European Arts Company's THE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE Sets Trafalgar Studios Transfer
Following a 43 date UK Tour and sell out run at St James Theatre, European Arts Company have announced that The Trials of Oscar Wilde is transferring to Trafalgar Studios for a strictly limited four week run. The production will open on Monday 13th October, in celebration of Oscar Wilde's 160th birthday that same week, and will run until Saturday 8th November. Press Night is scheduled for Tuesday 14th October at 7.00pm. A special Birthday Gala performance will take place on Thursday 16th October at 7.45pm (Oscar's Birthday) with further details to be announced soon.
Thursday 14 February 1895 was the triumphant opening night of The Importance of Being Earnest and the zenith of Oscar Wilde's career. Less than 100 days later he found himself a common prisoner and sentenced to two years hard labour. But what happened during the trials and what did Wilde say? Was he harshly treated or the author of his own downfall? Using the actual words spoken in court, we can feel what it was like to be in the company of a flawed genius - as this less than ideal husband was tragically reduced to a man of no importance.
Merlin Holland says: 'I am absolutely thrilled that the play will be transferring to the West End, especially as the transfer will take place in the same week as his 160th birthday (16th October). The production gained great plaudits as it travelled around the UK with many sell out shows. Over the years, there have been a number of attempts to tell the story of my grandfather on stage but none of them have really managed to bring alive the drama of Oscar's courtroom appearances. Using the actual words from the libel trial, recently discovered more than a hundred years after the event, and with a careful reconstruction of Wilde's prosecution by the Crown for homosexuality, it's a chance for audiences to see the real Oscar for the first time. This production shows him fighting for his art as well as his life and we get a real sense of Oscar's intellect at full stretch - his complexity, wit and deep humanity.'
The West End run of The Trials of Oscar Wilde will also help to support the educational work of the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall.
Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall says: 'Despite being one of the best-loved and most influential playwrights of all time, some people don't know that Oscar Wilde was persecuted for his sexuality. 'The Trials of Oscar Wilde' helps to show these parts of Wilde's life and beautifully illustrates the complexity of a true genius. We're thrilled that European Arts Company are supporting our work and delighted that money raised from the West End run will support our work to tackle homophobic bullying in schools.'
The show features a talented cast familiar from stage and screen, including John Gorick (Holby City), Rupert Mason (Eastenders, A Touch of Frost) and William Kempsell. It is directed by Peter Craze (Doctor Who, Blake's Seven) with Lighting design by Duncan Hands and Set/Costume design by Dora Schweitzer. The Trials of Oscar Wilde is produced by John O'Connor for European Arts Company, is supported by Arts Council England (through the grants for the arts scheme) and by Unity Theatre Trust.
EAC is a national and international touring theatre company based at the Hazlitt Theatre in Maidstone, Kent. For the past 12 years, they have been touring classic plays all over the UK, Ireland, Germany, Greece and Italy. They are delighted that their hard work and perseverance over the past decade has seen them rewarded with their first West End production.