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The play is now planned to open on Friday 7 May and tour until Saturday 3 July 2021.


Revised tour dates have been announced for The Greatest Play in the History of the World... starring multi-award winning, BAFTA nominated actress Julie Hesmondhalgh. The play, which had been due to open at Hull Truck Theatre on Friday 29 January and tour until Saturday 20 March is now planned to open on Friday 7 May and tour until Saturday 3 July 2021. The week at Theatre by the Lake unfortunately will not be rescheduled to the new tour dates.

The Greatest Play in the History of the World... takes us on a heartfelt journey that starts and ends in a small, unassuming house on a quiet suburban road. Julie narrates this story of two neighbours and the people on their street, as she navigates us through the nuances of life, the possibilities of science and the meaning of love.

This breathtaking Edinburgh Fringe 2018 hit sell-out show ran at the Traverse Theatre during the festival before transferring to Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre Studio in September 2018 and to London's West End in December 2019. The Greatest Play in the History of the World..., which was originally produced in association with Royal Exchange Theatre, returns as we navigate coronavirus restrictions. The show has been adapted especially for the tour in light of these new times and performances will be housed in the larger spaces of each theatre.

Written by the actress's Bruntwood Award winning writer husband Ian Kershaw (Coronation Street, Cold Feet, Shameless), the production reunites her with award-winning director Raz Shaw who she worked with on the critically-acclaimed production of WIT at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre in 2016.

"A man wakes in the middle of the night to discover that the world has stopped. Through the crack in his bedroom curtains he can see no signs of life at all...other than a light in the house opposite where a woman in an over-sized Bowie T-shirt stands, looking back at him..."

Performer Julie Hesmondhalgh said: "I had a notion, a romantic notion, that my husband, the writer Ian Kershaw, should write a one woman show for me and we could tour it together into our dotage, like travelling troubadours (or something). A couple of Christmasses ago he kept disappearing to the cellar for an hour at a time, wrapping presents maybe, I thought. And then he presented me with this lovely thing. A beautiful play, a love story, but a universal one (literally!) about learning in time what matters in the end, about leaving a mark on the world (and maybe beyond) that shows us, the human race, in all its glorious messiness, confusion and joy. It was the best present I ever got. In these dark and confusing times, it offers a bit of love and light as we end this difficult year and enter 2021 with fresh hope."

Julie Hesmondhalgh is best known for her award-winning portrayal of Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street, a role she left after 16 years and won multiple awards including an RTS Award for Best Performance (2013), a National TV Award for Best Serial Drama Performance (2014) and a Best Actress Award at the British Soap Awards (2014). Her theatre credits include The Report with Lemn Sissay and God Bless the Child (Royal Court), Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster, Blindsided, WIT, The Almighty Sometimes and Mother Courage (Royal Exchange Theatre). She has also starred in television shows including Catastrophe, Doctor Who, Broadchurch, Happy Valley and Black Roses (RTS Award for Best Actress 2015) and upcoming Glass Houses and The A Word (Series 3). Film credits include Peterloo.

Ian Kershaw is an award-winning writer whose credits include The Mist in the Mirror, Star-Cross'd (Manchester Theatre Award winner), Union Street and Bread & Roses (all Oldham Coliseum). Television includes Coronation Street, Cold Feet, EastEnders, Death In Paradise, Shameless, The Mill and the BBC2 film Castles in the Sky. Radio includes Lost & Found (Radio Academy Award winner) for BBC Radio 4.

Raz Shaw is an award-winning director whose credits include The Producers, WIT (Best Director - UK Theatre Awards 2016), Things of Dry Hours and The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek (all Royal Exchange Theatre), The God of Soho, A Midsummer Night's Dream (P.E.N. Award) and Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare's Globe), Wie Es Will Gefallt (Bremer Shakespeare Company), The Talented Mr Ripley (Theatre Royal, Northampton), Othello, Woman in Mind and Be My Baby (Salisbury Playhouse), Factory Girls and Torn (The Arcola), Gambling (Royal Court/Soho Theatre). His first book, Death and the Elephant: How Cancer Saved My Life, was released last year.


Performed by Julie Hesmondhalgh Written by Ian Kershaw

Directed by Raz Shaw Designer Naomi Kuyck-Cohen

Lighting Designer Jack Knowles Sound Designer Mark Melville

Produced by Tara Finney Productions in association with Hull Truck Theatre

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