Theatre Royal Plymouth announces spring 2018 season

This spring Theatre Royal Plymouth welcomes the best of musicals, drama, dance and opera to the South West.

New musical The Band featuring the songs of Take That and the West End hit Jersey Boys both grace the stage. Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures return to Theatre Royal Plymouth with Cinderella, one of their most loved productions.

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s critically acclaimed production of Hamlet starring Paapa Essiedu takes to the stage this spring. Audiences will also have the chance to see The National Theatre’s production of James Graham’s This House as it embarks on its first UK tour after receiving rave reviews at its sell-out run in London.

Theatre Royal Plymouth continues to strengthen and grow its reputation for producing and co-producing. Theatre Royal Plymouth produce two new plays for the spring 2018 season; Clockwork Canaries by Christopher William Hill, 49 Donkey’s Hanged by Carl Grose and also co-produce a new play Napoleon Disrobed with Told By An Idiot.

The Lyric

Monday 15 – Saturday 20 January

This big, bold and beautiful production of Hairspray returns to Theatre Royal Plymouth, starring Norman Pace as Wilbur Turnblad and Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle.

Son of a Preacher Man
Tuesday 23 – Saturday 27 January

Son of a Preacher Man, is a heart-warming new musical featuring the soulful music of Dusty Springfield including "The Look Of Love", "I Only Want To Be With You" and the classic "Son Of A Preacher Man", with a book by Warner Brown and directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood.

Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella
Tuesday 30 January – Saturday 3 February

One of New Adventures’ most loved productions Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella is a thrilling and evocative love story, set in London during the Second World War. Matthew Bourne’s interpretation of the classic fairy tale has, at its heart, a true war-time romance. A chance meeting results in a magical night for Cinderella and her dashing young RAF pilot, together just long enough to fall in love before being parted by the horrors of the Blitz.

Tuesday 6 – Saturday 10 February

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s acclaimed production of Hamlet, originally seen in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2016 comes to Plymouth before transferring to London’s Hackney Empire. Directed by Simon Godwin, the production sees rising star Paapa Essiedu reprise his award-winning performance in the title role as one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragic heroes.

The Importance of Being Earnest
Tuesday 13 – Saturday 17 February

Oscar Wilde’s greatly admired and much loved comedy The Importance of Being Earnest follows Jack Worthing’s endeavours to marry Algernon’s cousin, the beautiful Gwendolen. But first he must convince the fearsome Lady Bracknell (played by Gwen Taylor) 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 Little Matchgirl (and Other Happier Tales)
Tuesday 20 – Saturday 24 February

Inspired by the beautiful and devastatingly sad Hans Christian Anderson tale, The Little Matchgirl, and combining Anderson’s other tales The Princess and the Pea, The Emperor’s New Clothes and Thumbelina, The Little Matchgirl (and Other Happier tales) reveals a spellbinding world of magic and mystery. Steeped in the metaphor and meaning that runs through the veins of Anderson’s enduring stories, this will be a night to delight, transport and surprise.

Monday 26 February – Saturday 3 March

Three men.  Three friends.  One white painting.  ART is one of the most successful comedies ever. ART is a masterpiece. The production will star Nigel Havers, Denis Lawson and Stephen Tompkinson.

Sunset Boulevard
Monday 12 – Saturday 17 March

One of the all-time great musicals, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award®- winning masterpiece Sunset Boulevard is a compelling story of romance and obsession, based on Billy Wilder’s legendary film, with Don Black and Christopher Hampton's wonderful book and lyrics. It stars Ria Jones, who received standing ovations every night when performing the role at the London Coliseum, as Norma Desmond and Strictly Come Dancing’s Danny Mac as Joe Gillis.

Birmingham Royal Ballet - The Sleeping Beauty
Wednesday 21 – Saturday 24 March

The curse of a wicked fairy, one touch of a spindle, and a beautiful princess falls into an enchanted sleep which can only be broken by a prince’s kiss. The Sleeping Beauty is one of the grandest ballets ever created. With its marvellous virtuoso dance, dazzling fairy tale spectacle and music by Tchaikovsky played live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, The Sleeping Beauty is an enchanting experience for all the family.


Welsh National Opera
Tuesday 27 – Saturday 31 March 2018

WNO returns to Plymouth with David Pountey’s new production of Verdi’s La forza del destino. Also in the Spring season will be a revival of John Caird’s production for WNO of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and a revival of Puccini’s Tosca.

Jungle Book
Tuesday 3 – Saturday 7 April

Rudyard Kipling’s family classic, The Jungle Book, is brought to life in a re-imagined show packed with memorable characters, new songs and brilliant storytelling. Mowgli the man cub battles for survival in this heart-warming coming-of-age story about a boy raised by wolves in the jungle.  This unforgettable adventure is adapted by the Olivier Award-winning Jessica Swale (Nell Gwynn), music composed by Joe Stilgoe and directed by Max Webster (The Lorax, The Old Vic).

What The Ladybird Heard
Tuesday 10 – Thursday 12 April

Join the woolly sheep, the hairy hog, the fat red hen and the dainty dog in this brand new stage adaptation of Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks’ colourful farmyard adventure. With live music, puppetry, plenty of audience participation and lots of laughs! A glittering treat for all the family.

Jersey Boys
Tuesday 17 – Saturday 28 April

Jersey Boys is the remarkable true story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and their rise to stardom from the wrong side of the tracks. These four boys from New Jersey became one of the most successful bands in pop history, were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and sold 175 million records worldwide, all before they turned 30.

Champions of Magic
Sunday 29 April

This cast of Britain’s top magicians includes award winning tricksters presenting daring grand illusions, stunning close-up magic and incredible mind reading. Their skills have been seen around the world with appearances on TV including ITV’s ‘The Next Great Magician’, ‘Good Morning Britain’, ‘Penn & Teller: Fool Us’ and CNN’s ‘A Quest For Magic’.
This House
Tuesday 1 – Saturday 5 May
1974.  The UK faces economic crisis and a hung parliament.  In a culture hostile to cooperation, it’s a period when votes are won or lost by one, when there are fist fights in the bars and when sick MPs are carried through the lobby to register their vote.  James Graham’s critically acclaimed and prescient political drama This House, which played to sold-out houses at the National Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre and in the West End visits Plymouth on its first ever national tour.

Cirque Berserk!
Tuesday 8 – Saturday 12 May

Direct from the West End and showcasing the finest in traditional circus thrills and skills, Cirque Bersek! Celebrates the 250th anniversary of the invention of Circus by bringing this treasured form of live entertainment band up-to-date in a jaw-dropping show created especially for the theatre.

The Band
Tuesday 15 – Saturday 26 May

The Band is a new musical about what it’s like to grow up with a boyband.  For five 16 year-old friends in 1992, ‘the band’ is everything.  25 years on, we are reunited with the group of friends, now 40-something women, as they try once more to fulfil their dream of meeting their heroes.

Love From A Stranger
Tuesday 29 May – Saturday 02 June

A whirlwind romance with a handsome and charming stranger sweeps Cecily Harrington off her feet and she recklessly abandons her old life to settle in the remote and blissful surroundings of a country cottage. However, her newfound love is not all that he seems… Electric with suspense and with a shocking twist, this edge-of-your-seat, rarely seen thriller by the UK’s greatest crime writer is rediscovered in a brand new production by Lucy Bailey (Gaslight, Dial M for Murder) designed by Mike Britton.

Miss Saigon
Wednesday 4 July – Saturday 4 August

Miss Saigon tells the story of the last days of the Vietnam War, 17 year-old Kim is forced to work in a Saigon bar run by a notorious character known as the Engineer. There she meets and falls in love with an American GI named Chris but they are torn apart by the fall of Saigon. For 3 years Kim goes on an epic journey of survival to find her way back to Chris, who has no idea he's fathered a son.

War Horse
Wednesday 29 August – Saturday 15 September

Nick Stafford’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s remarkable story of courage, loyalty and friendship, set against the backdrop of the First World War is the most successful play in the National Theatre’s history.  It features ground-breaking puppetry work by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, which brings breathing, galloping horses to life on stage.

The Drum

Me & My Bee
Tuesday 13 – Saturday 17 February
Multi award-winning theatre company, ThisEgg, invites you to save the world - one bee at a time. A new family comedy with live music. Me & My Bee is a show for children & adults, tackling a bigger issue in a more intimate manner. The show plays with how we can make what we imagine become real.

Napoleon Disrobed
Thursday 25 January – Saturday 10 February

One of the UK’s most unique theatre companies creates this poignantly moving and wryly humorous re-imagining of the final years of Napoleon Bonaparte. Told by an Idiot explore the absurdity of trying to retrieve time, and glory. A Told by an Idiot, Theatre Royal Plymouth and Arcola Theatre Production.

Clockwork Canaries
Thursday 22 February – Saturday 10 March

Full of sinister secrets, improbable inventions and murderous mayhem, this blood-thirsty comedy comes from the author of the UK Theatre Award winning Mister Holgado. A Theatre Royal Plymouth production.

Winter Solstice
Tuesday 13 – Saturday 17 March

Family, betrayal and the inescapable presence of the past reverberate through the UK premiere of Roland Schimmelpfennig’s razor-sharp comedy about the rise of the new right across the globe.  Schimmelpfennig is the most performed playwright in Germany, with productions of his work worldwide in over 40 countries. Previous productions in the UK include The Golden Dragon and Arabian Night, both presented by Actors Touring Company.

49 Donkeys Hanged
Thursday 22 March – Saturday 7 April

Stanley Bray is hanging donkeys. This is odd behaviour. Even for Ventongimps. He can’t stop his bizarre addiction until he understands why. Until then, he must keep his house-bound wife Joy in the dark, and prying villagers off his land. Easier said than done when Slaughterhouse Sally comes calling, Grizzler’s pasties in hand, determined to let bygones be bygones... But when Bray discovers the reason behind his actions lies with a playwright called Carl Grose, things take a very strange turn indeed... A dark surreal new comedy produced by Theatre Royal Plymouth and the writer of Grand Guignol and Horse Piss For Blood, Carl Grose.

Thursday 12 – Saturday 14 April

Brainstorm is a unique theatrical investigation into how teenagers’ brains work and why they’re designed by evolution to work the way they are. Following the success of Buckets and The Blue Road, Theatre Royal Plymouth’s Young Company return to unravel the mysteries of being a teenager.

National Theatre Connections 2018
Tuesday 17 – Saturday 21 April

National Theatre Connections is one of the UK’s largest celebrations of youth theatre. Plays are commissioned for and about young people, from some of the best contemporary playwrights, and performed by schools and youth theatres all over the UK. This year it will involve 270 young theatre groups and 28 leading Partner Theatres, including 9 in the South West who will each perform in The Drum.

Education, Education, Education
Tuesday 24 – Saturday 28 April
Education, Education, Education is The Wardrobe Ensemble's love letter to the schools of the 90s and asks big questions about a country in special measures, exploring what we are taught and why, and where responsibility lies. The Wardrobe Ensemble use their trademark inventive theatricality and irreverent humour to explore the stories that have shaped our country's recent political history, and what the future might look like.

The Believers Are But Brothers
Tuesday 01– Saturday 05 May

This urgent, multi-layered performance blends storytelling with the lure of digital technology, enveloping audiences in a world of encrypted instant messaging, webcam footage, online gaming and forums, to explore what drives men towards online and real world extremism.

The Damned United
Tuesday 08 – Saturday 12 May

Combining fiction, fact and hearsay, The Damned United is an account of Brian Clough‘s disastrous 44-day period as manager of Leeds United. In a stripped-back staging directed by Red Ladder’s artistic director Rod Dixon, a company of three take audiences up-close to the sweat, fury and power-struggles from pitch-side and inside the flawed but brilliant mind of ‘Old Big ‘ed’.

The Lab

Tuesday 03 – Wednesday 04 April
Combining comedy, poetry and songs. Sunked is a spoken-word show about salvage, salvations and Celine Dion.

Then Again
Thursday 05 – Saturday 07 April

A dynamic comedy about time travel, internet celebrity and friendship. Then Again is Tremolo Theatre’s second show, following on from their lo-fi sci-fi black comedy, The Hours Before We Wake.

Without You
Friday 06 – Saturday 07 April

Without You is a one-to-one performance which investigates the influence of popular culture upon our perceptions of love.

Whey Down South
Tuesday 10 – Saturday 14 April

Join the Narwhal Ensemble for Whey Down South, a theatrical quest to preserve the age old tradition of cheese rolling and fight the looming influence of big money. Will the community band together, or will it crumble like a finely aged cheddar?

Tickets are on sale to the general public from Tuesday 21 November and can be booked online at from 10am or by calling the Theatre Royal Plymouth Box Office from 10am on 01752 267222 or in person at the Box Office from 10.30am