European Arts Company Launches UK Tour of THE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE Tonight

European Arts Company Launches UK Tour of THE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE Tonight

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 bankrupt, 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.

European Arts Company is set to tour to 43 venues in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with a new show about the libel and criminal trials of Oscar Wilde. The Trials of Oscar Wilde has been co-written with Merlin Holland who is Oscar Wilde's grandson and author of 'Irish Peacock and Scarlet Marquess: The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde'.

Merlin Holland says: 'I'm delighted to be working with European Arts Company on a dramatised version of the trials of my grandfather, Oscar Wilde. Over the years, there have been a number of attempts to tell the story on stage but none of them has 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 new 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 Trials of Oscar Wilde features a talented cast familiar from stage and screen, including John Gorick (Holby City and Understudy for Rowan Atkinson in Quartermaine's Terms), Rupert Mason (Eastenders, A Touch of Frost) and William Kempsell. It is directed by Peter Craze (Doctor Who, Blake's Seven). With a lighting design by Duncan Hands and Set/Costume design by Dora Schweitzer.

The Trials of Oscar Wilde is supported by Arts Council England (through the grants for the arts scheme) and by Unity Theatre Trust, in association with Stonewall.

European Arts Company 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. For more, go to or follow @EuropeanArtsCo on Twitter.

John O'Connor: Producer and Co-Writer John founded European Arts Company in 2002 and their first production was a British Council sponsored tour of Greece with Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter & The Lover. Since then, the company has toured all over the UK, Ireland, Greece, Germany and Italy with 23 shows which have delighted audiences everywhere. More recently, the company has been touring Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray to 75 towns and cities throughout Italy, performing to 150,000 people. Other recent Wilde productions include The Importance of Being Earnest (2011-12) and Lady Windermere's Fan (2009-10). In 2013, EAC performed the much loved Four Farces on tour and at Wilton's Music Hall in London which Libby Purves in The Times described as 'half archeological curiosity, half timeless fun...a perfectly judged rendering by European Arts Company.'

Merlin Holland: Co-Writer is a biographer and editor and is the only grandchild of Oscar Wilde. For the last 30 years Holland has studied and researched Wilde?s life. He is the co-editor, with Rupert Hart-Davis, of The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, and the editor of Irish Peacock and Scarlet Marquess, the first uncensored version of his grandfather's 1895 trials. Holland has also written The Wilde Album, a small volume that included hitherto unpublished photographs of Wilde. The book focuses on how the scandal caused by Wilde's trials affected his family, most notably his wife, Constance, and their children, Cyril and Vyvyan. In 2006, his book Oscar Wilde: A Life in Letters was published, and his volume Coffee with Oscar Wilde, an imagined conversation with Oscar, was released in the autumn of 2007. Holland also wrote A Portrait of Oscar Wilde (2008), which reveals Wilde through manuscripts and letters from the Lucia Moreira Salles collection, located at the The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City.

Peter Craze: Director Peter has recently returned from America, where he directed Picasso at the Lapin Agile by Steve Martin in Hartford, Connetticut and Blithe Spirit in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His directing has taken him all over the world including Japan, Germany, France and the USA. He has worked in San Francisco, Miami and New York where he directed the only ever Staged Reading of Samuel Beckett's first play Elutheria at Theatre Workshop, NY. He has directed in London and in Regional English Theatre. As an actor, he has worked extensively in Film, Theatre, Radio and Television appearing in many series including EastEnders, Minder, Blake's 7 and Dr Who.

John Gorick : Actor - Oscar Wilde: Theatre Credits include: Rowan Atkinson's understudy in Quatermaine's Terms in the West End; Future Delivery, Without Permission both for Fluxx Theatre. Television and Film Credits include: Holby City (BBC), The 13th Day (13th Day Films).

Rupert Mason: Actor - Edward Carson, Lord Queensberry, Alfred Wood, Charles Gill, Fred Atkins, Jane Cotter: Theatre Credits Include: Deathtrap, Norman Conquests, The Importance of Being Ernest (Sheringham Little Theatre); The Hound of the Baskervilles (Mercury Theatre); Black Comedy (Colorado Festival of World Theatre). Television Credits include: A Touch of Frost (ITV), The Queens Lover, Eastenders, The Kings Servant and Hard Times (BBC)

William Kempsell: Actor - Sir Edward Clarke, Sidney Wright, William Allen, Charles Parker, Antonio Migge: Theatre Credits Include: The Mystery of Irma Vep - 2014 best actor nominee in the Off West End Awards (Jack Studio Theatre) ; Running on Empty (Soho Theatre); The Tinderbox, Beauty & The Beast (Globe Players); For Services Rendered (Union Theatre); Tea With The Jones' (Lattitude Festival). Television Credits Include: A Cloud Upon The Slope (NHK) and numerous commercials including Morrisons, AXA Insurance, Nationwide and ASDA


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