Following the huge success of the run in August at the Minack Open Air Theatre, Cornwall, Olivier and Tony Award-winning producer David Pugh has announced that the acclaimed 40th anniversary production of Willy Russell’s Educating Rita is coming back from Wednesday 28 October.
In a bid to help reopen as many theatres as possible with socially distanced, indoor performances, Pugh is excited to bring back to the nation this well-loved story and to help get the theatre industry back on track. The production, directed by Max Roberts and starring Stephen Tompkinson as Frank and Jessica Johnson as Rita, was on a UK Tour when the Government closed theatres in March.
The tour will reopen at the Rose Theatre, Kingston, running from 28 October to 14 November. This will be followed by a week at Shrewsbury Theatre Severn, with many more dates to be announced.
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.”
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. Frank is a frustrated poet, brilliant academic and dedicated drinker, who is less than enthusiastic about teaching Rita. However, Frank soon finds that his passion for literature is reignited by Rita, whose technical ability for the subject is limited by her lack of education, but whose enthusiasm Frank finds refreshing. The two soon realise how much they have to learn from each other.
Educating Rita was originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and played at the Warehouse Theatre, London in 1980, starring Julie Walters and Mark Kingston. Julie Walters reprised her role in the BAFTA, Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning film opposite Michael Caine.