From Shakespeare to the experimental; from work for the young to the cutting edge of provocative new material; from theatre for the thousands to the local arts centre and village hall - Britain's intrepid troupers brave roads, weather and a variety of acoustics to bring their work to all parts of the nation. It's wise to check dates, as well as the age suitability.
A Clockwork Orange Northern Stage bring actors, film and video to Anthony Burgess's story of dysfunctional teenagers, family and society, playing at: Stirling MacRobert, Sept 29 to Oct 3; Bracknell Wilde, Oct 6-10; Sheffield Crucible, Oct 20-24; Inverness Eden Court, Oct 27-31; Stockton-on-Tees ARC, Nov 6-14; Coventry Warwick Arts Centre, Nov 17-21; Sunderland Empire, Nov 26-28.This first show by Northern Stage's new ensemble is co-directed by the company's artistic director, Alan Lyddiard, who has an interest in dance, and V-TOL's Mark Murphy. It shows. The brutality of the sexual violence is echoed in the misogynistic exaggeration of female physicality among the officials who organise violent thug Alex's rehabilitation. Dramatically, some scenes are over-extended, and much of the company's vocal expression is under-characterised. But for sheer visceral theatricality, the ensemble scenes of choreographed movement, fast-edited film and thundering music (Beethoven transformed to a disco rhythm, for example) must be hard to rival on any stage. Best idea for sixth-formers is to attend a midweek matinee preceded by a morning workshop, called Malchicks, on art and violence. Details from venues.
Pride and Prejudice Good Company take director Sue Pomeroy's version to Coventry Belgrade, Sept 28 to Oct 3; and Darlington Arts Centre, Oct 6-10.
The Old Curiosity Shop NTC tour Stewart Howson's version of this Dickens novel to Nov 6 (01665 602586). This adaptation doubles the same performer as innocent Nell and evil Quilp, making a moral point, especially at their contiguous deaths. There are some colourful moments, but the need to represent Quilp's legal agents, Sampson and Sarah Brass, by actors adopting strangulated voices as they hold symbolic hats on poles is a desperate measure. But what finally kills the show is less the hats than an over-extended cast of five, more variable than usual for this company, thinking it is funny to drop in heaps of ad libs, reducing scene after scene to mirthless embarrassment.
Jekyll Hyde Compass take Stevenson's polarised personalities round the land, to Dec 12 (0114 275 5328).
A Tale of Two Cities Theatre Sans Fronti res employ an international cast using French and English in Edward Kemp's adaptation at: Hexham Queen's Hall, Sept 29-30; Milton Keynes Stantonbury Campus, Oct 2; Coventry Warwick Arts Centre, Oct 5-6; Hemel Hempstead Old Town Hall, Oct 7; Newbury Corn Exchange, Oct 8; Kendal Brewery, Oct 9-10; Oldham Sixth Form College, Oct 13; Darlington Arts, Oct 14-15; Penrith Ullswater Community College, Oct 16; Oxford Playhouse, Oct 19; King's Lynn Arts Oct 21; Tunbridge Wells Trinity, Oct 22-23; Glasgow Crawfurd, Oct 27; Stirling MacRobert, Oct 28-29; Newcastle upon Tyne Gulbenkian, Nov 2-5; Preston UCL, Nov 6; Alnwick Playhouse, Nov 10; Berwick-upon-Tweed Maltings, Nov 11; Worksop Regal, Nov 12; Hereford Courtyard, Nov 13-14; Brighton Gardner, Nov 17; Colchester Mercury Studio, Nov 18-20; Exeter College, Nov 23; Frome Merlin, Nov 24; Horsham Christ's Hospital, Nov 25; Banbury Mill, Nov 26; and Crawley Hawth, Nov 27.
Shockheaded Peter Cultural Industry with musicians The Tiger Lilies revive their version of the German book, praised last spring in Leeds and London, at Coventry Warwick Arts Centre, Nov 4-7; Liverpool Royal Court, Nov 10-14; and Belfast Waterfront BT Studio, Nov 27-29.
A Warning to the Curious Eastern Angles haunt the region with local ghost stories by M R James - 'The Whistle', 'The Experiment', 'The Maze' - to Nov 21 (01473 211498).
The Kaos Master and Margherita Kaos's adaptation of Bulgakov's novel about the devil in Moscow and Christ before Pilate, to Nov 28 (01285 641781).
The Black Dahlia Method Madness adapt Ellroy Leonard's crime tale for Exeter Northcott, Oct 22 to Nov 14; Derby Playhouse, Nov 10-21; and Poole Towngate, Nov 24-28.
Lord of the Flies Pilot Theatre Company guide Nigel Williams's version to Huddersfield Lawrence Batley, Oct 13-17; Northampton Royal, Oct 20-24; Camberley Arts Link, Nov 3-7; Newcastle-upon-Tyne Playhouse, Nov 10-14; Worcester Swan, Nov 17-22; Preston Charter, Nov 25-28; Basingstoke Haymarket, Dec 1-5; Halifax Victoria, Feb 8-10; Wakefield Opera House, Feb 11-13.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie The Royal National Theatre travels with Jay Presson Allen's adaptation of Muriel Spark to Cardiff New, Oct 27-31; Sheffield Lyceum, Nov 3-7; Edinburgh King's, Nov 10-14; and Newcastle-upon-Tyne Theatre Royal, Nov 17-21.
The Woman in Black Ten years on, Stephen Mallatratt's ingenious version of Susan Hill's exploration of the female in the Victorian thriller genre goes to Woking New Victoria, Sept 29 to Oct 3; Billingham Forum, Oct 5-10; Lincoln Theatre Royal, Oct 12-17; Cheltenham Everyman, Oct 19-24; Hull New, Oct 26-31; Birmingham Alexandra, Nov 2-7; Swansea Grand, Nov 9-14; High Wycombe Swan, Nov 16-21; Bath Theatre Royal, Nov 23-28; Brighton Theatre Royal, Nov 30 to Dec 5; and Blackpool Grand, Dec 7-12.
Big and BARD
The Taming of the Shrew English Touring Theatre at Crewe Lyceum, Oct 5-10; Oxford Playhouse, Oct 13-17; Poole Towngate, Oct 20-23; Richmond Theatre, Oct 27-31; Malvern Festival, Nov 3-7; Buxton Opera House, Nov 10-14; Cambridge Arts, Nov 17-21; and Dartford Orchard, Dec 1-5.
A Midsummer Night's Dream Oxford Stage Company at Cheltenham Everyman, Oct 1-10; Harrogate Theatre, Oct 13-25; Stirling MacRobert, Oct 27-31; Huddersfield Lawrence Batley, Nov 3-7; llfracombe Landmark, Nov 10-14; and Glasgow Theatre Royal, Nov 17-21.
Richard III Royal Shakespeare Company tour Robert Lindsay's deformed monarch to Manchester Palace, Oct 6-10; Norwich Theatre Royal, Oct 13-17; Sheffield Lyceum, Oct 20-24; Stratford-upon-Avon Royal Shakespeare, Oct 27 to Nov 14; Woking New Victoria, Nov 17-21; Cardiff New, Nov 24-28; Bradford Alhambra, Dec 1-5; Bath Theatre Royal, Dec 8-12.
Twelfth Night theatre babel at Coleraine Riverside, Sept 29-30; Enniskillen Ardhowen, Oct 2-3; Belfast Waterfront, Oct 6-10; Derry Rialto, Oct 13-14; Melrose Wynd, Oct 16-17; Paisley Arts Centre, Oct 24; Glasgow Arches, Oct 27-31; Guernsey Beau Sejour, Nov 3-4; and Jersey Arts Centre, Nov 5-6.
Twelfth Night Book ahead for Northern Broadsides with an a cappella approach to the songs at Halifax Viaduct, Jan 29 to Feb 16; Stockton-on-Tees ARC, Feb 8-13; North Staffordshire New Victoria, Feb 15-20; Oldham Coliseum, Feb 22-27; Cheltenham Everyman, Mar 1-6; Southend-on-Sea Palace, Mar 8-13; and Derby Playhouse, Mar 15-27. More dates to follow.
Macbeth Jactito bring their masks, puppets, sculptures and lighting imagery to Carshalton Charles Cryer Studio, Oct 9; Twickenham Waldegrave School, Oct 12; Ambleside Barn, Oct 21; Cheltenham Ladies College, Nov 5; Trowbridge ARC, Nov 13; plus further dates Oct 9-Nov 13 (0181 986 6906).
King Lear Mappa Mundi go to Cardiff Sherman Studio, Oct 13-17; Ebbw Vale Beaufort, Oct 22; Bangor Theatr Gwynedd, Oct 28-29; Hereford Courtyard, Nov 5-6; Milford Haven Torch, Nov 7; Brecon Theatr Brycheiniog, Nov 10; Aberyst-wyth Arts, Nov 11; Blackwood Miners' Institute, Nov 12; Swansea Taliesin, Nov 13-14; Harlech Theatr Ardudwy, Nov 18; Ludlow Assembly Rooms, Nov 19; Builth Wells Wyeside, Nov 20-21.
The Crucible The Touring Consortium provide classic drama for young people at Canterbury Marlowe, Sept 28 to Oct 3; Malvern Festival, Oct 5-10; Sheffield Lyceum, Oct 12-17; Nottingham Theatre Royal, Oct 19-24; Aberdeen His Majesty's, Oct 27-31; Edinburgh King's, Nov 3-7; Darlington Civic, Nov 9-14; Norwich Theatre Royal, Nov 17-21; and Woking New Victoria, Nov 23-28.
Our Country's Good Tenth anniversary tour for Timberlake Wertenbaker's play, after Thomas Keneally's novel 'The Playmaker' about Australian convicts having a go at post-Restoration drama. Playing at Liverpool Everyman, Nov 3-7; Oxford Playhouse, Nov 10-14; Leeds West Yorkshire Playhouse, Nov 17-21; Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal, Nov 24-28; Blackpool Grand, Dec 1-5; and Eastbourne Devonshire Park, Dec 7-9.
Amadeus Original director Sir Peter Hall revives Peter Shaffer's play about Mozart, the scatalogical, giggling channel for music from heaven, at Norwich Theatre Royal, Sept 28 to Oct 3; and Sheffield Lyceum, Oct 5-10.
Fire in the Basement Communicado offer Pavel Kohout's farce at Inverness Eden Court, Sept 29; Kendal Brewery, Oct 2-3; Glasgow James Arnott, Oct 7-10. Mayhem as a couple's flat is raided by firemen, leading to a flow of corruption. Enmeshed in scams, the innocents end up hoping they might have been merely burgled. Gerry Mulgrew's production brings all Communicado's usual inventive flair to this mordant piece.
Speed The Plow Birmingham Stage Company take David Mamet's story of seduction among Hollywood executives to Bath Ustinov, Oct 13-17; Birmingham MAC, Oct 19-21; Fareham Ashcroft, Nov 5; Oxford Old Fire Station, Nov 9-12; Bristol QEH, Nov 13-14; Salisbury Salberg, Nov 17-21; and Cardiff Sherman, Dec 1-3.
Time of My Life Volcano revive Ayckbourn's disintegrating family play around Wales to Nov 21 (01792 472772).
The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband Not the National Theatre serve up Debbie Isitt's comedy of an eternal triangle, pitting the heart against the stomach, to Dec 5 (0171 733 9615).
Popcorn Phil McIntyre Promotions take Ben Elton's explosive look at media violence to Halifax Victoria, Sept 28 to Oct 3; Preston Charter, Oct 5-10; Reading Hexagon, Oct 12-17; Brighton Theatre Royal, Oct 19-24; Sheffield Lyceum, Oct 26-31; Hull New, Nov 2-7; High Wycombe Swan, Nov 9-14; York Grand Opera, Nov 16-21; Canterbury Marlowe, Nov 23-28; Bath Theatre Royal, Nov 30 to Dec 5; Woking New Victoria, Dec 7-13; Cambridge Corn Exchange, Feb 1-6; Southend Cliffs, Feb 8-13; and Nottingham Theatre Royal, Feb 15-20.
Like A Virgin Oxfordshire Touring Theatre Company with Gordon Steel's tale of lively teenage Madonna fans setting up in the pop world. Touring southern England to Oct 31 (01865 778119).
Copenhagen The Royal National Theatre production of Michael Frayn's brilliant exploration of scientific uncertainty and political motivations goes to Guildford Yvonne Arnaud, Sept 29 to Oct 3; and Bath Theatre Royal, Nov 10- 14.
Perfect Pitch Hull Truck with John Godber's new play (there's a parallel production at North Staffordshire) visiting Leicester Haymarket, Sept 29 to Oct 3; Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal, Oct 6-10; Buxton Opera House, Oct 12-17; Chelmsford Civic, Oct 19-24; Wythenshawe Forum, Oct 27-31; Darlington Civic, Nov 17-21; and Wakefield Opera House, Nov 24-28. Hull Truck also offer Godber's Unleashed, a kind of men's night out in Amsterdam, plus a revival of Bouncers on a tour to Dec 23 (01482 326838).
Handbag ATC tour of Mark Ravenhill's exploration of parenthood in today's sexually complex climate, starting out from The Importance of Being Earnest and Edith Evans's most famous line, finishing no doubt far out, Oct 13 to Dec 5 (0171 379 7474).
Poor Mrs Pepys Red Shift offer Vanessa Brooks's play about Restoration life with the diarist's wife, to Nov 14 (0171 378 9787).
The Football Factory Brighton Theatre Events in a confron-tation with soccer violence, drugs and underground morality, Oct 9 to Dec 11.
Cooking with Elvis Live Theatre with resident writer Lee 'Spoonface Steinberg' Hall's play about the wife and daughter of an Elvis impersonator coping with his paralysis following a car crash. Newcastle upon Tyne Live Theatre, Oct 14-21, then on tour in north-east England to Nov 20.
Northern Exposure Paines Plough take a programme of 10 new short plays from north-west England to Bolton Octagon Bill Naughton Studio, Oct 21-24; Bristol New Vic, Oct 30-31; Leeds West Yorkshire Playhouse, Nov 2-3; and Newcastle upon Tyne Live Theatre, Nov 6-7.
Dissent 7:84 with Stephen Greenhorn's play at Edinburgh Traverse, Oct 24 to Nov 1; Stirling MacRobert, Nov 5-6; Paisley Arts, Nov 7; Aberdeen Lemon Tree, Nov 9-10; Shetland Garrison, Nov 12-13; Inverness Eden Court, Nov 16; Elgin Town Hall, Nov 17; Inverurie Town Hall, Nov 18; Skye Aruinn Chaluim Chille, Nov 21; Ballachulish Village Hall, Nov 23; Castle Douglas Lochside, Nov 25; Motherwell Theatre, Nov 26; Blairgowrie Town Hall, Nov 27; and Glasgow James Arnott, Dec 1-6.
Dirty Work Forced Entertainment offer language, love and a monkey suit at Leicester Phoenix, Nov 12-13; Manchester Green Room, Nov 18-21; Lancaster Nuffield, Nov 24-25; Bristol Arnolfini, Nov 27-28; Nottingham Bonnington, Dec 2; Cambridge Drama Centre, Dec 4-5; Glasgow CCA, Dec 8-9; Dartington Arts, January 13-14; Sheffield FE Studio, January 20-23; Cardiff Chapter, Feb 12-13; and Coventry Warwick Arts Centre, Feb 19-20.
Horses for Courses Peepolykus tour to Oct 31 (0171 713 6500). Following Let the Donkey Go and I Am A Coffee, the frolicsome threesome come up with another hour or so of hilarity. Again, there's a foodie section. In Donkey, a packet of biscuits was stuffed into a character's mouth. Coffee saw toast flying around. This time it's a potato blizzard. There's also a triple version of something like Chekhov and some Cossack dancing - there again, this is the lmperial National Siberian Theatre on display. With this company, you don't explain, just recommend.
Whisper of a Leaf Falling Yellow Earth Theatre, a BritishEast Asian troupe, suitably draw on commedia dell'arte and Chinese opera for this story of a scholar's trip to the underworld, with music for bamboo flute. Showing at Birmingham Josiah Mason College, Oct 13; Exeter Arts, Oct 14; Fareham Ashcroft, Oct 15; Col-chester Mercury, Oct 16-17; Liverpool Bluecoat, Oct 23; Reading 21 South St, Oct 28; Leicester Haymarket Studio, Oct 29-30; Hemel Hempstead Old Town Hall, Nov 4; Salisbury Arts, Nov 6; Northwich DAN, Nov 7; Brighton Komedia, Nov 10-11; Winchester John Stripe, Nov 12; Portsmouth Arts, Nov 14.
The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb North Country Theatre's Egyptology foray around North Yorkshire, Durham, Borders, East Midlands and Shropshire (01748 825288).
Beggars Belief Trestle Theatre collaborate with Ukraine's Kherson Theatre on tour to Dec 5 (01727 850950). Trestle performers have long been known for their quick-change mask acts, in which a handful of players seem like a cast of dozens. The new show exploits that now-you-see-me, now-you-think-you-see-someone-else in its story, with visiting puppeteers performing in a town's market place a story that may or may not have actually happened. There are effective scenes and surprising images - not least the final one - and these, rather than narrative pulse or character, are the show's strength.
Strange Cargo Kneehigh visit Sheffield Crucible Studio, Oct 6-10; Coventry Warwick Arts Centre, Oct 16-17; Plymouth Drum, Oct 20-24; Ilfracombe Landmark, Oct 30-31; Truro Hall for Cornwall, Nov 11-14.
Autumn indoors for Cornwall's Kneehigh with a show that has been open-air this summer. Whether or not the intramural version manages the parachute and firecrackers, this tale of oppression and revolution, derived from Louis de Berni res and Gabriel Garc!a M rquez, should remain a colourful, visually moving and quite frequently funny show, interweaving music, costumes, action and text. Kneehigh have brilliant ensemble players without any lack of individuality in performances, and are required study for any students creating their own group pieces.
Carnivali Scotland's Benchtours and lnsomniac combine for a B-movie-soaked tale of gangsterism in Hispanic South America. Playing at Dunfermline Carnegie, Sept 29; Inverness Eden Court, Sept 30; Edinburgh Traverse, Oct 2-4; Motherwell Theatre, Oct 13; Edinburgh Telford College, Oct 14; Stirling MacRobert, Oct 15; Orkney Arts, Oct 17; and Aberdeen Lemon Tree, Oct 19.
The Featherstonehaughs draw on the sketch books of Egon Schiele Probably the longest title on the road, even if the company's name speaks shorter (as the Fanshawes). This male dance group touch on theatre and expressionism in using Schiele's drawings of the tortured human anatomy, at Swindon Wyvern, Oct 14; Hereford Courtyard, Oct 16; Stafford Gatehouse, Oct 19; Newbury Corn Exchange, Oct 22; Coventry Warwick Arts Centre, Oct 23-24; Bristol Arnolfini, Oct 27-28; Forest of Dean Forest, Oct 31; Bexhill De La Warr, Nov 4; and Musselburgh Brunton, Nov 7.
The Town That Went Mad Volcano offers an explosion of Welsh mysticism and mythology at Scarborough University, Oct 12; Alsager Arts, Oct 13; Ellesmere College, Oct 14; Warrington Derek Newton, Oct 15; Barnet Bull, Oct 20-21; Chipping Norton Theatre, Oct 22; Worcester Swan, Oct 23-24; Eastleigh Point, Oct 27; and Trowbridge Arc, Oct 31.
Tunnel Vision Faulty Optic use objects, sounds and video in their latest theatrical exploration of the mind. Touring England, Oct 11 to Jan 8 (01484 536027).