The best in young people's theatre needs to be the best in anyone's theatre, says Timothy Ramsden, opening a four-page listing of the season's rep and touring attractions
Greeks and Shakespeare. Dionysus crops up in tragic and comic modes. Kaboodle with their visual and physical flair should be just the people for Euripides' The Bacchae Manchester Library February 6-10, Chipping Norton Theatre February 13-14, Winchester John Stripe February 15-17, Aberystwyth Arts Centre February 20, Marlborough College February 22, Birmingham Midlands Arts Centre February 23-24, Kendal Brewery Arts February 27-28, Leicester Phoenix February 29-March 2, Liverpool Everyman March 4-9, Horsham Arts Centre March 12-13, Brighton Gardner Arts Centre March 14-16, Milford Haven Torch March 19, Swansea Taliesin March 20, Wolverhampton Arena March 21-22.
Aristophanes' Frogs takes the god Dionysus to the Underworld and features the world's oldest known playwrighting competition. The Royal National Theatre's Mobile production visits Canterbury Gulbenkian February 8-10, Cranbrook Queen's Hall February 12-13, Brighton Gardner Arts February 15-17, Taunton Brewhouse February 19-21, Blandford Bryanston Arts February 22-24, Burton-upon-Trent Brewhouse February 27-28, Builth Wells Wyeside March 1-2, Ormskirk Rose March 4-6, Kendal Brewery Arts March 8-9, Belfast Lyric March 11-12, Horsham Christ's Hospital March 18-19, Newbury Corn Exchange March 21, Cardiff Sherman March 22-23, Coleford Royal Forest of Dean College April 23, Tottenham Northumberland Park Community School April 25-26, Lancaster Nuffield April 29-30, Sevenoaks Stag May 2-4, Wafford Palace May 7-11, Cumbemauld Theatre May 13-15, Hexham Queen's Hall May 17-18.
Choose what you will of Twelfth Nights between Oxford Stage Company Oxford Playhouse February 5-17, Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal February 20-24, Stirling MacRobert February 27-March 2, Canterbury Marlowe March 5-9, Cheltenham Everyman March 12-16. Or the Royal Shakespeare Company Plymouth Theatre Royal April 15-20, Edinburgh Festival April 22-27, Norwich Theatre Royal April 29-May 4, Nottingham Theatre Royal May 6-11, Belfast Grand Opera House May 13-18, Woking New Victoria May 20-25.
The Reduced Shakespeare Company's The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) is at Hull New February 4, Brentford Watermans February 6-10, Leicester De Montfort Hall February 12, Ipswich Wolsey February 13-17, Birmingham Rep February 18, Hartlepool Town Hall February 24, Aberdeen His Majesty's February 26. The Complete History of America has some Brentford and Ipswich dates, and is at Cambridge Corn Exchange February 21.
Classical works Compass Theatre's Dr Faustus is at Redhill Harlequin February 6-7, Oundle Stahl February 8-9, Derby Guildhall February 10, Glasgow Tron February 13-17, Ormskirk Rose February 20, Pwllheli Neuadd Dwyfor February 21, Shrewsbury Music Hall February 22, Burnley Mechanics February 23-24, Loughborough Sir Robert Martin February 26, Hereford College of Art Design February 27, Cardigan Theatre Mwldan February 28, Aberystwyth February 29, Brecon Guildhall March 1, Llanwit Major Llanilltud School March 2, Chipping Norton Theatre March 5-6, Edmonton Millfield March 7, Stamford Arts Centre March 8-9, Buxton Opera House March 12-16, Kendal Brewery Arts March 19, Milton Keynes Woughton Centre March 20, Canterbury Gulbenkian March 21, Southampton Gantry March 22, Newport Medina March 23, Stratford-upon-Avon Swan March 26-30, Sheffleld Crucible Studio April 1-6, Huddersfield Lawrence Batley April 9, Hexham Queen's Hall, April 10-11, Stirling MacRobert April 12-13, King's Lynn Arts Centre April 16, Lowestoft Marina April 17, Salisbury Arts Centre April 18-19, Wallingford Corn Exchange April 20, Harlech Theatre Ardudwy April 23, Bangor Theatr Gwynedd April 24-27, Plymouth Drum April 30-May 4, Wellingborough Castle May 7-8, Taunton Brewhouse May 9-11, Winchester John Stripe May 13-14, Swansea Taliesin May 15-16, Gloucester Guildhall May 17, Ludlow Assembly Rooms May 18, Bristol New Vic May 21-25, Middlesbrough Little May 28, Darlington Arts Centre May 29, Birmingham MAC May 30-June 1, Newark Magdalene School June 5, Newbury Corn Exchange June 6, Milford Haven Torch June 7-8, Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal June 10-13, Kimberley Comprehensive School June 14.
Sir John Vanbrugh's The Provoked Wife is toured by Oxford Stage Company to Cheltenham Everyman February 8-17, Warwick Arts Centre February 20-24, Huddersfield Lawrence Batley February 26-March 2, Taunton Brewhouse March 5-9, Oxford Playhouse March 12-16, Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal March 26-30.
English Touring Theatre offer The School For Scandal at Crewe Lyceum April 17-20, Poole Towngate April 23-27, Eastbourne Devonshire Park April 29-May 4, Warwick Arts Centre May 6-11, Buxton Opera House May 14-18, Worthing Connaught May 21-25, Salisbury Playhouse May 28-June 1, Barnstaple Queen's June 4-8, Oxford Playhouse June 11-15, Blackpool Grand June 25-29.
ETT's Hedda Gabler plays Crewe Lyceum February 14-17, Buxton Opera House February 20-24, Coventry Warwick Arts Centre February 26-March 2, Worthing Connaught March 5-9, Dartford Orchard March 12-16, Manchester Library March 19-23, Blackpool Grand March 27-30, Eastbourne Devonshire Park April 1-6.
Good Company director Sue Pomeroy has adapted Pride and Prejudice for Buxton Opera House February 6-10, Ayr Gaiety February 12-17, Kirkcaldy Adam Smith February 19-24, Glasgow Theatre Royal February 26-March 2, Oxford Apollo March 25-30, Sheffield Lyceum April 1-6, Lincoln Theatre Royal April 15-20, Manchester Palace April 29-May 4, Sunderland Empire May 6-11, Nottingham Theatre Royal May 13-18.
From Manchester the Royal Exchange Theatre Company takes Tess of the D'Urbervilles to Wigan Lowton High School May 9-11, Burton-upon-Trent Meadowside Leisure Centre May 13-15, Brighton Festival May 17-21, Gillingham Black Lion Leisure Centre May 23-25, Kingsbridge Leisure Centre May 30-June 1, Chelmsford Riverside Leisure Centre June 3-5, Crewe Shavington Sports Centre, Egremont Wyndham High School, Doncaster Dome and Bedford Alexander Sports Centre.
Strindberg's Miss Julie will have student participation when ATC visits Hemel Hempstead Old Town Hall February 8-10, Wrexham Studio February 12-13, Gainsborough Trinity Arts February 14-15, Kendal Brewery Arts February 16-17, Birmingham University Allardyce Nicoll February 19-20, Reading 21 South Street February 21, Cardiff Sherman February 22-24, Crawley Hawth February 26, Aberdeen Lemon Tree February 28-March 2, Ely Maltings March 6, King's Lynn Arts Centre March 7, Cambridge Drama Centre March 8-9, Wolverhampton Arena March 12-13, Gloucester Guildhall March 14, Frome Merlin March 15-16, Edinburgh Traverse March 20-23, Exeter St Luke's March 26-27, Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal April 11-13.
Method and madness Renamed Cambridge Theatre Company is developing a performance style based on a regular company of four actors in three shows. Jude the Obscure Exeter Northcott February 6-10, York Theatre Royal February 27-March 2, Mold Theatr Clwyd May 28-June 1; Noel Coward's Private Lives Exeter Northcott February 12-17, Poole Towngate February 19-24, Buxton Opera House March 5-9, Taunton Brewhouse April 22-26, Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal April 30-May 4, Coventry Warwick Arts Centre May 20-25, Oxford Playhouse June 3-8; and Philip Osment's new play, Flesh and Blood Exeter Northcott April 10-13, Poole Towngate May 6-11, Coventry Warwick Arts Centre May 20-25, Oxford Playhouse June 3-8.
Modern plays A postwar dissection of family values as Lesley Storm's Black Chiffon is revived at Bath Theatre Royal February 5-10, Poole Towngate February 12-17, Barnstaple Queen's February 19-24, Guildford Yvonne Arnaud February 26-March 2, Richmond Theatre March 4-9, Cardiff New March 11-16, Edinburgh King's March 18-23, Malvern Festival March 25-30, Inverness Eden Court April 8-13, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Theatre Royal April 15-20.
Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead with the Royal National Theatre at Belfast Grand Opera House March 11-16, Bath Theatre Royal April 22-27, Newcastle-uponTyne Theatre Royal April 29-May 4, Sheffield Lyceum May 6- 11, Bradford Alhambra May 13-18.
Ayckbourn's quintet in a pint pot Confusions tours to Richmond Theatre February 5-10, Chichester Festival February 12-17, Windsor Theatre Royal February 19-24, Guildford Yvonne Arnaud March 4-9, Poole Towngate March 11-16.
Camp comedy in Peter Nichols' Privates on Parade at Sheffield Lyceum February 5-10, Richmond Theatre February 12-17, Guildford Yvonne Arnaud February 19-24, Bath Theatre Royal February 26-March 2.
Two Alan Bennett "Talking Heads" - A Woman of No Importance plus A Chip in the Sugar from Livespace at North Walsham Paston Sixth Form College February 7, Potters Bar Wyllotts Centre February 9, Mansfield Community Arts Centre February 15, Sudbury Quay February 16-17, Maidstone Hazlitt February 21, St Albans Maltings February 22, Wellingborough Castle February 23-24, Ulverston Coronation Hall February 28-29.
Out of the Royal Court comes Freud in Terry Johnson's Hysteria at Woking New Victoria February 6-10, Malvern Festival February 12-17, Richmond Theatre February 19-24, Oxford Playhouse February 26-March 2, Windsor Theatre Royal March 4-9, Blackpool Grand March 12-16.
Classic and new play combined in Northern Broadsides' The Cracked Pot, Blake Morrison's reworking of Kleist, at Halifax Viaduct February 8-24, Skipton Cattle Market March 7-9, Barrow-in-Furness Forum 28 March 11-12, Worksop Thoresby Park Indoor Riding Stables March 15-16, Liverpool Everyman March 18-23, Edinburgh Traverse March 28-31, Oldham Coliseum April 2-6.
Michael Frayn's 1995 play Now You Know puts freedom of information to the test at Nottingham Theatre Royal February 19-24, Dartford Orchard February 26-March 2, Malvern Festival March 11-16, Richmond Theatre March 18-23, Chichester Festival March 25-30, Canterbury Marlowe April 1-6, Bath Theatre Royal April 8-13, Darlington Civic April 15-20, Wolverhampton Grand April 22-27, Aberdeen His Majesty's April 29-May 4, Oxford Playhouse May 6-11, Llandudno North Wales Theatre May 13-18, Cardiff New May 20-25, Norwich Theatre Royal May 27-June 1.
Football crazy Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch is a one-man show at Plymouth Drum February 5-10, Leicester City Football Club February 12-15, Oxford Playhouse February 20-24, Hexham Queen's Hall February 27-28, Crewe Lyceum February 29-March 2, Hull Truck March 4-9, Bristol New Vic March 11-16, Liverpool Neptune March 19-23, Worcester Swan March 28-30, Watford Palace April 1-6, Cambridge Corn Exchange April 12, Worthing Connaught April 16-20, Canterbury Marlowe April 22-24, Hartlepool Town Hall April 25, Reading Hexagon April 27, Peterborough Key April 29-May 4, Norwich Playhouse May 30-June 2.
The National Trust centenary is noted in Empty Space's Fav'rite Nation, by Robin Brooks, at Edinburgh Traverse February 9-10, Stratford-upon-Avon Swan February 14-16.
Paines Plough tour Resurrection (see Salisbury) to south of England venues March 12-April 5, then Edinburgh Traverse April 17-21 (0171 284 4483).
Gloria's new piece Lady Into Fox is at Sheffield Crucible Studio March 14-23, East Anglian tour April 22-May 4, Leicester Haymarket Studio May 8-11, Bristol New Vic May 14-18, Brighton Pavilion Music Room May 21-25.
Scarlet Theatre's premiere takes a mum's army for a nationwide trek March 8-May 11 to show The Fruit Has Turned to Jam in the Fields (0181 441 9779).
David Glass Ensemble's play of the Fellini film La Dolce Vita is at Sheffield Crucible February 23-March 9, Ipswich Wolsey March 12-16, Worthing Connaught March 19-23, Birmingham Crescent March 26-30.
And Theatre de Complicite's Robinson Crusoe tale as seen by novelist J M Coetzee in foe visits Oxford Playhouse April 2-6, Blackpool Grand April 11-13, Brighton Gardner Arts April 16-20.
Birth, love, kitchen's and celebration's inspire Trestle Theatre's new Passionfish touring April 18-July 27; Trestle also revives Top Storey from August 1 (0181 441 0349).
Graeae do a Tarantino on Ben Jonson with Trevor Lloyd's Volpone influenced Flesh fly touring to March 30 (0171 267 1959).
The Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg is one of the world's great companies, worth crossing the language barriers especially when surtitles are provided. Its young company's portrait of military life Gaudeamus visits Brighton Corn Exchange May 7-11 and Newcastle-upon-Tyne Playhouse May 14-18, while its view of a traveller's return to modern Russia Claustrophobia is at Nottingham Playhouse May 21-25 and Glasgow Tramway May 28-June 1.
Youth is explored in Black Mime Theatre's Dirty Reality 2 touring to March 28 (0171 928 1311) and the Royal Court touring East Anglia with Nick Grosso's Sweethearts about a young man's hopeless ambitions February 27-March 16 (01223 301 8940).
Hull Truck's Dracula is newly adapted by John Godber and Jane Thornton for Hull University Theatre February 8-10, Coventry Warwick Arts Centre February 13-17, Wakefield Theatre Royal February 19-24, Woking New Victoria February 27-March 2, Jersey Arts Centre March 4-5, St Helens Theatre Royal March 12-16, Buxton Opera House March 19-23, Ayr Gaiety March 28-30, York Grand Opera House April 15-20, Bracknell Wilde April 25-27, Glasgow Old Athenaeum May 7-11, Aberystwyth Arts Centre May 13-14, Swansea Grand May 16-18, Middlesbrough Little May 20-25, Norwich Playhouse May 27-29, Mansfield Palace June 6-8, Taunton Brewhouse June 13-15, Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal June 17-22.
Lottery comedy Lucky Sods visits Wimbledon Theatre February 6-10, Sunderland Empire February 13-17, Brighton Theatre Royal February 21-24, Blackpool Grand February 26-March 2, Halifax Victoria March 5-9, Cheltenham Everyman March 18-23, York Theatre Royal March 26-April 6, Crawley Hawth April 10-13, Liverpool Neptune April 22-27, St Helens Theatre Royal April 30-May 4, Coventry Warwick Arts Centre May 14-18, Ashton-Under-Lyne Tameside May 21-25, Southend-on-Sea Palace May 28-June 1, Reading Hexagon June 5-8, Peterborough Key June 10-15, Oxford Playhouse June 17-22, Darlington Civic June 25-29, Northampton Derngate July 1-6.
Gordon Steel's new play about two 16-year-old girls Like A Virgin tours widely before it reaches Stockton Dovecot June 4-8 (01482 224800).
Regional Companies Comwall's Kneehigh tours south-west England with Nick Darke's new 90-minute play The King of Prussia until March 16 (01872 223159), while Exeter's Theatre Alibi tells Little White Lies in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Gloucestershire plus Croydon Warehouse February 28-March 17, Christchurch Regent Centre March 25 and Bristol Hope Centre March 29 (01392 217315). In the same region Orchard Theatre offers Nick Discombe's story of assorted end-of-the-pier characters in 1982, the end of Billy Fury and the time of the Falklands War; Halfway to Paradise is at Plymouth Drum February 22-March 9 then tours Cornwall, Devon, Bristol, Gloucester and Dorset until April 13 (01271 73356). Geographically distant from these, Live Theatre tours Jim Cartwright's pub play Two in north-east England February 20-March 16 before a week at Live Theatre March 19-24. Then Live take Karen Young's Here I Come from their base, June 4-9, on a regional tour June 11-23 (0191 261 2694). Northumberland Theatre Company have Alex Ferguson's story of old Michael and a Shirley Temple lookalike angel in The Old Man and the Angel between North Yorkshire and Selkirk March 21-April 27 (01665 602586). Communicado revive their Tall Tales for Cold Dark Nights in May and June (0131 228 5465).
Young people's plays The Adventures of Pinocchio from Italy's Teatro Kismet returns (in English) to visit Oxford Playhouse February 20-24, Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal February 27-March 2, Coventry Warwick Arts Centre March 5-9, Halifax Victoria March 12-16, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Playhouse April 2-6.
The Enchanted Toyshop, for 3-9s, reaches Kirkcaldy Adam Smith February 12-14, Wimbledon Theatre February 16-17, Dartford Orchard February 22-24, Southport Arts Centre February 29-March 3, Chatham Central Theatre March 12-13, Oxford Playhouse March 21-22, Epsom Playhouse March 23, Yeovil Octagon March 28-30, Redhill Harlequin April 1-3, Wakefield Theatre Royal April 4-6, Horsham Arts Centre April 8-10.
Birmingham Stage Company tours Roald Dahl's story of Fantastic Mr Fox to Birmingham Old Rep February 7-10, Redhill Harlequin February 13-17, Horsham Arts Centre February 20-24, Eastbourne Devonshire Park February 26-March 2, Bamstaple Queen's March 5-9, Whitley Bay Playhouse March 11-16, Middlesbrough Little March 19-23, Poole Towngate March 26-30, Cheltenharn Everyman April 1-6, Crewe Lyceurn April 9-13, Wakefield Theatre Royal May 14-18, Buxton Opera House, May 21-25, Bradford St George's Hall May 28-June 1, Mold Theatr Clwyd June 4-8, Cardiff Sherman June 11-15, Croydon Ashcroft June 18-22.
Mozart's music arranged by pianist Joanna MacGregor, plus lyrics by Simon Nicholson and book by Nicholson and Richard Williams make up Unicorn Arts Theatre's The Magic Flute at Whitley Bay Playhouse February 6-10, Darlington Civic February 13-17, Wythenshawe Forurn February 20-24, Swindon Wyvern February 26-March 2, High Wycombe Swan March 5-9.
Parasol Productions take The Snow Queen to Rhyl New Pavilion February 8-10, Taunton Brewhouse February 15-17, Colchester Mercury February 19-21. More Adventures of Noddy by David Wood for 3-8s is at Hull New February 7-10, Edinburgh Festival February 14-17, Reading Hexagon, February 21-24, Manchester Opera House February 28-March 2, Poole Towngate March 5-9, Canterbury Marlowe March 12-16, Darlington Civic March 26-30, Southampton Mayflower April 4-6, Croydon Ashcroft April 9-13, Birmingham Alexandra April 16-20, Llandudno North Wales Theatre April 24-27, Crawley Hawth May 1-4, Norwich Theatre Royal May 8-11, Oxford Playhouse May 14-18, Blackpool Grand May 21-25, Cardiff New May 28-June 1, Richmond Theatre June 4-8, Liverpool Empire June 12-15, Northampton Derngate June 18-22, York Grand Opera House June 25-29, Bristol Hippodrome July 3-6.
A Scottish tour from TAG for Sue Glover's Artist Unknown in which a girl at an art exhibition is led to become an artist by the spirits of women painters past; touring to March 23 (0141 429 2877).
For up to 6s Norwich Puppet Theatre's 35-minute Thumbelina performs in Norwich February 17 April 6, West Yorkshire Playhouse March 19-23, Haverhill Town Hall Arts Centre March 30, Bradford Alhambra April 2-3. Quicksilver's Friendly Feelings by Carey English tours May 1-July 4 (0171 241 2942). Polka Theatre presents the further adventures of Stardog in How Does Your Garden Grow? by Vicky Ireland. Fifty minutes of horticultural mayhem in East Anglia, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Kent, Oxfordshire and Surrey February 27-May 4 (0181 543 4888). And Charles Way's A Spell of Cold Weather is taken far and wide by Theatre Centre (0171 354 0110).