The Importance of Wilde. Oscar dominates in London & the shires this winter

Gwen Taylor in The Importance tour.

Everyone is going Wilde for Oscar this winter with a year of plays at the Vaudeville and The Importance playing in London and the provinces.

Gwen Taylor stars as the indomitable Lady Bracknell in the Original Theatre Company’s 2018 UK tour of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest alongside Susan Penhaligon as Miss Prism.

But first, The Importance comes to the Jack Studio Theatre, South London this November. The David Ball and Redwright co-production, directed by Sarah Redmond, runs from November 14 to December 2.

The same Wilde play is also expected to close Dominic Dromgoole’s Classic Spring Company’s year-long residency at the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End next October.

The touring production will begin in January at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, ending in April in Eastbourne.

Gwen Taylor is best known for playing the title role in the ITV sitcom Barbara, as well as Anne Foster in Coronation Street, Peggy Armstrong in Heartbeat, Rita Simcock in A Bit of A Do and Amy in Duty Free.

Her theatre credits include Calendar Girls (UK Tour), the title role in the national tour of Shirley Valentine, Top Girls (Royal Court and New York), and Gertrude in Sir Peter Hall’s production of Hamlet (London’s Gielgud Theatre and national tour).

Susan Penhaligon is currently appearing in Rufus Norris’s production of Cabaret alongside Will Young and Louise Redknapp.

She has a wide range of TV credits to her name, including Upstairs Downstairs, Tales of the Unexpected, Bergerac and A Bouquet of Barbed Wire.

Susan has toured the UK extensively, having previously worked with The Original Theatre Company, playing Queen Charlotte in their 2010 production of Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George III.

She has also appeared in productions of George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Agatha Christie’s Verdict and Oscar Wilde’s Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime.

Oscar Wilde’s greatly admired and much loved comedy follows Jack Worthing’s endeavours to marry Algernon’s cousin, the beautiful Gwendolen.

But first he must convince the fearsome Lady Bracknell of his respectability.

Wilde’s classic play looks at the clash of town and country in a story of romance, identity, perambulators and capacious handbags.

The Importance tour will be directed by The Original Theatre Company’s artistic director, Alastair Whatley.


24 January – 3 February, Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford
5 – 10 February, Courtyard Theatre, Hereford
13 – 17 February, Theatre Royal Plymouth
20 – 24 February, Belfast Grand Opera House
27 February – 3 March, Bath Theatre Royal
5 – 10 March, Theatre Royal Winchester
13 – 17 March, Manchester Opera House
20 – 24 March, Salisbury Playhouse
27 – 31 March, Lichfield Garrick Theatre
3 – 7 April, Churchill Theatre, Bromley
17 – 21 April, York Theatre Royal
24 – 28 April, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne.

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