Since its stage debut in a Royal Shakespeare Company production on 10 June 1980, Educating Rita has become a firm favourite with audiences. In addition to a highly successful run in London’s West End, the play by Willy Russell has been regularly performed by professional and amateur companies around the world. It was voted Best Comedy of the Year in 1980 and in 1983 was rated the fourth most popular play on the British stage – and the list include Shakespeare. The 1983 film version starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters was greeted with universal acclaim.
The production, the first show celebrating the theatre company’s 50th year, will be directed by David Addenbrooke (see Bio below) who directed Hedda Gabler for LTC in 2017.
David Addenbrooke says ‘Educating Rita has stood the test of time and remains as relevant today as it was 40 years ago. The play is wryly witty, sometimes coarse and very funny as the two characters from very different cultures and backgrounds challenge each other’s assumptions and ideas.’
This production will star LTC regulars Elyse Knowles as Rita and Gray Wilson as Frank.
David Addenbrooke says, ‘These two highly experienced actors were absolutely my first choice to play Rita and Frank. I’m thrilled they were available!’
Educating Rita will open on Friday March 20 for seven performances over two weekends.
This will be a theatre experience not to be missed and early booking through www.lismoretheatrecompany.org.au is recommended.
[Image shpwing Gray Wilson (Frank) and Elyse Knowles (Rita) by Richard Johnson.]
Bio for Director David Addenbrooke
David Addenbrooke has enjoyed dual careers as a senior academic and professional theatre director/designer.
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, he has directed/designed more than 90 major stage and opera productions. He has been Artistic Director of three state theatre companies, Executive Director of WA Film Corporation and has worked with The Royal Shakespeare Company (UK), The Sovremennik Theatre (Moscow) and other overseas companies. His book The Royal Shakespeare Company, published in London, is regarded as the authoritative text on the company’s history.
After being Dean of Arts and Education at the University of Ballarat for six years, David semi-retired to the North Coast where he has directed for Ballina Players and Lismore Theatre Company. His productions here at Rochdale Theatre have been Suddenly Last Summer (2013), Happy Birthday Wanda Jean (2015), Sylvia Plath: A Dramatic Portrait (2016) and Hedda Gabler (2017)
David is delighted to be back at Rochdale Theatre directing Educating Rita.