London Classic Theatre to Launch New Tour of Harold Pinter's THE BIRTHDAY PARTY

Following successful tours of Alan Ayckbourn's Absent Friends and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot in 2015, today London Classic Theatre Artistic Director Michael Cabot announces a new production of Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party. Cabot directs a cast including Jonathan Ashley (Goldberg), Gareth Bennett-Ryan (Stanley), Cheryl Kennedy (Meg), Ged McKenna (Petey), Declan Rodgers (McCann) and Imogen Wilde (Lulu). The production tours to 37 venues around the UK this spring/summer, starting at Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham on 17 February.

"There's a gentleman living here. He's got a birthday today, and he's forgotten all about it. So we're going to remind him. We're going to give him a party."

A shabby boarding house in a small English seaside town. An elderly couple take care of a solitary guest, who rarely ventures out. The arrival of two enigmatic strangers seems to offer a welcome distraction from their mundane existence. But when an impromptu, seemingly innocent birthday party abruptly turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse, there are horrifying repercussions.

By turns, cryptic thriller and macabre comedy, The Birthday Party was Harold Pinter's first major work and is among the most unusual and absorbing of his plays. London Classic Theatre presents the first significant touring revival of the twenty-first century, promising to bring this ground-breaking classic to fresh and exhilarating life.

Playwright, director, actor, poet and political activist, Harold Pinter was born on 10 October 1930 in East London. He wrote twenty-nine plays including Betrayal, Old Times, The Homecoming and The Caretaker. In 2005, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Jonathan Ashley plays Goldberg. For the company, he has appeared in Waiting for Godot, Entertaining Mr Sloane, The Importance of Being Earnest and The Double Inconstancy. His other theatre credits include The Tempest and Hansel and Gretel (Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds), Abigail's Party, Arsenic and Old Lace, Dick Barton and the Secret of the Pharoah's Tomb, One for the Pot, Ladies in Retirement, Hay Fever and Salad Days (Southwold Summer Theatre), The Hooligan Clown (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), Scapin's Tricks and The Winter's Tale (Wimbledon Studio Theatre), Waiting for Godot and The Dumb Waiter (Albany Empire) and Landscape (Finborough Theatre).

Gareth Bennett-Ryan plays Stanley. His theatre credits include The History Boys, Macbeth (Mercury Colchester), Farm Boy (New Perspectives), As You Like It, Macbeth (Shakespeare's Globe), Generation of Z Apocalypse (Royale Productions), Much Ado About Nothing, Antony and Cleopatra (Cambridge Shakespeare Festival), Dick Whittington, Mother Goose (Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds), The Mermaids Curse (SKiP), The Shoemakers Holiday (The Rose) and NewsRevue (2008 Season tour). For television, he has appeared in Shakespeare Uncovered, Word on the Street, Arthur & Merlin, Woodfalls , Mercenaries, 7th Soldier, From This Day, Wounded , Dead Unicorns.

Cheryl Kennedy plays Meg. Her theatre credits include The Boy Friend (Comedy Theatre), 1776 (New Theatre), Time and Time Again (West End), Absent Friends (Garrick Theatre), Flowers for Algerson (Queen's Theatre), The Mousetrap (St Martins Theatre), My Fair Lady (US tour), First Impressions, You Never Can Tell, Brand, Teeth N' Smiles, Time and the Conways, Mrs Warren's Profession, Moll Flanders, Great Expectations, How the Other Half Loves, Man of the Moment, Heartbreak House and Season's Greetings (all UK tours). Cheryl's TV credits include The Sweeney, The Professionals, What Every Woman Knows and Brookside.

Ged McKenna plays Petey. His theatre work includes A Skull in Connemara (Nottingham Playhouse), Inherit The Wind, Kes, Toad of Toad Hall, Big Maggie, Second From Last in The Sack Race, Translations, Cleo Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick (New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme), Much Ado About Nothing, Hercules (Chester), Hysteria (English Theatre of Frankfurt), Faith Healer (Library Theatre, Manchester), To Kill A Mockingbird, Wuthering Heights (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Katherine De Souza, Forward (Birmingham Rep), The Lonesome West (Hull Truck), Strangers On A Train, Ghosts, Sailor Beware! (Theatre by the Lake, Keswick), Iron (Traverse, Edinburgh/Royal Court, London), The Farmer's Bride by Ged McKenna (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough/Tour), The Tempest, Desire Under The Elms (Shared Experience), Macbeth (Cheek By Jowl) and Yard (Bush). His film credits include Shirley Valentine and Awaydays.

Declan Rodgers plays McCann. His theatre credits include I'm With The Band (Traverse Theatre & UK Tour), Can't Forget About You (Lyric Theatre), Shoot The Crow (Trafalgar Studios), Carousel (Bush), Service (Nilon Productions/Theatre 503), Hope Dies Last (Arcola Theatre) and City (Encounter Productions). Television credits include Six Degrees and In Cold Blood. His film credits include Shooting For Socrates, You Looking At Me? and The Minnits of Annabeg.

Imogen Wilde plays Lulu. She finished her training at Drama Studio in 2015. Since then she acted in Scrooge (Bill Kenwright Productions), Punk Rock (D&M Productions), Puss In Boots and White Feathers (Bread & Roses).

Michael Cabot is the founder and Artistic Director of London Classic Theatre. He has directed all thirty-four LCT productions since their debut in 1993. These have included Waiting for Godot, Absent Friends, Entertaining Mr Sloane, Betrayal, The Importance of Being Earnest, Equus, Ghosts, After Miss Julie and The Caretaker. He has overseen the company's transition from one of the success stories of the London Fringe in the late nineties to its current position as one of the UK's most prolific touring companies. As a director, his other work includes Pera Palas (Arcola), The Power of Love (Southwark Playhouse), Marat/Sade (Arcola), Tattoo (New Grove), and most recently Henry Naylor's The Collector at the Arcola, which previously won a Fringe First at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival.

London Classic Theatre

In April 2000, London Classic Theatre was launched as a touring theatre company with David Mamet's Oleanna. This inaugural tour lost a small fortune but doors had opened and, crucially, the work was being seen. Sixteen years and thirty-four tours later, London Classic Theatre is now a successful, established part of the commercial UK touring theatre scene. The company has never received any funding or sponsorship for its work. As Artistic Director, Michael Cabot has programmed a repertoire of classic and modern classic plays, a mixture of the challenging and the commercial, big titles and less well-known, including two UK premières - Hugh Leonard's Love in the Title and Joanna Murray- Smith's Nightfall. As venues and audiences have become more familiar with the work, he has been able to push the boundaries of what LCT offers, both in ambition, scale and complexity.

London Classic Theatre - in numbers...

· 34 tours since 2000

· 27 productions

· 245 venues visited

· 412 weeks of touring

· 290,000 miles covered

· Over 2200 performances

· Over 450,000 tickets sold

· 146 actors

· 16 designers

· 2 UK premières

· 4 Harold Pinter plays

· 2 Patrick Marber plays

· 2 Marivaux plays in new translation

· Longest tour Equus - 35 weeks and 198 performances

· Shortest tour The Game of Love and Chance - 5 weeks and 22 performances

· £0 public subsidy

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY LISTINGS

UK & IRELAND TOUR DATES - WINTER TO SUMMER 2016

17-20 February Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

01242 572573 https://www.everymantheatre.org.uk

23-24 February Norwich Playhouse

01603 598598 www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk

25-27 February Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

01284 755127 www.theatreroyal.org

1-2 March Key Theatre, Peterborough

01733 207239 www.vivacity-peterborough.com/venues/key-theatre

3 March Theatr Hafren, Newtown

01686 614555 www.thehafren.co.uk

4-5 March Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton

01902 321321 www.wlv.ac.uk/arena-theatre

8-9 March Civic Theatre, Chelmsford

01245 606505 www.chelmsford.gov.uk/theatres

10 March The Theatre, Chipping Norton

01608 642350 www.chippingnortontheatre.co.uk

12 March Middlesbrough Theatre

01642 815181 www.middlesbroughtheatre.co.uk

22-26 March New Vic, Newcastle-under-Lyme

01782 717962 www.newvictheatre.org.uk

7 April Queen's Hall, Hexham

01434 652477 www.queenshall.co.uk

8-9 April Gala Theatre, Durham

03000 266600 www.galadurham.co.uk

11-13 April Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne

01323 415500 www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk

14 April Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells

01892 678678 www.trinitytheatre.net

15 April The Castle, Wellingborough

01933 270 007 www.thecastle.org.uk

16 April Coliseum, Aberdare

01685 882380 coliseum.rct-arts.org

19-20 April Theatre Royal, Winchester

01962 840440 www.theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk

21 April Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl

01656 815995 www.grandpavilion.co.uk

22 April Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon

01874 611622 www.brycheiniog.co.uk/

23 April Aberystwyth Arts Centre

01970 623232 www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk

25-27 April Harlow Playhouse

01279 431945 www.playhouseharlow.com

28 April Gulbenkian, Canterbury

01227 769075 www.thegulbenkian.co.uk

29 April New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth

02392 649000 www.newtheatreroyal.com

30 April Cornerstone, Didcot

01235 515144 www.cornerstone-arts.org

3-7 May Oldham Coliseum

01616 242829 www.coliseum.org.uk

10-14 May New Wolsey, Ipswich

01473 295900 www.wolseytheatre.co.uk

16-21 May Everyman, Cork

+353 21 450 1673 www.everymancork.com

24, 25 May Riverside Theatre, Coleraine

028 7012 3123 www.riversidetheatre.org.uk

26 May An Grianan, Letterkenny

+353 74 91 20777 www.angrianan.com

27 May Market Place, Armagh

028 3752 1821 www.marketplacearmagh.com

28 May Garage Theatre, Monaghan

+353 47 81597 www.garagetheatre.com

30 May - 4 June Gaiety Theatre, Dublin

+353 818 719 388 www.gaietytheatre.ie

7 June Palace Theatre, Mansfield

01623 633133 www.mansfield.gov.uk/palacetheatre

8 June Cast, Doncaster

01302 303959 https://castindoncaster.com

9 June Alban Arena, St Albans

01727 844488 https://www.alban-arena.co.uk

10 June Theatre Royal, Margate

01843 292795 http://theatreroyalmargate.com/

14-18 June Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

024 7655 3055 www.belgrade.co.uk


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