Two plays by Alan Bennett and a new political satire set in Brexit Britain based on a Dario Fo classic will be part of the line-up at York Theatre Royal for autumn and winter.
Matthew Kelly and David Yelland star in Bennett’s The Habit of Art from 30 August to 8 September, the first revival since the play was first seen at London’s National Theatre. It focuses on a meeting between the poet WH Auden and the composer Benjamin Britten. Philip Franks directs this York Theatre Royal and Original Theatre Company co-production that will go on a UK tour until December.
Stephen Daldry’s multi-award-winning production of JB Priestley’s classic An Inspector Calls returns to York Theatre Royal where Daldry first directed this fresh take on the play nearly 30 years ago before it went to London’s National Theatre. Running from 14 to 22 September, it marks the start of a new tour that will take the production across the UK and the US.
A new adaption of Dario Fo’s 1974 classic Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! transposes the political satire on civil disobedience to Brexit Britain, running from 5 to 13 October in York ahead of a UK tour running to December. Written by Deborah McAndrew, They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay! is co-produced by York Theatre Royal with leading Yorkshire-based theatre company Northern Broadsides after the success of their collaboration on JB Priestley’s When We Are Married.
York Theatre Royal and Tutti Frutti, a leading producer of children’s theatre, present an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen from 27 September to 13 October as part of a tour. Ivan Stott returns to Tutti Frutti to create memorable music and songs in this show written by Mike Kenny and directed by Wendy Harris.
Gecko Theatre Company brings its acclaimed show Missing to York Theatre Royal from 17 to 20 October as part of a UK tour. Amit Lahav’s production invites the audience to experience a series of extraordinary images, jaw-dropping choreography and a tantalising multilingual vocal landscape.
York Opera stages one of the world’s most famous operas Carmen from 23 to 27 October, sung in English and supported by a full orchestra. Sharon Watson’s new dance work for Phoenix Dance Theatre, Windrush: Movement of the People, on 1 and 2 November celebrates the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the SS Windrush bringing the first large numbers of Caribbean migrants to the UK. Phoenix is also bringing its shows Maybe Yes, Maybe No and a revival of Shadows by Christopher Bruce.
The Lakes Season brings to York five productions from Theatre by the Lake in Keswick. York Theatre Royal associate director Juliet Forster directs a revival of Jessica Swale’s adaption of Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility from 6 to 10 November. Swale was also responsible for adapting York Theatre Royal’s summer show The Secret Garden which returns, directed by Liz Stevenson, from 27 July to 25 August, 2018.
Also from the Lakes comes a revival of Jeeves & Wooster In Perfect Nonsense on 16 and 17 November by the Goodale Brothers, based on the works of PG Wodehouse, with three actors playing a multitude of characters.
The final Main House Lakes production is Alan Bennett’s Olivier Award-winning comedy Single Spies which explores the world of spies Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt with a little help from the Queen. It will be on 13 and 14 November.
Two more shows in The Lakes Season feature in the theatre’s Studio. Rails on 16 and 17 November is Simon Longman’s funny, poignant and emotionally arresting new play that was shortlisted for the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. Bold Girls on 13 and 14 November is set in 1991 West Belfast where the revelations of a mysterious young woman upset the lives of three friends.
London Classic Theatre brings its UK tour of Charlotte Keatley’s modern classic My Mother Said I Never Should to York from 20 to 24 November. The play earned Keatley the George Devine Award as well as the Manchester Evening News Award for best new play, going on to become the most commonly performed work by a female playwright worldwide. She examines the lives of four women through the immense social changes of the 20th century, focusing on four generations of one family as they confront the most significant moments of their lives.
Ballet Black Double Bill on 27 November features The Suit, choreographed and directed by Cathy Marston and inspired by Can Themba’s South African fable The Suit. The bill also features A Dream Within A Midsummer Nights Dream, choreographed and directed by Arthur Pita which mixes the classical and contemporary to distil the essence of Shakespeare’s comedy. The eclectic soundtrack includes Eartha Kitt, Barbra Streisand and Yma Sumac.
Elizabeth Mansfield, seen as Edith Piaf in the most recent Theatre Royal season, returns as “the greatest music hall artist of all time” in Marie: The Story of Marie Lloyd on 28 November. Proceeds from the fundraising performance will contribute to the theatre’s ongoing work with people in the community.
An Evening of Eric & Ernie at Christmas on 1 December is a brilliant homage to Morecambe & Wise and their legendary Christmas specials, filled with their famous comedy sketches. The touring show is devised and performed by Jonty Stephens and Ian Ashpitel who were nominated for an Olivier Award for their original show, Eric & Little Ern.
The Theatre Royal’s first Studio Christmas show for younger audiences Book of Dragons last year will be followed by The Elves and the Shoemakers from 11 December to 5 January, a version of the Grimm fairy tale by Mike Kenny and directed by Juliet Forster.
The theatre’s pantomime will run from 13 December to 2 February, featuring Berwick Kaler who celebrates 40 years as York’s Dame.
The programme in the Studio features a wide range of visiting companies including New Nigerians from 17 to 20 October, Oladipo Agbouuaje’s sparkling satire that has enjoyed a sold-out run at London’s Arcola Theatre.
The Studio season also presents Studio Discoveries from 20 to 24 November – a week of exciting, new theatre curated by Visionari, a group of disparate theatre-lovers from all over York, with the brief to reflect and engage the diverse community.
Looking forward to 2019, director Emma Rice’s new company Wise Children brings Angela Carter’s classic novel Wise Children to York from London’s Old Vic from 5 to 16 March. This big, bawdy tangle of theatrical joy and heartbreak is a celebration of showbusiness, family, forgiveness and hope. Expect showgirls and Shakespeare, sex and scandal, music, mischief and mistaken identity – and butterflies by the thousand.
Before that the penguins are coming to York in Madagascar: A Musical Adventure from 26 February to 2 March, featuring all the favourites from the Dreamworks animated movie including Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria.