Classic Spring announces a year-long celebration of Oscar Wilde at the
Vaudeville Theatre from October 2017
● Four social comedies to be staged in a year-long season
● Dominic Dromgoole to direct A Woman of No Importance
● Kathy Burke to direct Lady Windermere’s Fan
● Olivier Award-winner Eve Best to star in A Woman of No Importance
● The Selfish Giant, a new folk opera penned by BRIT Award and Ivor Novello Award-winning songwriter
Guy Chambers, to premiere in April
● 20,000 tickets under £20 to be offered across the season
● Wilde Creatures, a new family show based on Wilde’s fairy tales, to be produced by Tall Stories
● Frank McGuinness to adapt De Profundis for the stage
● ‘Wilde Talk’ series to include opening address by Oscar Wilde’s grandson, Merlin Holland
Classic Spring, a new theatre company from former Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Dominic
Dromgoole, today announces first casting and creatives for a year-long celebration of Oscar Wilde at the
An iconoclast, a socialist and a gay Irishman in the socially conservative late-Victorian era, Oscar Wilde broke
the mould in his work and in his life. Opening in the year of the fiftieth anniversary of the decriminalisation of
homosexuality in the UK, this season aims to offer a much fuller picture of the man and the artist, and reveal
this much-loved playwright as the brilliant renegade he was in his own time. Interspersed with the plays will
be a curated series of interludes and ‘Wilde Talks’ that will reveal the deep current of radicalism and
subversiveness that runs through all of Wilde’s writing.
Eve Best will star as Mrs Arbuthnot in A Woman of No Importance from 6 October to 30 December 2017,
directed by Dominic Dromgoole. Eve recently starred in Old Times on Broadway alongside Clive Owen, and
Love In Idleness at the Menier Chocolate Factory and in the West End. She has won an Olivier Award, an
Evening Standard Award and three Critics’ Circle Awards, and been nominated for two Tony Awards.
Other early casting includes Eleanor Bron as Lady Pontefract, and William Gaunt as the Venerable
Archdeacon Daubeny. Eleanor first shot to fame as Ahme in the Beatles’ film Help!, and also starred in the
original Alfie with Michael Caine. William’s credits include King Lear opposite Ian McKellen in the West End
and on film, and The Crucible at the Old Vic.
Multi-award-winning actor, director, comedian and playwright Kathy Burke will direct Lady Windermere’s Fan
from 12 January to 7 April 2018. Kathy starred in Gary Oldman’s film Nil by Mouth, for which she won Best
Actress at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. Her other screen credits include Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Dancing
in Lughnasa, Absolutely Fabulous and French and Saunders. She has directed at many of London’s leading
venues, including the Donmar Warehouse, the Royal Court and the Hampstead Theatre. Her other awards
include a Royal Television Society Award, a British Independent Film Award and a British Comedy Award; she
has also been nominated for six BAFTAs.
A limited run of lightly-staged performances for a new folk opera by Guy Chambers, entitled The Selfish
Giant, will start in April 2018, offering a unique opportunity for audiences to see a work in progress by one of
the world’s most acclaimed contemporary songwriters. Guy is a long-time collaborator with Robbie Williams,
having co-written many of his most popular hits, including Angels, Millennium and Let Me Entertain You. Guy
has also collaborated with Kylie Minogue, Rufus Wainwright, Mark Ronson and Diana Ross, amongst others.
He has won three BRIT Awards, three Ivor Novello awards and an MTV Video Music Award.
Frank McGuinness will adapt De Profundis, Wilde’s letter to Lord Alfred Bosie from Reading Gaol, for the
stage, for a limited engagement of 3 to 6 January 2018. Frank is an acclaimed playwright, poet and translator.
He has won numerous awards and prizes throughout his distinguished career, including a Tony Award, an Irish
PEN Award and the French Order of Arts and Letters.
Merlin Holland, Oscar Wilde’s grandson, will give a pre-show talk on 14 October. Merlin is the author of A
Portrait of Oscar Wilde and The Wilde Album.
Lady Windermere’s Fan will be followed by An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest. Casting,
creatives and dates will be announced in due course. Across the season, over 20,000 tickets under £20 will be
made available to encourage younger audiences and make the season accessible to everyone.
A family show based on Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales, entitled Wilde Creatures and produced by Olivier Award
nominated Tall Stories, will cater to everyone aged 5 – 105 and help create new generations of future theatrelovers.
Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director of Classic Spring, said: “My ten years as Artistic Director of
Shakespeare’s Globe allowed me to explore Shakespeare in the kind of theatre he wrote for: the thrust stage
and open air of the ‘wooden O’. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to do the same with Oscar Wilde, in the
kind of space he wrote for: the velvety darkness and proscenium arched stage of one of the West End’s most
perfect playhouses, the Vaudeville, just across the road from where Wilde once lived, loved, wrote and
entertained at his very first home in London.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
CLASSIC SPRING: A Celebration of Oscar Wilde
Vaudeville Theatre, 404 Strand, London WC2R 0NH
A Woman of No Importance
Written by Oscar Wilde
Directed by Dominic Dromgoole
Designed by Jonathan Fensom
Lighting by Ben Ormerod
6 October to 30 December 2017
Press night: 7pm, 16 October 2017
Lady Windermere’s Fan
Written by Oscar Wilde
Directed by Kathy Burke
12 January to 7 April 2018
Press night: 7pm, 22 January 2018
Adapted by Frank McGuinness
3 to 6 January 2018
Thursday and Saturday matinees: 2.30pm
Tickets from £19.50, with reduced price previews