Croft, Faustus: Damned Woman, Extraordinary Wall, Blithe Spirit

The Croft – tour starts 22 January

Ali Milles's thriller The Croft receives its world première when a tour opens staring Gwen Taylor.

Based on a true story and set in a remote Scottish Highlands village, this haunting play concerns the lives of three women from different time periods in the croft's dark history.

Gwen Taylor, who plays 1880s Enid, is best known for playing the title role in sitcom Barbara, Coronation Street and A Bit of a Do.

In 2005, the croft is occupied by Ruth, played by Caroline Harker, known for television's Middlemarch and A Touch of Frost, and in the present day by Laura, played by recent RADA graduate Lucy Doyle.

They are joined by Drew Cain and Simon Roberts.

The play is directed by Philip Franks and produced by The Original Theatre Company.

The Croft visits Everyman Theatre Cheltenham, Derby Theatre, Perth Theatre, Darlington Hippodrome, Palace Theatre Southend, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Ashcroft Playhouse Croydon, Theatr Clwyd Mold, Richmond Theatre, Devonshire Park Theatre Eastbourne and Belgrade Theatre Coventry with further dates to be added.

Faustus: That Damned Woman – tour starts 22 January

Award-winning theatre maker Chris Bush’s gender-swapped Faustus story has its world-première at Lyric Hammersmith, London then tours.

In this new work, Doctor Joanna Faustus is played by Jodie McNee and Mephistopheles is played by Danny Lee Wynter.

They are joined by Katherine Carlton, Alicia Charles, Emmanuella Cole, Barnaby Power and Tim Samuels. Caroline Byrne directs.

Faustus: That Damned Woman is a Headlong and Lyric Hammersmith co-production in association with Birmingham Rep. It is the first commission by Headlong and the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre following their undertaking to commission and produce work of scale written by women.

After playing Lyric Hammersmith Theatre Faustus: That Damned Woman visits Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Leeds Playhouse and Northern Stage Newcastle upon Tyne.

Extraordinary Wall of Silence – tour starts 22 January

Six years in the making, Ad Infinitum’s Extraordinary Wall of Silence is a piece devised by the company and cast based on 40 hours of interviews with deaf people.

Through three coming-of-age stories, it looks at the relatively undocumented history of oppression experienced by deaf people.

Helen, Alan, and Graham are "impaired and need fixing". As they begin to question the world around them, they are taken back to the 1880 Milan Conference and its resolutions on deaf education that would see generations of deaf children put through an abusive regime of speech therapy to make them speak, ‘hear’ and lip read.

Extraordinary Wall of Silence is a bilingual performance in British Sign Language and English performed by three deaf actors and one hearing actor.

George Mann directs the devising cast made up of David Ellington, Matthew Gurney, Moira Anne McAuslan and Deborah Pugh. The additional devising company is comprised of Charlotte Dubery and Mia Ward. The BSL Interpreters are Chris Curran, Paul Mancini, Kyra Pollitt and Rachael Veazey.

Extraordinary Wall of Silence is a Birmingham Hippodrome, Bristol Old Vic, HOME, Newbury Corn Exchange, In Good Company co-commission presented in association with Salisbury Playhouse.

The play visits Birmingham Hippodrome, Nottingham Lakeside Arts, The North Wall Oxford, Edge Hill Arts Centre Lancashire, Corn Exchange Newbury, Arts at Stowe School and HOME Manchester.

Blithe Spirit – tour starts 22 January

Noël Coward's 1941 classic comedy Blithe Spirit is to tour following a successful run at Theatre Royal Bath earlier this year.

BAFTA-winning comedian, actor and screenwriter Jennifer Saunders stars as preposterous clairvoyant Madame Arcati who, together with the original cast of Geoffrey Streatfeild, Lisa Dillon, Emma Naomi, Simon Coates, Lucy Robinson and Rose Wardlaw, all reprise their roles. Sir Richard Eyre directs and illusions are by Paul Kieve.

Blithe Spirit is presented by Theatre Royal Bath Productions, Lee Dean and Jonathan Church Productions.

The show visits Theatre Royal Brighton, Malvern Theatre, Theatre Royal Bath, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Richmond Theatre and Theatre Royal Norwich. Following the tour, the show plays London's West End.