Jewel in the Crown, for which he won the BAFTA for Best Actor. Casting is completed by Iris Roberts (Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, The Tempest) and Nathan Riley.

Adrian Noble was the Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1990 to 2003. In 2012, he directed The Tempest for the Theatre Royal Bath’s Summer Season. His many credits include directing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in the West End and on Broadway. In 2010 he directed Hedda Gabler starring Rosamund Pike for the Theatre Royal Bath.

Alan Bennett’s Kafka’s Dick starring Matthew Kelly and Samantha Spiro, appears from Wednesday 9th July to Saturday 26th July, directed by David Grindley.

Matthew Kelly won an Olivier Award for his starring role in Of Mice and Men. His recent stage work includes Twelfth Night and '''Waiting for Godot. Samantha Spiro is the winner of Olivier Awards for Merrily We Roll Along at the Donmar Warehouse, and Hello, Dolly! at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. She is well known for playing Barbara Windsor in Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick. She won a British Comedy Award for Grandma's House and was also recently seen in BBC's Bad Education. Daniel Weyman, who plays Kafka, played the lead role in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby'' for the Chichester Festival Theatre, which toured to Bath in 2007. The cast also features Elliot Levey and Barry McCarthy.

The season continues with a new production of Emile Zola’s passionate drama Thérèse Raquin starring Alison Steadman, Pippa Nixon and Desmond Barrit. Directed by Jonathan Munby and appearing at the Theatre Royal from Wednesday 30th July to Saturday 16th August, this new version is by Helen Edmundson, whose extensive work with Shared Experience includes War and Peace, Mary Shelley, award-winning adaptations of The Mill on the Floss and Anna Karenina, and Coram Boy for the National Theatre.

Alison Steadman, who plays Madame Raquin, is one of the UK’s best-loved actresses, her recent television roles include Gavin & Stacey and The Syndicate. On stage, she created the role of Beverly in Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party and starred in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, for which she won an Olivier Award. She was last seen in Bath in, Alan Bennett’s Enjoy. Pippa Nixon plays Thérèse. Her many highly acclaimed performances for the RSC include A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It and Hamlet. Desmond Barrit is an Olivier Award-winning actor whose last appearance in Bath was as Falstaff in Peter Hall's Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 in 2011. His many roles for the National Theatre include Alan Bennett's The History Boys and The Habit of Art.

Director Jonathan Munby has worked in theatre extensively in both the UK and the USA. His recent productions include the RSC’s hugely acclaimed Wendy and Peter Pan and Julius Caesar for Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theatre.

The Main House Summer Season concludes with a new production of Noël Coward’s hilarious comedy of bad manners, Hay Fever, reuniting Felicity Kendal
and director Lindsay Posner – after their West End triumph in Alan Ayckbourn’s Relatively Speaking last year. Appearing from Wednesday 20th August to Saturday 6th September, the cast also features Simon Shepherd.

Much loved for her illustrious television and stage career, Felicity Kendal stars as Judith Bliss. One of the UK’s most popular actresses, she has starred in many long-running television series including The Good Life, The Mistress, Rosemary and Thyme, and Strictly Come Dancing 2010. Her many performances in Bath include Fallen Angels,The Vortex, Happy Days, Amy’s View, Mrs Warren’s Profession and Relatively Speaking; all of which played the Theatre Royal prior to the West End. Shepherd stars as David Bliss. His many stage and screen credits include Peak Practice, Chancer, Death in Paradise and the West End productions of The Secret Rapture, Art and Born in the Gardens in Bath’s 2008 Peter Hall Company Season.

Lindsay Posner directs Coward for the first time with this production. His recent West End successes have included Noises Off, Abigail’s Party and Relatively Speaking, all of which toured to Bath.

Also this Summer, after the Ustinov Studio’s 2014 American Season comes another UK premiere from the States when award-winning Michael Longhurst directs Joshua Harmon‘s uproarious comedy, Bad Jews starring Jenna Augen and Ilan Goodman from Thursday 31st July to Saturday 30th August.

A beloved grandfather has died, and a treasured family heirloom with religious significance is up for grabs. But who is most deserving of it? The bossy, overbearing and fanatically religious Daphna; her wealthy cousin Liam, who’s just returned from skiing with his non-Jewish girlfriend, Melody; or Jonah, his brother, who would prefer not to get involved in the fight! A cramped Manhattan apartment becomes the setting for a viciously hilarious brawl over family, faith and legacy as the battle lines are drawn for an almighty showdown the night after the funeral.

Jenna Augen starred in the acclaimed production of Chicken Soup with Barley at the Royal Court Theatre and played the lead in the short film Josephine and the Roach which won awards across the USA, including at the Sundance/Slamdance Film Festival. Ilan Goodman starred in the Ustinov Studio's acclaimed 2013 American Season production of Red Light Winter and appears in Lynn Nottage's multi-award-winning Intimate Apparel which has just opened at the Ustinov.

Michael Longhurst directed Jake Gyllenhaal in his American stage debut in Nick Payne's If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet. His award-winning Royal Court production of Payne's Constellations starring Sally Hawkins and Rafe Spall, transferred to the West End. His production of Adam Brace's Stovepipe featured in the Sunday Times 'Best Theatre of the Decade' list.