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Autumn season at Theatre Royal Winchester

Posted: 6th September 2018

Theatre Royal Winchester has released details of its jam packed calendar of performances and events this autumn– with something for everyone to enjoy.

English literature fans can enjoy a new stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s final novel Persuasion – a witty romantic comedy brought to life by a talented cast of actor musicians (10-15 September) and a new play written by Simon Reade, A Pure Woman, based on Christopher Nicholson’s highly acclaimed novel Winter about a poignant imagining of Thomas Hardy’s relationship with his last muse (18-19 October).

The theatre will be commemorating the 100th year anniversary of the ending of World War One with a number of events: Michael Morpugo’s  Private Peaceful,  the story of Private Tommo Peaceful, a young soldier awaiting the firing squad at dawn, is brought to the stage by Scamp Theatre (13-17 November), Stephen Macdonald’s play Not About Heroes tells of the unique friendship between the celebrated poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon (17 October) and, on the anniversary itself, there will be a dramatic recital of the contemporary writings performed by distinguished actors Michael Pennington and Sian Phillips together with the producer John Miller (11 November).

Comedy lovers are in for a treat - the surreal chaotic humour, bizarre characters and fantastical plots of The Goon Show by Spike Milligan come alive on stage (22 September), Jonathan Pie heads Back to the Studio more frustrated and angrier than ever in a night of political comedy and chaos (7 October) and some of the UK’s quickest comic performers will create a brand new improvised ‘lost’ Jane Austen novel based on audience suggestions in Austentatious (4 October). Stand-up comedians Marcus Brigstocke (21 September), Bridget Christie (5 October), Elis James and John Robins (26 October) and Stewart Francis (21 November) cause further hilarity. The veteran popular host Nicholas Parsons appears in his extravagant, vibrant and funny one-man show A Laugh a Minute (3 November) and Dr Phil Hammond cheers the heroes, boos the villains and looks to the future of the health service in Happy Birthday NHS? (7 December).

Young theatre goers and their families can enjoy stage adaptations of the best-selling books Guess How Much I Love You (16-17 September), Tabby McTat (5-7 October) and How To Hide A Lion (22-23 October), plus TV favourites Bing and friends in Bing Goes to the Theatre ( 26-27 September) and the presenters and characters of Milkshake! (25 October).

The marvellous magicians Morgan & West head to theatre with a double bill of magical mayhem  with More Magic for Kids (27 October) and the Time-Travelling Magicians (27 October) and circus lovers can enjoy the breath-taking mix of acrobatics, surprising aerial feats and masterful juggling in The Exploded Circus (7-8 September).

Dance fans can see Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist in a new light as Tony Adigun’s Avant Garde Dance flips expectations of five familiar characters with their unmatched contemporary hip hop style in Fagin’s Twist (2-3 October) whilst multi-award winning choreographer James Wilton will re-imagine Herman Melville’s seminal novel Moby Dick in his trademark blend of athletic dance, martial arts, capoeira and partner-work in Leviathan (18 September) plus Ballet Black return with a double bill celebrating dancers of black and Asian descent (16 October).

There’s plenty for music lovers too – Showstopper! The Improvised Musical will be creating a brand new musical all-singing, all-dancing from scratch on the night from audience suggestions (27 September), past principals from Les Miserables will perform Broadway and West End hits in Beyond the Barricade (29 September) and Lee Mead returns on his 10th anniversary since first donning the coat in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (30 September).  One of Britain’s best-loved and sunniest musicals Salad Days brings polite naughtiness and saucy encounters to the theatre and Welsh National Opera bring their rip-roaring, uproarious music-hall comedy Rhondda Rips It Up! starring Lesley Garrett and Madeleine Shaw (20 November). Jazz lovers can enjoy performances from the UK’s premier female saxophone player and double MOBO award winner YolanDa Brown on the opening night of Winchester Jazz festival (20 September), the Astor Big Band play a host of Glenn Miller classics, Big Band standards and hits from the musicals (24 October) and the Lindy Hop Dance Company and the Harry Strutters Hot Rhythm Orchestra, with American vocalist Marlene Hill and compere/vocalist Megs Etherington, appear with an action packed show celebrating the music and dance of the Cotton Club, New York’s most celebrated nightclub of the 1920’s & 30’s in Swinging at the Cotton Club (31 October).

Broadcasting legend Dame Esther Rantzen will be in conversation with her daughter, the presenter and journalist Rebecca Wilcox, about their illustrious careers, personal lives and family ties (23 September), the adventurer-explorer Benedict Allen will relay exhilarating tales from his life as an explorer (15 October) and TV wildlife cameraman and presenter Gordon Buchanan will enlighten the audience of his world of weird, wild and wonderful wildlife (12 November).


The festive season kicks off in style with the theatre’s traditional family pantomime Beauty and the Beast – a magical panto with original songs, hilarious gags and loads of audience participation (1 December – 6 January); Robert Powell and Susan Jameson celebrate the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth and the birth, during her reign, of Christmas as we know it today (9 December); Brit-Award winning vocalists Blake bring Christmas classics to the city (11 December), the Scummy Mummies bring scummy carols and yuletide sketches in their festive stand-up show (13 December); the Spitfire Sisters perform Christmas songs in their unmistakable vintage styling (20 December) and the big man himself pays the theatre a visit in Santa’s Christmas Party the most Christmassy Christmas show ever (17 December).

There’s plenty to see at Theatre Royal Winchester this autumn. Tickets are available from theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk and from the box office on 01962 840 440.