Star names on way as tickets go on sale
TICKETS are now on sale for the 2019 Wells Theatre Festival which boasts an expanded programme for its second year, 17 productions being performed over the weekend of July 11-14.
And this year, the festival welcomes two of this country’s most accomplished actresses, Imogen Stubbs (True Colors, Sense and Sensibility) and Susannah Harker (Mattie in the original, UK version of A House of Cards and Jane Bennett TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice also starring Colin Firth).
Imogen will be performing a rehearsed reading of David Hare’s Amy’s View alongside her daughter, Ellie Nunn.
Imogen said: “I am delighted to come to the Wells Theatre Festival. My partner Jonathan Guy Lewis performed there last year with his play I Found My Horn and he had an amazing time.
“I have always wanted to explore Amy’s View with my daughter because it is a fascinating funny/sad play, centring around a mother daughter relationship.
“I am immensely grateful to Sir David Hare for allowing us to rediscover the play. It was originally performed by Judi Dench and Samantha Bond and assistant to the director Richard Eyre was the Wells Theatre Festival’s very own Rosalind Johnson who will be providing top tips.”
Susannah Harker has developed Austen Sisters with her sister Nelly Harker focusing on the relationship between Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra.
Susannah said: “I am really excited to bring our play Austen Sisters to such a beautiful venue. Wells Cathedral is a thrilling performance space.
“Our play tells the story of Jane Austen at a crossroads in her life just prior to being published aged 33 and surrounded by the pressures to conform and marry for survival in Regency England. Her sister is her closest ally and companion. Their bond and friendship is enduring and powerful in a time when women had to work hard to maintain their independence.”
Other highlights include the return of award-winning playwright and actor Jonathan Guy Lewis who this year will direct his new, highly acclaimed production, Soldier On, in The Bishop’s Barn.
Working with Amanda Faber and The Soldiers’ Arts Academy, the 16-strong acting company is made up of a combination of professional actors and veterans, who have experienced trauma following military service.
Another highlight is the family favourite The Railway Children presented by Somerset’s Hordern Ciani Theatre Production Company in Cedars Hall.
Local young actors have already been cast to play the leading roles alongside a professional cast in a new musical adaptation of this well-loved classic story.
Amongst the children’s shows the festival will welcome the return of Mufti Games and Brave Bold Theatre who are offering some free shows to primary school children.
Artistic director Ros Johnson said: “I am really excited that we have put together such a diverse programme for 2019. Theatre and live performance not only entertains but it can also inspire debate and many of the shows in this year’s festival programme tackle important issues like dementia, mental health and the environment. This year’s festival truly offers something for everyone.”
For full details and to book visit www.wellstheatrefestival.org
• Picture: Ellie Nunn and Imogen Stubbs