Educating Rita leads new Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse season

Leanne Best in Educating Rita. Photo: Dan Kenyon
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A new revival of Willy Russell’s Educating Rita will lead the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse’s spring/summer programme for 2015.

The play will be directed by the theatres’ artistic director Gemma Bodinetz, and will star Leanne Best and Con O’Neill in the lead roles. It runs at the Playhouse from February 6 to March 7, with a press night on February 10.

Russell, who grew up in Liverpool, said: “I’m really delighted to be back at the Playhouse, a theatre with which I’ve had such a long and fulfilling association.

“Both Leanne Best and Con O’Neill are superb actors and it’s a real pleasure to have them perform the play here in Liverpool where both their – and my – careers began.”

The Playhouse will also premiere a stage adaptation of the 1994 Coen Brother’s film The Hudsucker Proxy, in a co-production with Southampton’s Nuffield. Simon Dormandy adapted the play, and will co-direct alongside Toby Sedgwick.

After a run in Southampton in May, the play will open at the Playhouse on June 3. It will run until June 27, with a press night in Liverpool on June 4.

Elsewhere, the theatres’ associate director Nick Bagnall will direct a “dark” interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Everyman, which will run from March 21 to April 18 – with a press night on March 25.

The play will mark a year since the Everyman theatre was re-opened after being completely rebuilt.

The Everyman will also stage Arthur Miller’s rediscovered play The Hook, in a co-production with the Royal and Derngate. The play runs in Liverpool from July 1 to 25, with a press night on July 2.

Bodinetz said: “This season is an extraordinary cocktail of the familiar, reinvigorated. Whether that’s a classic play, a celebrated playwright or a much loved film, we hope each of our in-house productions feels fresh and newly minted.

“We are thrilled to be co-producing for the first time with two of the most ambitious and exciting regional theatres in the country and, on a personal note, to be directing my first Willy Russell play in his home city with two extraordinary Liverpool actors is both an honour and a joy.”

The Stage Awards 2015