The Importance of Being Earnest


Hannah Louise Howell as Gwendolen & Peter Sandys-Clarke as Jack in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. Credit James Findlay..JPG

By Oscar Wilde
Directed by Alastair Whatley
Set and costume designs by Gabriella Slade
Sound and music by Giles Thomas
Lighting by Alan Valentine

York Theatre Royal, 17 – 21 April

Gwen Taylor as Lady Bracknell leads the cast of The Original Theatre Company’s 2018 tour of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, alongside Susan Penhaligon as Miss Prism at York Theatre Royal 17 – 21 April.

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 Original Theatre Company’s Artistic Director, Alastair Whatley, directs the production with set and costume designs by Gabriella Slade, sound and music by Giles Thomas and lighting by Alan Valentine.

Hannah Louise Howell plays Gwendolen with Geoff Aymer (Chasuble), Louise Coulthard (Cecily), Thomas Howes (Algernon), Peter Sandys-Clarke (Jack) and Simon Shackleton (Lane/Merriman).

Gwen Taylor as Lady Bracknell in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, credit The Other Richard.jpg

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, for which she was nominated for a BAFTA TV Best Actress Award, and Amy in Duty Free.  Her film appearances include The Lady in the Van and Monty Python's Life of Brian.  Gwen most recently played Mrs Bramson in Luke Sheppard's critically acclaimed touring production of Emlyn Williams’ Night Must Fall and Daisy Worthen in Driving Miss Daisy at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre.  Other theatre credits include Calendar Girls (UK Tour), the title role in the national tour of Shirley ValentineTop 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 recently appeared in Rufus Norris’ production of Cabaret alongside Will Young and Louise Redknapp. She has a wide range of TV credits to her name, including Upstairs DownstairsTales of the UnexpectedBergerac and A Bouquet of Barbed Wire. She played Judi Dench’s sister Helen in four series of the award-winning BBC sitcom A Fine Romance, and the regular role of Jean Hope in ITV’s Emmerdale. Susan also played Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew for the BBC’s Shakespeare season. 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.

Hannah Louise Howell’s theatre credits include The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Alastair Whatley earlier this year at South Hill Park Arts Centre, Engineers Blue (Brass Works Theatre, Bristol), Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (Ludlow Assembly Rooms), Mermaid (Swan Theatre, Worcester), Much Ado About Nothing (The Regal, Tenbury Wells) and Ghosts (Courtyard Theatre). 

Geoff Aymer most recently appeared in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Young Vic. His other theatre credits include To Kill A Mockingbird (Regents Park Open Air, National Tour, Barbican), The Lightning Child and Macbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe) and Driving Miss Daisy (The Canal Cafe and Frinton Summer Theatre). Geoff’s Television credits include Guerilla (Sky Atlantic and Showtime) and EastEnders (BBC 1).

Louise Coulthard won the Lustrum Award at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe for her play, Cockamamy. Her theatre credits include House and Garden (The Watermill Theatre), The Late Wedding (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and Dreams of Home (Theatre Royal Stratford East).

Thomas Howes is best known for playing William Mason in ITV’s Downton Abbey. He has since appeared as Yashvin in the 2012 film adaptation of Anna Karenina and played Winston Churchill in Murdoch Mysteries (ITV). His theatre credits include Ratty in The Wind in the Willows: The Musical (UK Tour), The Mousetrap (Original UK Tour), The Winslow Boy (Theatre Royal Bath) and The History Boys (National Theatre/ West End).

Peter Sandys-Clarke’s theatre credits include Ronald Storrs in Ross (Chichester Festival Theatre), Peter Gilbert in The Browning Version (Theatre Royal Bath and tour), Gerald in When We Are Married (Garrick Theatre), Jerry in A Daughter’s a Daughter (Trafalgar Studios), Withers in The Letter (Wyndham’s Theatre and tour) and Raleigh in Journey’s End (Playhouse Theatre and Duke of York’s Theatre). His TV work includes The Royals (E!), The Crown (Netflix) and Indian Summers (Channel 4).

Simon Shackleton most recently played Professor Christopher Riley in the UK tour of Shadowlands, directed by Alastair Whatley. His other theatre credits include Journey's End (West End and UK tour), An Ideal Husband (Northampton Repertory Theatre), As You Like It (Bridewell Theatre), Blithe Spirit (Chichester Festival Theatre). Simon has appeared in EastEnders (BBC), Silk (BBC), The Queen (Blast Films), Lewis (ITV) and Torchwood (BBC).


The Original Theatre Company presents
The Importance of Being Earnest
York Theatre Royal, 17 – 21 April
Evenings 7.30pm
Matinees Thu 2pm and Sat 2.30pm

Audio described Sat 21 April, 2.30pm

Tickets £32-50 - £15.50
Box office 01904 623568