Sandi Toksvig's SILVER LINING and NELL GWYNN in English Touring Theatre Spring Season

English Touring Theatre today announces its spring season which features the world première of Silver Lining, a new comedy written by Sandi Toksvig, and a tour of the critically acclaimed Olivier Award winning Shakespeare's Globe production of Nell Gwynn, starring Laura Pitt-Pulford in the title role. It is the final season under the stewardship of Director Rachel Tackley who is leaving the company to become Executive Director of Chichester Festival Theatre. Richard Tywman takes over, having been Associate Director (International) of The Royal Court Theatre since 2013.

Silver Lining, directed by Rebecca Gatward, is a co-production with Rose Theatre Kingston, where it opens on 8 Februarybefore touring to New Theatre Royal Portsmouth, Oxford Playhouse, Cambridge Arts Theatre, New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich, Theatre by the Lake, York Theatre Royal and the Lowry, while Nell Gwynn opens at the Lowry on 1 March before performances at Theatre Royal Brighton, Malvern Theatre, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Hall for Cornwall, The Grand Blackpool, Edinburgh Kings Theatre and Theatre Royal Bath.

Rachel Tackley said today, "When I was given Silver Lining by the amazing Sandi Toksvig I found myself laughing out loud by page two. It puts strong, resilient woman centre stage and presents some fabulous parts for older actresses, this was clearly an opportunity not to be missed! It's funny, beautiful and thought provoking."

"Following this will be a UK tour of Olivier Award winning Best New Comedy, Nell Gwynn as part of the National Touring Group (NTG). The NTG was set up by ETT with regional partners in order to bring large scale ambitious and engaging theatre to audiences across the UK. After catching a very early preview of Nell Gwynn, I thought it fitted the bill perfectly. It's fun, clever and was a great success in the West End, I am confident that audiences nationwide will love it too."

"Written by two supremely talented women, both plays are lively and witty and are the perfect note for my time as Director of English Touring Theatre to end on. It's been a real joy and I eagerly look forward to Richard Twyman's first season as Director of the company."

Sandi Toksvig commented, "I am so happy that ETT are producing Silver Lining. My ambition was to write a laugh out loud comedy which occasionally also brings a tear to the eye. It is a passion project for me as all the leads are women and the majority are 'women of a certain age.' Britain is blessed with so many great actresses who get too few chances to shine. Now six glorious women will not only shine they will also, I suspect, steal your heart.

Artistic Director of Shakespeare's Globe, Emma Rice said: "I couldn't be more delighted to see Jessica Swale's witty, saucy and tender Nell Gwynn tour with English Touring Theatre. Jessica's spectacular comedy is simply irresistible and brings a lost world of theatre, monarchy and politics to such vivid life, that I was transported from the off. Joyful, surprising and delicious, I hope that as many audiences as possible can experience this landmark production. Here's to Nell and all the power, passion and pleasure she brings. The UK is in for a treat!"

English Touring Theatre and Rose Theatre Kingston present

The world première of

Silver Lining

By Sandi Toksvig

Director: Rebecca Gatward; Designer: Michael Taylor

Sound Designer: Mic Pool; Lighting Designer: Mark Doubleday

Press night: 8 February at Rose Theatre Kingston

And then on UK tour until 8 April

On one dark and stormy night in the upper day room of the Silver Retirement Home, five elderly ladies are trading stories of their remarkable lives. With the storm floods rising and no rescue team in sight, the ladies are faced with the sudden realisation that in order to survive they are going to have to do what they have done for their entire lives - do it themselves!

Silver Lining is the new comedy by Sandi Toksvig. It tells the tale of five extraordinary yet forgotten women, who come together one treacherous night to recreate The Great Escape - senior citizen style!

Sandi Toksvig is a writer, actor, presenter and political activist. Her previous writing for the stage includes the musical Big Night Out at the Little Sands Picture Palace and The Pocket Dream. Until last year she was the presenter of BBC Radio 4'sThe News Quiz and in October 2016 she takes over from Stephen Fry as the host of BBC television quiz show QI. She is the joint founder of the Women's Equality Party which was established in March 2015.

Rebecca Gatward directs. Her theatre credits include The Night Watch (Manchester Royal Exchange), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, Chester), for West Yorkshire Playhouse; The Accrington Pals and Beryl (also Rose Theatre Kingston), The Trial Of Dennis The Menace (Southbank Centre), The Comedy Of Errors, The Merchant Of Venice (Shakespeare's Globe), Pandas (Traverse Theatre), The Indian Boy (RSC Complete Works Festival), The Canterbury Tales directed in partnership with Greg Doran and Jonathan Munby and Thyestes for The Other Place (RSC), Touched (Salisbury Playhouse), Cancer Tales (New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich). She was Company Director on This Is Our Youth with Matt Damon and Casey Affleck at the Garrick Theatre. Her work for television includes EastEnders (winner Broadcast award and soap award nominations for best episode and scene), Casualty, Doctors and Sadie J.

English Touring Theatre in association with Nica Burns, Eleanor Lloyd Productions and Paula Marie Black present the Shakespeare's Globe Production of

Nell Gwynn

By Jessica Swale

Director: Christopher Luscombe; Designer: Hugh Durrant

Composer: Nigel Hess; Choreographer: Charlotte Broom

Lighting Designer: Nick Richings; Sound Designer: Jeremy Dunn

UK tour

1 March - 29 April

1660 Drury Lane. Charles II has cast off London's drab, puritanical past with a love of all things loud and sexy. A young Nell Gwynn is selling oranges for sixpence in the burgeoning West End theatre scene unaware of who is in the audience one fateful night.

Jessica Swale's warm-hearted, bawdy bio-drama (winner of 2016 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy) tells the story of an unlikely heroine, who went from lowly orange seller to win the adoration of the public and the heart of the King.

Jessica Swale is an award-winning playwright and the Artistic Director of Red Handed Theatre Company. Her first play, Blue Stockings was performed at Shakespeare's Globe in 2012 and is a Drama GCSE set text. Other writing includes, All's Will that Ends Will, Thomas Tallis, The Playhouse Apprentice, adaptations of Sense and Sensibility, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Secret Garden, Stig of the Dump and a new play, The Mission, about illegal adoptions in the 1920s. In 2012 she won a BAFTA JJ Screenwriting Bursary and is current commissions include the screenplay of Nell Gwynn for Working Title, the Horrible Histories Movie and Love [Sic], a new play for BBC Radio 4. As director, Swale set up Red Handed Theatre Company in 2006, where her work includes The Belle's Stratagem, The Busy Body, The Rivals, Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (Southwark Playhouse), The School for Scandal (Park Theatre) and Palace of the End (Arcola).

Laura Pitt-Pulford plays Nell Gwynn. Her theatre credits include Flowers for Mrs Harris (Sheffield Crucible), Oliver!, The Sound of Music, Piaf, Hello Dolly! (Curve), The Smallest Show on Earth (UK tour), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), The Return of the Soldier (Jermyn Street Theatre), The Light Princess (National Theatre), A Man of No Importance (Salisbury Playhouse), Mack and Mabel and Parade (Southwark Playhouse), title role in Sweet Charity(Belfast MAC), The Little Prince (Lyric Belfast), Guys and Dolls (UK tour) and Copacabana (Watermill Theatre, Newbury).

Christopher Luscombe directs. His directing credits in London include The Shakespeare Revue (RSC and Vaudeville Theatre),Star Quality and The Madness of George III (Apollo Theatre), Home and Beauty (Lyric Hammersmith), Fascinating Aïda - One Last Flutter and The Rocky Horror Show (Harold Pinter Theatre), The Comedy of Errors, The Merry Wives of Windsor(Shakespeare's Globe), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), Enjoy (Gielgud Theatre), Alphabetical Order (Hampstead Theatre), When We Are Married (Garrick Theatre), Travels With My Aunt (Menier Chocolate Factory) andSpamalot (Playhouse Theatre). His RSC productions of Love's Labour's Lost and Much Ado About Nothing, seen last year in Stratford-upon-Avon, have been screened in cinemas worldwide and released on DVD. They transfer to Chichester later this year, and then to the Theatre Royal, Haymarket for Christmas.



Rose Theatre Kingston

3 - 11 February

Box office: 020 8174 0090

New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth

14 - 18 February

Box office: 023 9264 9000

Oxford Playhouse

21 - 25 February

Box Office: 0844 871 3020

Cambridge Arts Theatre

7 - 11 March

Box office: 01223 503 333

New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

14 - 18 March

Box office: 01473 295 900

Theatre by the Lake, Keswick

21 - 25 March

Box office: 017687 74411

York Theatre Royal

28 March - 1 April

Box Office: 01904 623568

The Lowry, Salford

4 - 8 April

Box office: 0843 208 6000

Nell Gwynn

The Lowry, Salford

1-4 March

Box office: 0843 208 6000

Theatre Royal Brighton

7-11 March

Box office: 0844 871 7627

Malvern Theatre

14-18 March

Box office: 01684 892 277

Cambridge Arts Theatre

21-25 March

Box office: 01223 503 333

Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford

28 March - 1 April

Box office: 01483 440000

Hall for Cornwall

4-8 April

Box office: 01872 262 466

The Grand, Blackpool

11-15 April

Box office: 01253 290 190

Edinburgh Kings Theatre

18-22 April

Box office: 0131 529 6000

Theatre Royal Bath

25-29 April

Box office: 01225 448 844

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From This Author Marianka Swain