Rita is coming to Newcastle

Published: 20 April 2021
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Stephen Tompkinson (Frank) and Jessica Johnson (Rita) Credit: Nobby Clark
Stephen Tompkinson (Frank) Credit: Nobby Clark
Jessica Johnson (Rita) Credit: Nobby Clark

The 40th anniversary tour of Educating Rita will finally reach Newcastle in September this year.

The tour, which stars Teessider Stephen Tompkinson and Wearside-born Jessica Johnson and is directed by Newcastle’s Max Roberts, for many years Artistic Director of Live Theatre, was due to reach Newcastle’s Theatre Royal in 2020 after a pause in August 2019 after a week of performances (the fifteenth week of the tour) at Darlington Hippodrome, but of course the pandemic hit and the tour ground to a halt.

It will resume at Southampton’s MAST Mayflower Studios on 20 July and will visit Northampton, Kingston, Cheltenham, York and Horsham before arriving at Newcastle Theatre Royal where it will run from 13 to 18 September.

A Theatre by the Lake production, produced by David Pugh, Educating Rita is designed by Patrick Connellan, with lighting design by Drummond Orr and sound by David Flynn.

“Rita is the most extraordinary character—she wanted to change and learn so much and that's everything we're all going through at the moment, to adapt to the world as it is now,” said David Pugh. “What we know is that Educating Rita gives you a great night out at the theatre and that's the best any of us can hope for.”