If you are a Bath resident and appreciate a bit of culture, you may well have enjoyed the odd night out at the city’s famous Theatre Royal. Built in 1805, this picturesque theatre is one of the oldest in Britain, boasting a rich history that dates back to the days when a season in Bath was as important to famous actors as a London billing.
Over the years, the theatre has expanded to include three performance spaces: the main house, where audiences can expect a year-round programme of scintillating drama, opera, comedy, dance and concerts; the Egg Theatre, a space designed for children and their families; and the Ustinov Studio which focuses on nationally-acclaimed UK premieres and drama from visiting companies.
Whether you are yet to experience this beautiful Georgian theatre or are a regular visitor, why not book a ticket for one of the following must-see shows this summer?
Sand in the Sandwiches 11th July – 15th July
Double BAFTA winner Edward Fox takes on the role of the inspirational John Betjeman, one of the best-loved poets of the 20th century. Since Betjeman’s Collected Poems were released in 1958, they have sold over two and a quarter million copies, but the poet laureate was known just as much for his sharp wit and passionate sense of purpose as for his vivacious verses. Sand in the Sandwiches is fresh from a sell-out run at Chichester Festival Theatre and traces a nostalgic story through Betjeman’s youth, providing an entertaining insight into one of Britain’s national treasures.
North by Northwest 21st July – 12th August
Fans of Alfred Hitchcock’s thrilling body of work will be delighted to hear his comedy of suspense, North by Northwest, is taking to the boards in Bath this summer. International star Jonathan Watton plays Roger O. Thornhill, the dapper advertising executive who experiences a case of mistaken identity and is drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. A precursor to the James Bond espionage thriller, with a touch of glamour and lightning-fast wit, North by Northwest is sure to have you, in true Hitchcock style, on the edge of your seat.
The Lady in the Van 17th August – 2nd September
The supremely talented Sara Kestelman takes on the guise of homeless lady, Mary Shepherd, in this classic Alan Bennett play. Based on an eccentric, real-life character who moved her clapped out Bedford van into Bennett’s front garden in Camden and stayed there for fifteen years, Mary Shepherd claimed to be an ex-nun on the run, a trained concert pianist and that the Virgin Mary appeared to her regularly. The Lady in the Van is one of Bennett’s most popular characters – an evening with her will leave you entertained to say the least.
Looking at Lucian 3rd August – 2nd September
Staged at the Ustinov Studio, this captivating fly-on-the-wall drama chronicles the painting of a portrait by Lucian Freud, spread out over ten months in his Kensington Studio. During his 88 years of life, Freud developed a reputation as one of the greatest portrait painters of our time, capturing the likeness of famous faces from The Queen to Kate Moss. Looking at Lucien offers an insight into this exceptionally magnetic, intensely private and fiercely curious character, just as he is about to find out that the deeply personal relationship between artist and model is about to be betrayed…
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 24th August – 27th August
If you’re looking to involve the kids in a spot of theatre, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is set to transform the Egg auditorium into the haunting forest where Ichabod Crane seeks to separate fact from fiction and solve the spine-tingling mystery of the Headless Horseman. This specially-commissioned adaptation has been reworked by writer Miriam Battye and is performed by 40 talented teenagers, bringing Washington Irving’s creepy tale to life. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult for this production.
No matter the time of year, Bath offers a fun-filled calendar, packed with entertainment for a whole range of preferences. Whatever your age, whatever your taste, Bath’s Theatre Royal provides something for everyone.