Theatre unveils a star line-up
Actress and TV presenter Claire Sweeney will be joined by former Stars in Their Eyes presenter Matthew Kelly in one of the highlights of the new season at the Theatre Royal.
The pair will perform in Willy Russell's comedy Educating Rita in the venue's spring into summer season.
The play, which was the winner of the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 1980, has never been out of production somewhere in the world.
It will run at the Theatre Royal from Monday, June 4 to Saturday, June 9 starring Kelly, whose most recent stage roles include Spamalot and Legally Blonde and former Brookside actress Sweeney.
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The new season will include appearances from a host of other onetime soap actors, with ex-EastEnders' Jill Halfpenny and Joe Absolom joining former Hollyoaks and Two Pints of Lager actress Natalie Casey in Abigail's Party next month.
Mike Leigh's comedy about the get-together from hell is one of the best-loved plays of modern times.
The production, which also stars House of Cards actress Susannah Harker, has been put together by Theatre Royal Bath Productions in association with London's Menier Chocolate Factory and comes to Bath direct from its run in the capital.
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre will also bring two productions to Bath this season with Howard Brenton's Anne Boleyn and Henry V both set to hit the stage in May.
Successful choreographer and director Matthew Bourne, whose multi award-winning work includes Cinderella, Swan Lake and The Car Man will visit the theatre for the first time with his company New Adventures.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the company will launch a season of acclaimed early work at the Theatre Royal called Early Adventures.
The programme will feature Spitfire, Bourne's first hit from 1988, Town and Country, which received the company's first Olivier nomination in 1991, and The Infernal Galop, which includes Offenbach's Can-Can.
There are also appearances by Christopher Timothy in the Diary of Anne Frank, Tim Piggott-Smith in The Tempest and Nicola McAuliffe in Alan Bennett's The Lady in the Van.
Meanwhile the theatre has announced this year's pantomime will be Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which will play from Thursday, December 13 to Sunday, January 13. The headline performers have not yet been announced.
Postal bookings for the new season start on March 13, with phone and counter booking from March 19.
For the full details of the shows including dates and times, visit www.theatreroyal.org.uk.