Dominic Dromgoole has announced initial casting for his year-long residency at London’s Vaudeville Theatre to showcase the work of Oscar Wilde.
Classic Spring, a new theatre company from The Globe’s former artistic director, Dromgoole, has announced its first casting and creatives for a year-long celebration of the writer.
An iconoclast, a socialist and a gay Irishman in the socially conservative late-Victorian era, Oscar Wilde broke the mould in his work and in his life.
The season aims to offer a much fuller picture of the man and the artist, and reveal this much-loved playwright as the brilliant renegade he was in his own time.
Interspersed with the plays will be a curated series of interludes and ‘Wilde Talks’ that will reveal the deep current of radicalism and subversiveness that runs through all of Wilde’s writing.
Eve Best will star as Mrs Arbuthnot in A Woman of No Importance in October, directed by Dominic Dromgoole.
Eve recently starred in Old Times on Broadway alongside Clive Owen, and Love In Idleness at the Menier Chocolate Factory and in the West End.
She has won an Olivier Award, an Evening Standard Award and three Critics’ Circle Awards, and been nominated for two Tony Awards.
Other early casting includes Eleanor Bron as Lady Pontefract, and William Gaunt as the Venerable Archdeacon Daubeny.
Eleanor first shot to fame in the Beatles’ film Help!, and also starred in the original Alfie with Michael Caine.
William’s extensive stage and screen credits include King Lear opposite Ian McKellen in the West End and on film, and The Crucible at the Old Vic.
Multi-award-winning actor, director, comedian and playwright Kathy Burke will direct Lady Windermere’s Fan in January.
A limited run of lightly-staged performances for a new folk opera by Guy Chambers, called The Selfish Giant, will start in April, offering audiences a chance to see a work in progress by one of the world’s most acclaimed contemporary songwriters.
Guy is a long-time collaborator with Robbie Williams, having co-written many of his most popular hits, including Angels, Millennium and Let Me Entertain You.
Frank McGuinness will adapt De Profundis, Wilde’s letter to Lord Alfred Bosie from Reading Gaol, for the stage, for a limited engagement in January.
Merlin Holland, Oscar Wilde’s grandson, will give a pre-show talk on October 14. Merlin is the author of A Portrait of Oscar Wilde and The Wilde Album.
Lady Windermere’s Fan will be followed by An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest.
Dominic Dromgoole said: “My ten years as artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe allowed me to explore Shakespeare in the kind of theatre he wrote for: the thrust stage and open air of the ‘wooden O’.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to do the same with Oscar Wilde, in the kind of space he wrote for: the velvety darkness and proscenium arched stage of one of the West End’s most perfect playhouses, the Vaudeville, just across the road from where Wilde once lived, loved, wrote and entertained at his very first home in London.”
A Woman of No Importance, 6 October to 30 December 2017 Lady Windermere’s Fan, 12 January to 7 April 2018 De Profundis, 3 to 6 January 2018