In NewsBath

Theatre Royal Bath’s programme through to May 2022 is now on sale, with a wealth of dramas, comedies, thrillers, musicals, dance and pantomime set to appear, featuring award-winning actors and famous personalities including Patricia Hodge, Nigel Havers, Giles Terera, David Suchet, Siân Phillips, Dani Harmer, Jon Monie, Nigel Harman, Danny John-Jules, Griff Rhys Jones, Janie Dee, Mathew Horne, Keith Allen, Barry Humphries, Penelope Keith, Judy Flynn, Sara Crowe, Abigail Thaw, James Dyson and Alan Titchmarsh.

Dame Siân Phillips visits the Ustinov Studio this autumn in Footfalls and Rockaby, two of Samuel Beckett’s rarely performed gems. The multi award-winning actress stars with Charlotte Emmerson in this pair of miniature masterpieces which explore Beckett’s obsessions with age, memory and the passing of time (24 November – 4 December).

On the Main House stage, national treasure Barry Humphries will appear in his new show The Man Behind The Mask, taking audiences on a revelatory trip through his colourful life and theatrical career. The man behind Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson promises an intimate, confessional evening, seasoned with highly personal, sometimes startling, and occasionally outrageous stories (17 & 18 April).

Two new musical productions have been announced for the Spring Season. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is the Broadway and West End hit which tells the inspiring story of the remarkable rise to stardom of one of the most prolific and successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, Carole King wrote the soundtrack to a generation, with countless classics such as You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman, Take Good Care Of My Baby, You’ve Got A Friend, It Might As Well Rain Until September, Up On The Roof and Locomotion (17 – 26 March). In May, Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society return to the Main House for the first time in over two years with the fabulous golden age musical, Crazy For You. The ebullient romantic comedy packed with cowboys, showgirls and high energy production numbers features some of George and Ira Gershwin’s most famous numbers, including I Got Rhythm, They Can’t Take That Away From Me, Embraceable You, Nice Work If You Can Get It and Someone To Watch Over Me (3 – 7 May).

As previously announced, the international smash hit Blood Brothers makes a welcome return to Bath in March. Written by award-winning playwright Willy Russell (Educating Rita, Shirley Valentine), this iconic musical has triumphed across the globe, scooping up no fewer than four awards for Best Musical in London and receiving seven Tony Award nominations on Broadway.  The legendary Blood Brothers tells the captivating and moving tale of twins who, separated at birth, grow up on opposite sides of the tracks, only to meet again with fateful consequences. The superb score includes Bright New Day, Marilyn Monroe and the emotionally charged hit Tell Me It’s Not True (8 – 12 March).

Casting has been announced for a stage version of one of the most popular movies and novels of recent years. EastEnders’ Nigel Harman and family favourite Danny John-Jules (Red Dwarf, Death in Paradise) star in the world premiere stage adaptation of Dan Brown’s worldwide best-seller The Da Vinci Code, the international phenomenon that captivated readers across the world (31 January – 5 February). Also coming to Bath this spring is the UK tour of James Dearden’s intoxicating new staging of Fatal Attraction, a tale of seduction and suspense made famous by the 1987 film, which became one of the biggest cinematic hits of the Eighties and one of the most talked about movies of all time (8 – 12 February).     

One of the country’s best-loved actresses, Dame Penelope Keith is set to perform at the Theatre Royal for the first time in a decade when she stars in Stephen Wyatt’s bitter-sweet comedy Two Cigarettes in the Dark. Directed by Alan Strachan, this brand new play sees Penelope Keith return to the stage to star as Isabel, a bright, witty, fiercely independent woman preparing to get her house in order (19 – 23 April). Star of BBC’s Gavin & Stacey Mathew Horne (Death in Paradise, Bad Education) and versatile actor, comedian and musician Keith Allen (The Pembrokeshire Murders, Pinter 3 in the West End, Shallow Grave, The Comic Strip Presents…) lead the cast in a brand-new production of Harold Pinter’s masterpiece The Homecoming, the bleakly funny exploration of family and relationships which won four Tony Awards on Broadway in 1967, including Best Play, and has since become a modern classic (30 March – 9 April).

Bringing sunshine and laughter to Bath in the New Year is the sensational Morecambe and Wise tribute The Play What I Wrote (11 – 22 January) with a mystery guest star at every performance. Opening in Bath in February, a new production of An Hour And A Half Late sees Olivier Award winners Griff Rhys Jones and Janie Dee star in a devastatingly funny comedy drama about a couple who seemingly have everything, until a bombshell is dropped ahead of an important evening out which leads to an outpouring of home truths (16 – 26 February).

Two classic dramas return to the Bath stage next year, as you’ve never seen them before… a brilliantly farcical new version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary thriller The Hound of the Baskervilles (25 – 29 January), and Robert Icke’s dynamic, contemporary stage adaptation of perhaps the 20th century’s most important work of political satire, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, featuring puppetry and design from the team behind War Horse (1 – 5 March). Also in the spring, Michael Morpurgo’s moving World War One story Private Peaceful is given a thrilling new ensemble retelling (12 – 16 April); the classic board game Cludeo is brought hilariously to life by the director of The Play That Goes Wrong, Mark Bell (25 – 30 April) and TV stars Judy Flynn, Sara Crowe and Abigail Thaw are part of a hapless team trying to escape from Sheila’s Island in Tim Firth’s sparkling new comedy (10 – 14 May).

The 2021 Autumn Season continues apace when Patricia Hodge and Nigel Havers star in Noël Coward’s comedy gem Private Lives (28 October – 6 November) before Mischief Theatre’s biggest comedy catastrophe Magic Goes Wrong visits Bath on its first UK tour (9 – 21 November). Matthew Bourne’s world premiere dance production, The Midnight Bell, features twelve of the finest performers from his company, New Adventures, in a brand new work inspired by the great English novelist, Patrick Hamilton, which ventures into the underbelly of 1930s London life (23 – 27 November); Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’s phenomenal smash hit musical about Henry VIII’s wives, SIX, is back after enjoying sell out runs in the West End, on UK tour, at Sydney Opera House and on Broadway where it returns this autumn (29 November – 11 December); and there’s an opportunity to learn more about one of the world’s most celebrated actors, when David Suchet visits the Theatre Royal to talk about his life and career in Poirot And More, A Retrospective (22 November).

This December, traditional family pantomime returns to the Bath stage when Dani Harmer, one of the biggest stars of children's television in BBC history, plays Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, alongside comedian and award-winning writer Jon Monie, who stars as Buttons, and a talented supporting cast. Jon has also written the brand-new hilarious script which promises a feast of family fun and festive frivolity! (16 December – 9 January, sponsored by Moore).

Meanwhile the Ustinov Studio welcomes New Old Friends with A Christmas Getaway, a brand-new story featuring their trademark slapstick inspired by P.G. Wodehouse, Noël Coward and classic British comedy. This frantic farce features four actors playing multiple roles with lightning quick changes in a fast talking, fast-paced, light-hearted Christmas show (13 December – 8 January).

Next to appear at the Ustinov Studio, starting at the end of October, is the 20th anniversary production of Blue/Orange which opens in Bath. Joe Penhall’s multi award-winning satire set in a London psychiatric hospital, stars Olivier Award winner Giles Terera (Hamilton) with Michael Balogun and Ralph Davis. As a doctor and senior consultant debate whether to release or section a mysterious patient, their power struggle escalates into a startling and provocative exploration of power and privilege, revealing uncomfortable truths about all three men (29 October – 13 November).

The Ustinov Studio’s vibrant Visiting Company Season returns with comedy, drama and live music over the coming months. Following the sell-out success of Paradise Lost, Lost Dog make a welcome return with another inspired alternative take on a classic story. Juliet & Romeo reveals the real story of the star-crossed lovers; it turns out they didn’t die in tragic circumstances, but grew up and lived happily ever after. Well they lived at least… (15 – 17 November). Bristol-based comedy legends Living Spit finally get to perform their Nativity at the Ustinov, and in a desperate and gratuitous attempt to wring out their smash-hit Christmas show in January, they’ve cleverly renamed it The Late-ivity! (10 & 11 January). Olivier Award-winner Mike Bartlett’s latest play is a funny and poignant story of desire, control, raised blinds and lowered boundaries set in the midst of last year’s lockdown, Mrs Delgado. What happens when you and 67 million people are in lockdown, but your nearest neighbour, Mrs Delgado, is not…? (19 – 22 January). Also in the spring,  Bristol poet, musician and performer Lady Nade makes her Ustinov debut showcasing her third album Willing, hot on the heels of her UK Americana Award nomination (4 February).

For Christmas at The Egg, family audiences can enjoy a sparkling new take on E. Nesbit’s much-loved story, Five Children and It, presented by award-winning theatre makers Bucket Club. This classic fantasy story sees five children set off on a series of fantastic adventures after discovering a secret that’s been hidden away for centuries (10 December – 16 January). Five Children and It is sponsored by King Edwards’ School, Bath. Also at The Egg in the Roper Rooms, in the lead up to Christmas, pre-school favourites Squirrel (27 November – 24 December) and Snow Mouse (12 January – 6 February) return to delight the youngest theatregoers, aged 6 months to 4 years. Squirrel is presented in collaboration with The Paragon School.

In the New Year, shows for young audiences at The Egg include Pebble On The Beach, M6 Theatre’s lively mix of dancing, singing and puppetry for ages 3 to 9 years (18 – 22 February); magical interactive dance show Club Origami which sees movement, fashion and live music meet the magic of origami in a show for ages 3 to 6 years (23 February); and the stunningly visual Little Murmur, based on the true story of one child’s struggle with letters and words, is an honest and funny tale for ages 7 and over about the trials of  seeing things differently (26 & 27 February).

In March, The Dark tells the story of a brave young boy’s journey to meet and befriend the darkness in the basement in an empowering tale about facing one’s fears for children aged 5 and over (5 March) and Underwater is a beautiful dance theatre show for babies up to the age of 2 and their families (17 – 19 March). The Family Sex Show is a brand new stage production for family audiences aged 5 years and over about the painfully awkward subject of sex, created in consultation with School of Sexuality Education. Exploring proper names and functions, boundaries, consent, pleasure, gender and relationships through songs, movement, real-life bodies and personal stories, this fun and silly performance opens at The Egg (10 & 12 March), where it was developed in 2019, before now touring nationally. At the end of March, Wriggle Dance Theatre present their interactive dance, digital projection and live music show Squidge for children aged 3 to 8 years (31 March – 2 April); and the Theatre Royal Bath Theatre School are devising their own version of the classic pied piper story in Hamelin for audiences aged 6 and over (12 – 14 April).

The Special Events programme welcomes Sir James Dyson who will be talking about his new book, Invention: A Life, an account of his early experiences and the importance of education, mentorship and self-reliance (4 December); The Countess of Carnarvon opens the gates of Highclere Castle for an intimate behind-the-scenes look in The Real Downton Abbey (28 January); renowned former soldier Damien Lewis makes a welcome return with his latest account of unknown heroic deeds during World War Two in SAS Great Escapes (11 February); popular TV presenter and best-selling novelist Alan Titchmarsh visits Bath to talk about his latest novel, The Gift (4 March); and historian Alison Weir talks about her final book in the Six Tudor Queens series, recounting the story of Henry VIII’s last wife, Katherine Parr: The Sixth Wife (29 April). Before Christmas, there is also From Turkey to Trifle at Lansdown Grove Hotel, a two-course festive lunch and a light-hearted look at many of the Christmas customs that we take for granted (14 December).

Theatre Royal Bath’s Fundraisers are staging three events including A Guide To Skincare For Everyone with leading Guerlain beauty consultant Istvan Schuller (19 November); Carols By Candlelight at St. Michael’s Without Church, which is now sold out (11 December); and there’s a two course lunch at the Michelin-starred Hywel Jones Restaurant at Lucknam Park Hotel with special guest speaker, actor Simon Shepherd (15 March).       

Thanks to sponsors: Moore, sponsoring the pantomime Cinderella and King Edward’s School Bath, sponsoring Five Children and It at The Egg.

Tickets for all shows and events at the Theatre Royal Bath can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 and online at




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