Theatre: Educating Rita

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Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, from May 9 to 12

A new production of Willy Russell’s Educating Rita heads to Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre next month.

The show is the first co-production from The Dukes, Lancaster, and the New Vic, Newcastle-under-Lyme, both theatres-in-the-round.

Educating Rita is part of Dukes artistic director Sarah Punshon’s first spring season at the theatre. Sarah had a personal reason for choosing the play about a Liverpool hairdresser who seeks to educate herself through the Open University, as both she and her mother went to university in the same year, her mum returning to education after leaving school aged 15.

“This year is all about celebrating the emancipation of women and Rita’s story reflects that,” said Sarah.

“It also felt like the ideal show for me to direct in my first spring season at The Dukes because it’s a play about someone who changes their life through the arts and that’s what we do here.”

Educating Rita is a witty exploration of class, privilege and the power of literature, written by Liverpool playwright Willy Russell, himself a former hairdresser.

Eager to escape the trivial conversations at work, Rita, Lauryn Redding, enrols on an OU course and meets tutor Frank, Andrew Pollard, a frustrated poet, tutor and borderline alcoholic.

He attempts to guide her on a journey of self-discovery and learning. Rita challenges the stereotypes of the class and education system, confounding everyone’s expectations .

Lauryn has just finished playing Darby McGraw in Treasure Island at the New Vic and Andrew played Phileas Fogg in Around The World In Eighty Days.

Educating Rita is on Wednesday May 9 at 7.30pm, Thursday May 10 at 1.30pm and 7pm, Friday May 11 at 7.30pm, and Saturday May 12 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

Tickets: 01723 370541