The 40th anniversary tour of Willy Russell’s hit play Educating Rita is to recommence performances next month.
Following a hugely successful open-air run at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall in August, the tour (which was closed by the lockdown earlier this year) is set to travel the UK from 28th October, first reopening the Rose Theatre in Kingston-upon-Thames where it plays to 14th November. This will be followed by a run at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn from 17th to 21st November, with more dates and venues promised by producers.
Producer David Pugh said: “Rita herself is a class act. She has always embraced change and so now, with social distancing – if you’ve got a closed theatre, she’ll reopen it – we are delighted we’re reopening the historic Rose Theatre, Kingston.”
The two-hander, directed by Max Roberts, stars Stephen Tompkinson as Frank and Jessica Johnson as Rita, reprising their roles from the Minack and previous tours. Educating Rita features set and costume designs by Patrick Connellan, lighting design by Drummond Orr and sound design by David Flynn.
Originally commissioned by the RSC in 1980, Educating Rita tells the story of married hairdresser Rita, who enrols on an Open University course to expand her horizons, and her encounters with university tutor Frank, a frustrated poet, brilliant academic and dedicated drinker, who is less than enthusiastic about teaching Rita. Julia Walters appeared in the original production, reprising her role in the BAFTA, Golden Globes and Academy Award-winning film opposite Michael Caine.