THE WINTER’S TALE at the Theatre Royal, Bath

22nd – 25th February

Following the success of Cheek by Jowl’s 2016 international tour in New York, Chicago and Nice, The Winter’s Tale visits the Theatre Royal Bath as one of a handful of 2017 UK dates prior to a run at London’s Barbican and performances in Greece, France, Mallorca and Russia.

One of William Shakespeare’s greatest plays, The Winter’s Tale tells of a delusional and paranoid monarch who tears his family apart.  When Leontes, King of Sicilia, wrongly suspects his wife Hermione of adultery with his boyhood friend Polixenes, King of Bohemia, he is consumed with jealously. Leontes has Hermione imprisoned and orders their new-born daughter to be abandoned on the shores of Bohemia. However, the child survives.  From death and destruction to love and life, initial darkness gives way to joy as Time leads the characters to a shattering conclusion.

“This Winter’s Tale is as intoxicating as a summer’s night” – Les Echos

One of the Bard’s later plays, written around 1609–1611, as was The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale smashes all the rules that its contemporary follows. Unity of time, place and action are hurled aside as the action ranges across Europe, from court to country, from high tragedy to low comedy, across a time span of sixteen years.

“An original masterpiece… a privilege!” – Le Figaro

Cheek by Jowl’s critically acclaimed production of The Winter’s Tale was first performed in January 2016 in Paris, before visiting Lille, Madrid, Milan, Luxembourg, New York and Chicago. The 2017 international tour opened in Nice last month, and visits Bath after European dates across four Spanish cities, including Barcelona and Bilbao.

“Whatever Cheek by Jowl does next constitutes a major happening” – The Guardian

The Winter’s Tale is directed by Declan Donnellan and designed by Nick Ormerod, Joint Artistic Directors of Cheek by Jowl.  Declan Donnellan has directed over 30 productions for the company. He has also has directed for the National Theatre, the RSC, and the Avignon, Edinburgh and Salzburg Festivals. He has received awards in Moscow, Paris, New York and London, including three Olivier Awards – Director of the Year (1987), Best Director of a Play (1995) and the Olivier for Outstanding Achievement (1990). He has been awarded a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his work in France, and was presented with the Golden Lion of Venice for Lifetime Achievement.  In 1989 he was made Associate Director of London’s National Theatre, where his productions have included Fuente Ovenjuna, Sweeney Todd, The Mandate and both parts of Angels in America. In 1999 he was invited by Valery Shadrin to form a company of actors in Moscow under the auspices of The Chekhov International Theatre Festival; the company’s productions have already been seen across 25 countries in 48 cities. In opera, he has directed Bryn Tervel; in dance, the Bolshoi Ballet; and in film, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Robert Pattinson, Christina Ricci and Uma Thurman. His book on acting, The Actor and the Target, is a set text for many drama students.

Multi award-winning Cheek by Jowl returns to Bath after, most recently, bringing its acclaimed production of ’Tis Pity She’s A Whore to the Theatre Royal in June 2014 as part of an international tour. Since it was founded by Joint Artistic Directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod in 1981, the company has performed in over 400 cities in over 40 countries, spanning six continents and has received numerous international awards.  An international company, Cheek by Jowl has presented large scale classical and modern works in three languages – English, French and Russian, whilst performing worldwide, and is an Associate of London’s Barbican Centre.

Cheek by Jowl has established a reputation as a training ground for young actors. The company has given many young artists their first professional experience and countless highly respected actors of stage and screen have worked with Cheek by Jowl early on in their careers, including Daniel Craig, Tom Hiddleston and Adrian Lester.

Orlando James plays the role of Leontes, King of Sicilia. He returns to the Theatre Royal Bath after recent performances in ’Tis Pity She’s A Whore staged by Cheek by Jowl in 2014, Another Country in 2013, and The Madness of George III in Bath in 2011, which transferred to the West End in 2012. The roles of Queen Hermione and Dorcas are played by Natalie Radmall-Quirke, whose theatre credits include many roles in Dublin at the Abbey Theatre, Gaiety Theatre and Gate Theatre, as well as London’s Southwark Playhouse and Finborough Theatre.

Peter Moreton, who plays Antigonus and Old Shepherd, has previously performed at Bath’s Theatre Royal in ’Tis Pity She’s A Whore in 2014, The Hound of the Baskervilles in 2008 and Nicholas Nickleby in 2007. His theatre work includes Shakespeare in Love, directed by Declan Donnellan and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, both in the West End; Tales from the Vienna Woods at the National Theatre; The Prince of Homburg for the RSC; and Good at Donmar Warehouse. His television credits include Doctors, Rosemary and Thyme and Lovejoy.

Joy Richardson plays the roles of Paulina and Mopsa.  Her stage credits include Shakespeare in Love, directed by Declan Donnellan in the West End; Much Ado About Nothing and The Taming of the Shrew for Shakespeare’s Globe; and Welcome to Thebes, The Observer, The Oresteia and Fuente Ovejuna at the National Theatre. Her television credits include Holby City, Doctors, Judge John Deed, Silent Witness and Rhinoceros.

The cast also features Grace Andrews as Time and Emilia, Joseph Black as Cleomenes, David Carr as Camillo, Tom Cawte as Mamillius, Ryan Donaldson as Autolycus, Eleanor McLoughlin as Perdita, Edward Sayer as Polixenes, Sam Woolf as Florizel, and, as Young Shepherd, Sam McArdle, who last played Bath in ’Tis Pity She’s A Whore in 2014.

The first recorded performance of William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale was at The Globe on 15 May 1611, and later that year it was presented at Whitehall before King James I. In 1613 the play was presented as part of the wedding celebrations of James’ daughter Elizabeth to Frederick V, later King of Bohemia. The play was first printed at the end of the Comedies section in the First Folio in 1623.

Photo Credit: Johan Persson