Theatre preview

4th February 2000 at 00:00
A four-page guide to spring repertory and touring productions, compiled by Timothy Ramsden.

An astonishing variety of theatre is visiting every part of the country, be it coming in a suitcase or a fleet of vans transporting complicated scenery. Not only purpose-built theatres, but also schools, colleges, village and civic halls and arts centres are hosting performances this spring.

The Royal Shakespeare Company is sending that controversial battle of the sexes, The Taming of the Shrew, to schools and leisure centres in the likes of Ebbw Vale and Barnsley - excellent places but not noted for professional theatre. The RSC is visiting established theatres too, with Shakespeare and Chekhov, and has a six-show residency at Plymouth.

Not far from the RSC's Warwickshire base is Birmingham Rep, which matches bold, big stage productions with new plays in The Door, its oddly named studio. This is currently the most consistently exciting programme of new work in the country.

Theatre is well placed to discuss the state of a nation. In Wales this month and next, Mold and Cardiff are presenting The Alexander Cordell Trilogy, adaptations of three novels exploring a family's struggle to survive and retain their values against the hardships of 19th-century industrialisation. From Cardiff too, the Sherman Theatre sets out on tour with its revival of Everything Must Go, Patrick Jones's explosive attack on New Deal Wales, where it seems life can be as harsh now as it was 50 years ago. The play packed the Sherman with young people last year.

Although the main theatres attract mostly secondary school and college groups - and not just to the obvious set texts - primary, infant and early years teachers need not feel left out. Companies such as Theatre Centre, Quicksilver, Pop-Up and Garlic Theatre offer an array of high-quality work for the young. It is visual, poetic, colourful, often runs for 45 minutes to an hour and, while being audience friendly and entertaining, it touches on deep issues that resonate in the developing imagination.

Theatre Centre, for example, is reviving Brendan Murray's How High is Up?, which uses the changing seasons to reflect positively on bereavement. I've seen an infant class entranced (and not at all distressed) by it. Pop-Up's Breaking the Ice, for up to eight-year-olds, offers bright colours, songs and a story which encompasses the sun and moon, plus a comical family which is bound by routine. With good humour it invites young audiences to consider how destructive quarrels can be but also how deadly dull life becomes if people never stand up for their ideas. Such shows often play in schools, but have public performances too, which gives teachers a chance to see them and then consider taking a class along - or book the show into school.


Theatre Royal July 31-August 5.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses Christopher Hampton's adaptation of Laclos's novel goes to Guildford Yvonne Arnaud February 8-19, Sheffield Lyceum February 22-26, Bath Theatre Royal February 28-March 4, Birmingham Alexandra March 7-11, Norwich Theatre Royal March 14-18, Milton Keynes Theatre March 20-25, Nottingham Theatre Royal March 27-April 1, Aberdeen His Majesty's April 4-8, Edinburgh Festival April 11-15, Blackpool Grand April 18-22, Wolverhampton Grand May 2-6, Newcastle upon Tyne Theatre Royal May 9-13, Salford Lowry May 16-20, Canterbury Marlowe May 23-27, Brighton Theatre Royal May 30-June 3, Richmond Theatre June 6-10.

The Seagull Royal Shakespeare Company tour Chekhov's early masterpiece to Norwich Theatre Royal February 29-March 4, Woking New Victoria March 7-11, Milton Keynes Theatre March 14-18, Bath Theatre Royal March 21-25, Sheffield Lyceum March 28-April 1, Newcastle upon Tyne Theatre Royal April 4-8.

Sense and Sensibility Northcott Theatre at Southend-on-Sea Palace April 4-22, Cambridge Arts May 1-6, Coventry Belgrade May 8-20, Basingstoke Haymarket May 22-June 3.

She Stoops to Conquer Compass visit Lancaster Dukes February 7-8, Oundle Stahl February 9-10, Stamford Arts February 11-12, Spalding South Holland Centre February 15, Manchester Wythenshawe Forum February 16-19, Barnsley Lamproom February 22, Aberystwyth Arts February 23, Luton St George's February 24-26, Leicester Haymarket Studio February 29-March 4, Bracknell Wilde March 7-11, Bath Ustinov March 13-18, Redhill Harlequin March 21-22, Harlow Playhouse March 23, Canterbury Gulbenkian March 24-25.

Modern Drama Art Birmingham Rep tour Yasmina Reza's hit about three friends and a minimalist canvas to Cambridge Arts February 14-19, Edinburgh King's February 21-26, Canterbury Marlowe February 28-March 4, Chichester Festival March 7-11, Sheffield Lyceum March 13-18, Newcastle Theatre Royal March 20-25, Oxford Playhouse March 27-April 1, Malvern Festival April 3-8, Bath Theatre Royal April 10-15, Cardiff New April 17-22, Aberdeen His Majesty's April 254-30, Brighton Theatre Royal May 1-6, Guildford Yvonne Arnaud May 8-13, Norwich Theatre Royal May 15-20.

Animal Farm Northern Stage's adaptation of Orwell's novel at Derby Playhouse February 29-March 11, Sheffield Crucible March 14-18, Bracknell Wilde March 28-April 1.

Balti Kings Tamasha tour Sudha Bhuchar and Shaheen Khan's comedy of Bollywood, "curryoke" and a last attempt to prevent the big boys moving in on a balti paradise, at Bristol Old Vic March 8-11, Huddersfield Lawrence Batley March 14-15, Oxford Playhouse March 17-18, Manchester Contact March 21-25, Plymouth Drum March 28-April 1.

Berkoff's Women Linda Marlowe collects the characters from her famous collaborator, at Bath Ustinov until February 5, Darlington Arts February 9, Weymouth College February 15, Plymouth Drum March 7-11, Chipping Norton Theatre March 16-17, Eastleigh Point March 23, Camberley Arts Link March 24, Isle of Wight Newport Quay March 25.

A Clockwork Orange Northern Stage with a dance-influenced version of Burgess's visions of violence in the future, at Derby Playhouse February 17-26, Southend-on-Sea Cliffs April 11-15, Poole Towngate April 18-22, Cambridge Corn Exchange May 2-5, Salford Lowry May 10-13, Eastbourne Devonshire Park May 23-27, Edinburgh King's May 30-June 3.

The Contract Orchard Theatre with John Eggleston's psycho-horror play about a woman and an obsessive man, at Ilfracombe Landmark February 24-25, Salisbury Playhouse February 26, Bridport Arts February 29, Truro College March 1, Bath Rondo March 2-3, Crediton Drama Centre March 8, Bridgewater Arts March 9, Bristol QEH March 10, Plymouth Drum March 15-18, Exeter Phoenix March 20, Barnstaple North Devon College March 21, Penzance Acorn March 22.

East Steven Berkoff piles on the vileness of East End life with his portrayal of young and old in a family, Southend-on-Sea Palace February 14-19, Leeds West Yorkshire Playhouse February 21-26, Dartford Orchard February 24-March 4, Cambridge Arts March 20-25, Bristol Old Vic March 27-April 1, Nottingham Playhouse April 3-8, Liverpool Everyman April 11-15. School workshops.

Everything Must Go Sherman Theatre tour Patrick Jones's look at frustration among young people in Wales, at Manchester Contact March 14-18, Blackwood Miners' March 21-25, Sheffield Crucible March 29-April 1, Swansea Grand April 4-8, Belfast Young at Art May 30-June 4.

Flesh and Blood Sherman Theatre with Helen Griffin's problem Welsh family - it's a comedy, at Swansea Grand February 29-March 4, Newtown Theatr Hafren March 15, Milford Haven Torch March 17-18.

Gasping Ben Elton's satire at Bromley Churchill until February 5, Woking New Victoria February 7-12, Malvern Festival February 14-19, Richmond Theatre February 21-26, Nottingham Theatre Royal February 28-March 4, Milton Keynes Theatre March 6-11, Coventry Belgrade March 13-18, Canterbury Marlowe March 20-25, Manchester Palace March 27-April 1, York Grand Opera April 3-8, Wolverhampton Grand April 10-15, Brighton Theatre Royal April 17-22, Cambridge Arts April 24-29, Blackpool Grand May 1-6, Aberdeen His Majesty's May 8-13, Edinburgh King's May 15-20, Oxford Playhouse May 22-27, Sheffield Lyceum May 29-June 3, Bath Theatre Royal June 5-10.

Making Noise Quietly Oxford Stage Company revive Robert Holman's three short plays about war at Richmond Theatre until February 5, Southend-on-Sea Palace February 7-12, Poole Towngate February 15-19, Guildford Yvonne Arnaud February 21-26, Liverpool Everyman February 29-March 4, Brighton Gardner March 7-11.

Master Class Terrence McNally on Maria Callas at Canterbury Marlowe February 7-12, Norwich Theatre Royal February 15-19, Poole Towngate February 21-26, Sheffield Lyceum February 28-March 4, Newcastle upon Tyne Theatre Royal March 6-11.

Mother Courage and Her Children Shared Experience with Brecht's Thirty Years War epic at Guildford Yvonne Arnaud March 9-18, Oxford Playhouse March 21-25, Brighton Theatre Royal March 28-April 1, Leeds West Yorkshire Playhouse April 4-8, Sheffield Crucible April 11-15.

The Riot Kneehigh revive Nick Darke's tale of trouble in t' fisheries, at Truro Hall for Cornwall February 9-12, Blackpool Grand February 17-19, Newcastle upon Tyne Playhouse March 1-4, Sheffield Crucible March 7-11, Bristol Old Vic March 14-18, Barnstaple Queen's March 28-April 1, Brighton Theatre Royal April 4-8.

Some Explicit Polaroids Out of Joint in Mark Ravenhill's frank clash of serious causes meeting partying, seen through an ex-con, in Max Stafford-Clark's iron production at Coventry Warwick Arts Centre until February 5, Bath Theatre Royal February 9-12, Leeds West Yorkshire Playhouse February 15-19, Malvern Festival February 22-26, Brighton Theatre Royal February 29-March 4, Edinburgh Traverse March 7-11, Manchester Library March 14-18.

Soho Story Kaboodle in a beggar and gangster musical soaked in Brecht at Cambridge Drama Centre February 4-5, Tewkesbury Roses February 8, King's Lynn Arts February 9, Radlett Centre February 10, Brighton Komedia February 11-13, Wakefield Arts February 15, Norwich Playhouse February 16-17, Leighton Buzzard Theatre February 19, Huddersfield Lawrence Batley February 24, Salisbury Arts February 26.

The Threepenny Opera Clwyd Theatre Cymru with Brecht and Weill's musical at Connah's Quay Sports Centre March 2-4, Llanrwst Canolfan Hamdden Dyffryn Conwy March 8-11, Runcorn Brookvale Recreation Centre March 15-18, Newport Pillgwenly Millennium Centre March 22-25, Haverfordwest Sir Thomas Picton School March 29-April 1, Derby Chellaston School May 3-6, Bridgend Recreation Centre May 10-13, Pontefract Carleton High School May 17-20, Neath Sports Centre May 24-27.

Virtual Reality The Stephen Joseph theatre tours Ayckbourn's latest comedy, at Scarborough Stephen Joseph until February 12, Oxford Playhouse February 15-19, Coventry Warwick Arts Centre February 22-26, Huddersfield Lawrence Batley March 7-11, Cheltenham Everyman March 14-18, Worthing Connaught March 21-25, Harrogate Theatre April 4-8.

Musicals Fame 2000 visits Norwich Theatre Royal February 7-12, York Grand Opera February 14-19, Bath Theatre Royal February 21-26, Woking Victoria February 28-March 4, Bradford Alhambra March 7-11, Cambridge Corn Exchange March 20-25, Leicester De Montfort March 28-April 1, Croydon Ashcroft April 3-8, Manchester Opera House April 10-15, Birmingham Alexandra April 24-29, High Wycombe Swan May 1-6, Nottingham Theatre Royal May 8-13, Blackpool Grand May 15-20, Milton Keynes Theatre May 22-27, Bristol Hippodrome May 29-June 3.

Marie Visiting Moon and Theatre by the Lake offer T S Eliot-approved Marie Lloyd at Keswick Theatre by the Lake February 24-26, North Staffordshire New Vic March 14-18, Colchester Mercury March 21-25, Harrogate Theatre March 30-31, Northampton Royal April 3-8, Bristol New Vic April 10-15, Eastbourne Devonshire Park April 16.

Thick as a Brick Hull Truck with John Godber's classroom musical at Huddersfield Lawrence Batley Feb 8-12, Cheltenham Everyman Feb 14-19, Buxton Opera House March 1-4, Harrogate Theatre March 7-11, Manchester Wythenshawe Forum March 14-18, Scunthorpe Plowright March 22-25, Wakefield Theatre Royal March 28-April 1, York Theatre Royal April 4-15, Worcester Swan April 18-22, Chester Gateway May 2-13, Halifax Victoria May 16-20, Poole Towngate June 6-10, Sheffield Crucible June 13-17, Norwich Theatre Royal June 20-24, Preston Charter June 27-July 1.

West Side Story Pola Jones sets the Jets against the Sharks at Stoke-on-Trent Regent until Feb 12, Milton Keynes Theatre February 15-26, Blackpool Grand March 14-25, Leeds Grand March 28-April 8, Glasgow King's April 11-22, Crawley Hawth April 25-May 6, Nottingham Theatre Royal June 27-July 8, Canterbury Marlowe July 11-22, Belfast Grand Opera house August 8-19, Llandudno North Wales August 22-September 2.

tours In Brief The Barretts of Wimpole Street Rudolph Besier's drama undergoes the Trestle treatment with a mix of masked and unmasked characters, until April 1, with education workshops available (01727 850950).

The Flag NTC (Northumberland Theatre Co) in Alex Ferguson's adaptation of Robert Shaw's story of North and South and Left and Right in 1926, the year of the General Strike, March 3-April 8 (01665 602586).

The Fall of the House of Usher Graeae in an adaptation of Steven Berkoff's novel, February 10-March 16 (01424 225140).

How High Is Up? Theatre Centre revive Brendan Murray's beautiful bereavement play for infants, May 8-July 15 (020 7377 0379).

In the Bleak Midwinter Eastern Angles in East Anglia with Charles Way's new play influenced by a medieval shepherds' play, February 16-May 13 (01473 211498).

Macbeth False Memory ATC (Actors Touring Company) in Deborah Levy's translation of Shakespeare into modern murder and psychology, March 9-May 31 (020 7735 8311).

Shelf Life Theatre Alibi tell three extraordinary stories about people in supermarkets, with music from roots group Spiro, across southern England and the Midlands, February 25-April 12 (01392 217315).

South West PLYMOUTH Theatre Royal (01752 267222) Terence Frisby comedy Funny About Love February 7-12, Charles Aznavour, Shaun McKenna, Dee Shipman in the musical Lautrec February 28-March 11, Royal Shakespeare Company in A Midsummer Night's Dream April 17-22, Antony and Cleopatra April 25-29, Othello May 2-6.

Tour: The Heiress.

Drum Royal Shakespeare Company in Jonson's Volpone April 17-22, Eliot's The Family Reunion April 24-29, Biyi Bandele's adapatation of Aphra Behn's 17th-century slave novel Oroonoko May 1-6.

Tours: Berkoff's Women, Shelf Life, The Contract, Into the West, Balti Kings.

EXETER Northcott (01392 493493) Ayckbourn's comedy of marital despair, set in a garage, Just Between Ourselves February 17-March 4, Mark Healy's adaptation of Austen's Sense and Sensibility March 16-April 1, youth theatre Young Company in The Wizard of Oz April 22-29.

Tour: Widowers' Houses.

BRISTOL Old Vic (0117 987 7877) musical Blues Brother, Soul Sisters until March 4, Fanny Burney's 18th-century comedy A Busy Day April 7-May 6, Arnold Wesker's Denial May 12-June 10 considers the impact of false or recovered memory syndrome.

New Vic Patrick Miller's Anatomy of a Madman until February 12 about an undergraduate whose depression leads possibly to terrible actions, A Tender Prayer May 24-June 10 about Europe and stateless migrants.

SALISBURY Playhouse (01722 320333) The Winter's Tale until February 19, Ayckbourn's five playlets Confusions February 24-March 18, Shaffer's psychodrama of horse blinding Equus March 24-April 8, youth actors Stage 65 in Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle April 13-15, Jim Cartwright's comedy of a shy young woman with a strong line in singing The Rise and Fall of Little Voice April 20-May 6.

Salberg Studio Lisa Evans's acute dramatisation of Anne Bront 's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall March 16-April 8, Lin Coghlan's fable of civil war testing old loyalties Bretevski Street April 11-15 (for Year 7 up; also touring schools in the region).

South SOUTHAMPTON Nuffield (023 8067 1771) Shelagh Stephenson's magical play about a daughter's family reunion The Memory of Water until February 26, Brecht's adaptation of Sophocles's Antigone March 7-18.

BASINGSTOKE Haymarket (01256 465566) Gerald Moon's camp coronation comedy-thriller Deadly Manoeuvres until February 12, Sheridan's The Rivals March 3-25, Kate Dove's adaptation of Longfellow's Hiawatha April 14-May 6.

NEWBURY Watermill (01635 46044) Giles Havergal's four-man Greene journey Travels With My Aunt February 9-March 11, Ade Morris on Martin Luther King's last days in The Dreamer March 14-18 (then local tour: details from box office), Watermill Youth Theatre in Nigel Williams's play of Golding's The Lord of the Flies March 22-25, Stephen Jeffrey's version of Dickens's Hard Times March 29-May 6, John Godber's mix of rugby and verse Up 'n' Under May 17-July 1, director John Doyle adapts Bizet's Carmen July 5-August 19.

WATFORD Palace (01923 225671) David Cosgrove's 1950s musical Three Steps to Heaven February 4-March 4, Friel's Translations April 14-May 6, three of Bennett's Talking Heads (A Cream Cracker Under the Settee, Bed Among the Lentils, Soldiering On) May 18-June 10, Coward's Blithe Spirit June 16-July 8.

East anglia SOUTHEND-ON-SEA Palace (01702 342564) The Merchant of Venice March 1-19, Anthony Horowitz psycho-mystery Mindgame March 21-April 1.

Tours: Making Noise Quietly, East, Sense and Sensibility.

Dixon Studio Alan Ayckbourn and Paul Todd's musical backstage romance Between the Lines until February 12, Dario Fo repertoire: brute farce with Accidental Death of an Anarchist March 27-April 8, Park Bench Theatre in Fo and Rame's Female Parts March 29-April 8.

COLCHESTER Mercury (01206 573948) Coward lives on in Blithe Spirit until February 19, Giles Croft translates Ealing comedy to stage with Passport To Pimlico February 24-March 18, Webster's 17th-century tragedy The Duchess of Malfi March 30-April 15, John Vanbrugh's post-Restoration marriage comedy The Provoked Wife May 4-20.

Tour: Marie.

East Midlands NORTHAMPTON Royal (01604 632533) Ayckbourn's split-level domestic romance Things We Do For Love until February 26, Vilma Holingbery and Michael Napier Brown adapt Austen's Emma March 10-April 1, Priestley's debut Dangerous Corner April 14-29, Albee's Pulitzer prize-winning view of his mother at a trio of life stages Three Tall Women May 3-20, Marc Camoletti comedy Don't Dress For Dinner May 26-June 17.

LEICESTER Haymarket (0116 253 9797) Romeo and Juliet February 17-March 11, Maggie Norris and Paul Kerryson's 1970s musical Hot Stuff March 20-April 22, Bennett's double bill about Burgess and Blunt Single Spies May 4-27.

NOTTINGHAM Playhouse (0115 941 9419) James Baldwin shows 1960s Harlem in Amen Corner February 16-March 4, Norway's National Theatre in Ibsen's Rosmersholm March 10-11, plus Knut Hamsun's Hunger March 14-15, Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea April 28-May 20, Friel's Wonderful Tennessee June 2-24, Roundabout Theatre in Neil Duffield's adaptation of The Secret Garden June 29-July 15.

DERBY Playhouse (01332 363275) Liz Lochhead's play about romance for a middle-aged hairdresser Perfect Days March 24-April 15, Youth Theatre in Pericles April 19-22, Andrew Bovell's Australian marital infidelity drama Speaking in Tongues May 12-June 3, John Godber's ill-assorted caravanners on a Perfect Pitch June 9-July 1, Tim Elgood's community play No Fishing July 12-15.

Tours: Breaking the Ice, A Clockwork Orange, Animal Farm.

Wales CARDIFF New (01222 394844) The Alexander Cordell Trilogy Rape of the Fair Country March 7-11, 24, Hosts of Rebecca March 14-16, Song of the Earth March 17-23, full trilogy March 25.

Sherman (02920 646900) Helen Griffin's ruthless South Wales family comedy with music by The Alarm's Mike Peters Flesh and Blood February 10-26, return of Patrick Jones's searing smash at New Deal Wales Everything Must Go March 1-11, Swansea Grand Theatre has Simon Harris's blackmail comedy Bad Finger March 15-18.

Studio (02920 646900) A selection of Bennett's Talking Heads (A Chip in the Sugar, Soldiering On, A Cream Cracker Under the Settee) until February 5, then February 29-March 4. Touring Wales and southern England February 9-March 11. Details from box office.

MOLD Clwyd Theatr Cymru (01352 755114) The Alexander Cordell Trilogy Rape of the Fair Country until February 12, 29, Hosts of Rebecca February 17-19, March 2-3, Song of the Earth February 22-28, March 4, full trilogy February 26.

West Midlands WORCESTER Swan (01905 27322) Ayckbourn's time-travel comedy thriller Communicating Doors February 10-26, Worcestershire Youth Music Theatre's Guys and Dolls March 1-4, Bernard Pomerance's account of The Elephant Man March 23-April 8, The Next Generation Youth Theatre in John Wyndham's The Chrysalids April 27-29.

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON Royal Shakespeare Theatre (01789 403403) As You Like It from March 15, The Comedy of Errors from April 11, Romeo and Juliet from June 23, Henry V from August 24.

Swan Theatre Sheridan's The Rivals from March 23, Henry IV, Part 1 from April 10, Henry IV, Part 2 from June 21.

The Other Place Richard II from March 20, Italian realist Giovanni Verga's story of a forceful peasant mother La Lupa (The She-Wolf) from June 22, a shortened version of Shaw's epic Back to Methusaleh from August 24. (Richard II, Henry IV Parts 1, 2 and Henry V form part of a two-year cycle of Shakespeare's histories called This England - The Histories).

COVENTRY Belgrade (024 7655 3055) Belgrade and Snarling Beasties in Debbie Isitt's physical theatre adaptation of The 101 Dalmations April 12-May 6, Friel's Translations June 1-10, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat June 12-24, Millennium Mystery Plays July 18-August 6.

Tours: Gasping, Sense and Sensibility.

BIRMINGHAM Repertory (0121 236 4455) Yasmina Reza's Art until February 12, Miller's Death of a Salesman March 3-April 8, The Shakespeare Revue May 9-13, Shaw's Saint Joan May 19-June 17, Coward's Present Laughter June 23-July 22.

Tour: The Free State.

The Door Tamsin Oglesby's black comedy My Best Friend February 16-March 4, a sour-sweet comedy from Jess Walters Terracotta March 8-25, Ray Grewel's comedy My Dad's Corner Shop March 29-April 8 (also community tour, details at box office), Ben Payne adapts Jim Crace's award-winning novel Quarantine April 27-May 20, Roy Williams's play about family and spirits in Jamaica The Gift May 25-June 17.

Newcastle under lyme New Vic (01782 717962) Orton's black farce Loot until February 12, Claire Luckham's musical version of Defoe's Moll Flanders February 17-March 11, Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? April 6-20.

Tour: Marie, Much Ado About Nothing.

North West CHESTER Gateway (01244 340392) Miller's fine fraternal fallout drama The Price February 4-26, Ayckbourn's domestic romance Things We Do For Love March 3-25, Mick Martin's tough clash of eco-warrior and establishment A Weekend in England April 1-22.

LIVERPOOL Everyman (0151 709 4776) Martin McDonagh's heroine Leenane lifts the lid off romantic views of rural Ireland in The Lonesome West March 16-April 8.

Tours: Balti Kings, Making Noise Quietly, East, Much Ado About Nothing.

MANCHESTER Library (0161 236 7110) Measure For Measure February 4-March 4, Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie March 24-April 22, Making It Up April 29-May 13, about sex, lies and reinventing yourself at 30-something, Ayckbourn's Things We Do For Love June 3-July 1.

Tour: Some Explicit Polaroids.

Wythenshawe Forum (0161 437 9663).

Tours: Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer, Thick as a Brick.

Royal Exchange (0161 833 9833) Wilde's social comedy A Woman of No Importance until February 26, two new domestic plays, Fiona Padfield's Snapshots March 1-18, a look at female identity in a family, and Simon Robson's Ghost Train Tattoo March 22-April 1, about family crises (both in repertoire April 1-15), Congreve's The Way of the World April 19-May 27, Shaw's Mrs Warren's Profession May 31-July 1, As You Like It July 5-August 12.

Selfridges Studio Two Clouds Over Eden until February 19.

BOLTON Octagon (01204 520661) John Godber's nightclub nightmare Bouncers until February 12, C P Taylor's wartime family drama And a Nightingale Sang February 24-March 18, Tim Firth's businessmen bonding comedy Neville's Island March 30-April 22, David Hare's version of Schnitzler's loving couples The Blue Room May 4-27, Bob Carlton's tempestuous B-movie musical Return to the Forbidden Planet June 8-July 8.

OLDHAM Coliseum (0161 624 2829) Karoline Leach offers turn-of-the-20th-century desire and crime in The Mysterious Mr Love until February 26, Kenneth Alan Taylor and John Morton mercenary musical Loadsamoney! March 3-April 1, Guy Paxton and Edward V Hole's period farce Love's A Luxury April 6-29, love and soccer battle it out in a hotel room in Arthur Smith and Chris England's comedy An Evening with Gary Lineker May 4-27, Chris Denys's local story The Houses in Between June 1-24.

LANCASTER Dukes (01524 66645) David Mamet's conman comedy American Buffalo February 17-March 11, a selection of Bennett's Talking Heads (A Lady of Letters, A Chip in the Sugar, Bed Among the Lentils) March 16-April 8.

Yorkshire and North East SHEFFIELD Crucible (0114 249 6000) As You Like It until February 26.

Tours: The Riot, Animal Farm, Everything Must Go.

Studio Judith Adams shows where dream meets reality on the mountains Queuing for Everest March 16-April 8, Not Exactly an Angel May 6-10 mixes professional and youth actors in Judy Marsh's study of young people exposed to danger.

LEEDS West Yorkshire Playhouse (0113 213 7700) A messy Jewish widower is tidied up by an accountant on community service in Visiting Mr Green February 17-March 25.

Tours: Some Explicit Polaroids, East, Much Ado About Nothing, The Free State, Mother Courage.

HULL Hull Truck (01482 323638) John Godber's Thick as a Brick until February 5, Rupert Creed and Jim Hawkins's look at fishing The Northern Trawl February 9-March 4, John Godber's Bloomin' Marvellous April 6-28, Ibsen's Hedda Gabler May 4-19, Jane Thornton's version of Yvonne Coppard's Radio 4 Bully June 1-17, John Godber's play set on a caravan site Perfect Pitch June 22-July 15, and Bouncers August 10-19.

HARROGATE Theatre (01423 502116) Wilde's comedy The Importance of Being Earnest until February 19.

Tours: Thick as a Brick, The Witches, Virtual Reality, She Stoops to Conquer.

YORK Theatre Royal (01904 623568) Othello March 8-April 1.

Tours: Berkoff's Women, Jemima Puddle-Duck and Her Friends.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Newcastle Playhouse (0191 230 5151) Northern Stage Company with David Glass Ensemble in The Red Thread (Part 3 of The Lost Child Trilogy) until February 5, Animal Farm March 21-25.

Tour: The Riot.

Gulbenkian Studio Northern Stage in Tony Harrison's poem V March 30-April 4, local company Cap A Pie with Lin Coghlan's play for young people about addiction Broken Angel February 15-19, Theatre sans Fronti res makes heroines of Dumas's Les Trois Mousquetaires April 6-8.

Scotland GLASGOW Citizens' (0141 429 0022) The Pleasure Man February 4-26 by Mae West.

Circle Studio Beckett's doom drama Endgame until February 26.

Stalls Studio Jean Rhys's story Jazz until February 26.

Fruitmarket (0141 287 3900) Theatre Babel preview new Scottish plays based on the Greeks, with David Greig's Oedipus March 15, Tom McGrath's Electra March 16, Liz Lochhead's Medea March 17, all three March 18.

EDINBURGH Royal Lyceum (0131 248 4848) Liz Lochhead adapts Chekhov's The Three Sisters February 11-March 4, Boucicault's 19th-century Irish melodrama The Shaughraun March 10-April 1, Phaedra April 14-29, Edwin Morgan's Scots version of Racine's representation of human agony.

Traverse (0131 228 1404) Catherine Czerkawska's play about a man who lovingly shapes stones on Scotland's west coast protecting his lifestyle Quartz February 4-26, Lookout Theatre in Nicola McCartney's Home March 1-5, about personal space, 7:84 in a multi-authored look at life and shopping 24 Hours March 16-22, Borderline in Chris Dolan's play about a newcomer trying to turn round an island's whisky industry The Angels' Share March 23-25.

Tour: Some Explicit Polaroids.

MUSSELBURGH Brunton (0131 665 2240) Twelfth Night until February 12, Liz Lochhead's gentle romance Quelques Fleurs March 10-25.

PERTH Theatre (01738 621031) Dial M For Murder until February 12, Goldoni's 18th-century comedy The Mistress of the Inn February 25-March 11 (then at Blairgowrie, Aberfeldy, Auchterarder, Crieff, Kinross, March 14-18), Albee's Pulitzer prize-winning Three Tall Women May 14-29.

Tours: Dick Barton - Special Agent, Quelques Fleurs.

DUNDEE Rep (01382 223530) Nick Dear's scathing adaptation of Ostrovsky's 19th-century Russian comedy A Family Affair February 9-26, John Byrne's play about artists Colquhoun and MacBryde March 22-April 1, J M Synge's humorous masterpiece The Playboy of the Western World April 12-29, the rise of the Nazis in the musical Cabaret May 10-27, the return of last autumn's productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Miller's All My Sons in June and July.


Please note: all tour dates may be subject to change, especially opening dates at each theatre. Also ask about educational activities.

Shakespeare Much Ado About Nothing Northern Broadsides bring flat vowels to this comedy at Halifax Viaduct February 17-26, Bristol Brunel Passenger Shed February 29-March 4, Leeds West Yorkshire Playhouse March 7-11, Oldham Parish Church March 13-18, Scarborough Stephen Joseph March 21-25, North Staffordshire New Vic March 27-April 1, Penrith Rheged Discovery Centre April 18-20, Liverpool Everyman April 25-29, Ollerton Indoor Riding Stables May 4-6, Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal May 9-13.

The Taming of the Shrew Royal Shakespeare Company at Coulby Newham Rainbow Leisure until February 5, Ollerton Dukeries Leisure February 8-12, February 15-19 Braintree Leisure, Telford Wrekin College February 22-26, Penzance Humphry Davy School February 29-March 4, Haywards Heath Dolphin Leisure March 7-11, Ebbw Vale Leisure March 14-18, Barnsley Darton High School March 21-25, Portsmouth Mountbatten Leisure March 28-April 1, Douglas Gaiety April 13-15, Sunderland Seaburn May 2-6, Littleport Leisure May 9-13, Barrow-in-Furness Park Leisure May 16-20.

Troilus and Cressida Oxford Stage Company at Oxford Playhouse until February 12, Coventry Warwick Arts Centre Feb 15-19, York Grand Opera House Feb 29-March 4, Manchester Opera House March 7-11, Guildford Yvonne Arnaud March 21-25.

Classical Drama The Cherry Orchard English Touring Theatre with Chekhov's final masterpiece at Malvern New Space April 25-29, Oxford Playhouse May 2-6, Crewe Lyceum May 9-13, Cambridge Arts May 16-20, Guildford Yvonne Arnaud May 23-27, Salford Lowry June 5-10, Bath Theatre Royal June 12-17, Richmond Theatre June 19-24, High Wycombe Swan June 27-July 1.

The Free State Fifth Amendment tour Janet Suzman's South African adaptation set among Afrikaners after Nelson Mandela's presidential election victory, to Birmingham Rep February 18-26, Darlington Civic February 29-March 4, Bath Theatre Royal March 7-11, Poole Towngate March 14-18, Leeds West Yorkshire Playhouse March 21-April 1, Richmond Theatre April 3-8.

The Heiress Royal National Theatre's revival of Ruth and Augustus Goetz's version of Henry James's tale of Washington Square at Sheffield Lyceum April 20-29, Edinburgh King's May 2-6, Norwich Theatre Royal May 9-13, Richmond Theatre May 16-20, Newcastle upon Tyne Theatre Royal May 23-27, Plymouth Theatre Royal May 30-June 3, Cardiff New July 11-15, Stoke-on-Trent Regent July 18-22, Milton Keynes Theatre July 25-29, Bath SHOWS ESPECIALLY FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES.

Breaking the Ice Pop-Up put on Sara Clifford's play for under-eight-year-olds about the problems and necessities of arguing. Mainly daytimes, at Darlington Arts February 4-5, Kendal Brewery Feb 6, Lincoln St Swithin's Community Centre February 10, Market Rasen Festival Hall February 11, Coventry Belgrade February 12, Derby Playhouse February 15-19, Barnet Bull February 22-25.

George and the Dragon Garlic Theatre bring puppetry and animations to Chester Gateway February 12, Frome Merlin February 15, Leicester Haymarket Studio March 11, Coventry Belgrade April 22. (Also Sinbad the Sailor at Cambridge Drama Centre February 23).

The Hobbit Vanessa Ford productions offer Glyn Robbins's adaptation of Tolkien, at Blackpool Grand until February 6, Milton Keynes Theatre February 8-12, Nottingham Theatre Royal February 16-20, Woking New Victoria February 23-26, Liverpool Empire February 29-March 4, Sheffield Lyceum March 7-11, Sunderland Empire March 13-18, Manchester Opera House March 20-25, Oxford Apollo March 27-April 1, Edinburgh Playhouse April 10-15, Bristol Hippodrome April 17-22, Canterbury Marlowe May 1-6, Belfast Grand Opera House May 22-27, Richmond Theatre May 29-June 3.

Into the West Travelling Light offer their excellent urban myth, at Belfast Anharclann Nacarraige March 7-8, Kendal Brewery March 10-11, Plymouth Drum March 21-25.

Jemima Puddle-Duck and Her Friends Unicorn Theatre in Adrian Mitchell's version of Beatrix Potter; for four to eight-year-olds at York Theatre Royal March 22-25, Whitley Bay Playhouse March 28-April 1, Stirling MacRobert April 4-8, Poole Towngate April 11-15, Barnstaple Queen's April 18-22, Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal April 26-29, Wakefield Theatre Royal May 16-20, Edinburgh Royal Lyceum May 30-June 3.

The Mamas and the Papas Quicksilver in Carey English's play about a child escaping bathtime into a new world, for three to five-year-olds, at Windsor Arts February 22-23, Newbury Corn Exchange February 25, Bracknell Wilde February 26, Milton Keynes Shenley Leisure March 18, Barnet Bull March 19, St Helens Citadel March 25, Congleton Daneside March 28, Darlington Arts March 31-April 1, Bishop Auckland Town Hall April 3, Rotherham Arts April 5, Ormskirk Rose April 6, Oldham Coliseum April 18, Crawley Hawth April 27-29, Frome Merlin May 6, Potters Bar Wyllyotts May 23.

The Pied Piper Kaboodle give a civic twist to Browning's poem, for adventurous over-eight-year-olds, daytimes at Cambridge Drama Centre February 5, Radlett Centre February 10, Brighton Komedia February 13, Norwich Playhouse February 17, Leighton Buzzard Theatre February 19, Stafford Gatehouse February 22, Huddersfield Lawrence Batley February 23-24, Bath Ustinov February 25, Salisbury Arts Centre February 26.

Pinocchio Norwich Puppet Theatre pull the strings - and use glove and shadow puppets - at Birmingham mac February 13, Winchester Tower February 21, Basingstoke Central Studio March 4, Salisbury Arts Centre March 18, Killin McLaren April 12, Girvan Town Library April 13, Prestonpans Community Centre April 14, Glasgow Gilmorehill Centre April 15.

Spot's Birthday Party Oxford Playhouse offers David Wood's adaptation of Eric Hill's books for two to six-year-olds, at Oxford Playhouse April 7-15, High Wycombe Swan April 18-20, Richmond Theatre April 25-29, Preston Charter May 3-7, Coventry Warwick Arts May 16-23, Poole Towngate May 23-27, Whitley Bay Playhouse June 6-10, Cheltenham Everyman June 13-17, Wakefield Theatre Royal June 20-24.

Suitcase Full of Stories Tiebreak's stories and poems from around the world told using theatre, for over-five-year-olds, at Norwich Sainsbury Centre February 6, Barnet Bull February 13, St Albans Maltings February 19, Manchester Royal Exchange Studio February 24-26, Cambridge Drama Centre March 4, Sudbury Quay March 17, Haverhill Town Hall March 23, Guildford Yvonne Arnaud March 25, Sheringham Little April 1, Norwich Arts Centre April 8.

Tiddalick Tam Tam with a multicultural approach to a piece about greed and sharing, based on the Aboriginal story The Greedy Frog, for three to seven-year-olds, daytimes at Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal February 5, Leicester Haymarket February 12, Crawley Hawth March 4, Batyh Theatre Royal April 1, Milton Keynes Shenley Leisure April 8.

What If I? Pop-Up with Michael Dalton's play about awkward moments: the audience helps decide what happens next. For four to eight-year-olds, daytimes at Windsor Arts Centre April 8, Crawley Hawth April 15, Lincoln Lawn April 20, Stamford Arts April 22, Harrogate Theatre April 25, Manchester Royal Exchange April 27-29, Newtown Theatr Hafren May 19, Chester Gateway May 20, Barnet Bull May 28, North Staffordshire New Vic May 30-June 1, St Helens Citadel June 17, King's Lynn Arts June 21.

The Witches Birmingham Stage Company with Roald Dahl's tale adapted by David Wood, at Northampton Derngate February 22-26, Kirkcaldy Adam Smith Feb 29-March 4, Darlington Civic March 7-11, Halifax Victoria March 14-18, Harrogate Theatre March 21-25, Buxton Opera House March 28-April 1, Rhyl Pavilion April 18-22, Hull New April 25-29.

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