Everyman Studio to re-open with adaptation of the first play ever to be performed at the Everyman Theatre
In October 1891 Cheltenham’s New Theatre and Opera House (now the Everyman) was opened by the most famous actress of the era, Lillie Langtry, who starred – with her own company from London’s Princess Theatre – in Tom Taylor’s play Lady Clancarty.
To celebrate the 120th anniversary of the theatre, the Everyman Studio is reviving this rarely performed play for the first time, in a new musical adaptation.
Directed and adapted by Paul Milton, the Everyman’s Creative Director, the play is based on a true story and explores what happens when husband and wife meet after a long separation following their marriage.
Said Paul: “Essentially it’s a love story, a historical romance set against a backdrop of unrest and political intrigue. Lord Clancarty married Lady Elizabeth Spencer in 1684, when she was 10 and he a young teenager. It was an arranged marriage. Lord Clancarty was a Jacobite (a follower of King James II), whereas his wife was a member of the Court of William of Orange, who had usurped James”
The play took some tracking down. “It’s a real gem, a lost treasure! I knew it was going to be tricky to find a copy of the play but eventually I traced down the original in the British Library. It’s handwritten and covers 144 pages!”
Paul has adapted the play to suit modern tastes and has included some music, as well as cutting the sub-plots: “This is an ideal opportunity to revive the play. I’m hoping that local audiences will be intrigued to see the sort of entertainment that was being offered at the end of the 19th century. And also, in terms of local heritage, it’s a chance to have a look at the roots of dramatic performance here in Cheltenham. “
Everyman Studio Theatre
5th – 8th October
Evenings: 7.45pm; Saturday matinee: 2pm
Tickets: £9.50 plus booking fee available from the Everyman Theatre Box Office on 01242 572573 or online at www.everymantheatre.org.uk