No Doubt about John Patrick Shanley's play at Bath's Mission Theatre
Next Stage artistic director Ann Garner says that when she first saw John Patrick Shanley's play Doubt in Melbourne in 2006 she knew she wanted her company to produce it.
She said: "I emailed Shanley in New York as soon as I got back from Australia. At that time the film was in the pipeline and there was no hope of getting amateur performing rights.
"I have continued pursuing these every year since then and was delighted earlier this year when the company received a contract from Shanley allowing us to stage this production."
The play runs from, next Tuesday at Bath's Mission Theatre
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The play begins innocently enough. Father Brendan Flynn, a charismatic priest and teacher at St Nicholas' School, inspires congregations with his sermons and enthuses pupils with his lessons. Sympathetic, sporty and friendly, Father Flynn seems a perfect role model.
The school's principal, Sister Aloysius, is the opposite of Father Flynn: reserved, distant and severe. And she starts to have doubts.
A chance word, a suspicious event, an unacceptable trait, these are enough to make the judgemental nun question Father Flynn's probity.
John Patrick Shanley's play written in 2004, but set in 1960s New York, is a searing exploration of topical issues.
In 2012 the Catholic Church still faces accusations of child abuse by priests, and in this day and age of instant news and social media there is often nowhere for a person to hide if the rumour mill runs out of control.