Rose Theatre reopens with season including Educating Rita

The Rose Theatre in Kingston upon Thames in London has announced it will re-open this autumn with a season including touring shows Educating Rita, Woke and Stick Man.

Rose Theatre Kingston
Rose Theatre Kingston

The “Return to the Rose” season will run from 28 October at the Rose Theatre, with social distancing in place, starting with the 40th-anniversary production of Willy Russell’s Educating Rita starring Stephen Tompkinson and Jessica Johnson, until 14 November.

Directed by Max Roberts of Live Theatre, it was one of the first productions to re-ignite live theatre in Britain this summer when it ran at Cornwall’s outdoor Minack Theatre in August.

Comedian Russell Kane will headline an evening of live comedy at the Rose on 1 November, alongside stand-ups Nigel Ng and Angela Barnes.

Apphia Campbell’s powerful and award-winning solo play with music, Woke, about two Black women in the American civil rights movement, will run from 16 to 18 November.

Educating Rita
Educating Rita. Photo: Nobby Clark

For Christmas, Freckle Productions’ adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Stick Man promises festive family fun from 10 December to 3 January. Featuring a trio of actors, it is packed full of puppetry, songs, live music and funky moves.

More shows will be announced soon.

The Rose Theatre closed along with others across the UK in March because of the coronavirus. The new season will be staged with “robust” processes in place to minimise risk and comply with the government’s Covid-19 guidelines.

Christopher Haydon, artistic director at the Rose, said: “To begin to see the light at the end of this long, dark tunnel is a welcome relief. While the pandemic has had a devastating impact on the Rose and on our community in Kingston upon Thames, I’m delighted that we have been able to secure a series of entertaining and provocative work.

“I am also looking forward to my first full season of original productions, which will come next year. During these six months, our relentlessly adaptable staff have embodied the resilience of the Rose. Our reopening is a testament to them and the support we continue to receive from our audiences.”

The theatre’s work with young people and the local community, Rose Participate, will resume in person from this weekend after a successful summer term online. It includes all Rose Youth Theatre classes for ages five to 18 as well as Rose Players, the popular adult acting course which takes place on Monday evenings at the theatre.

The Rose’s front-of-house seating areas, including the Rose Café, will remain closed until further notice. However, pre-ordered refreshments can be bought via the Rose food and beverage app.

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About Mark Ludmon 248 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre as well as hospitality and drinks after starting out on regional daily newspapers. He has an MA in early modern literature and history, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and a theatre studies MA from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He has also been on the judging panel for the Olivier Awards. He can be found tweeting as @MarkLudmon and writing about theatre at https://markludmon.com.