|60th Anniversary Season Line-Up Announced|
In 1951, John Stewart's dream of creating a rural Festival Theatre for Scotland became a reality. Having overcome countless obstacles, Pitlochry Festival Theatre was finally born - in a tent! Sixty years later, Scotland's favourite theatre is delighted to announce details of its 2011 Summer Season. Let the 60th Anniversary celebrations begin!
The Season opens on Friday 13th May with the perfectly ‘loverly' My Fair Lady. With a cast of 18 actor-musicians, this promises to be the most dazzling, sophisticated and gloriously funny musical yet seen at the Theatre in the Hills. Following previous successes with Whisky Galore - A Musical! and Kiss Me, Kate, advance sales already suggest that My Fair Lady may become the most successful production in PFT's history. With published ticket prices guaranteed only until 15th May, there's no time to delay - book your seats today!
After a four year absence, Alan Ayckbourn, the most popular living playwright at PFT for over thirty years, returns to PFT with the Scottish première of his inventive, wildly comic Henceforward... Opening on Thursday 19th May, this superbly constructed comedy about a composer with creative block (and featuring an on-the-blink robot as a central character!) will be another fabulous example of Ayckbourn's theatrical alchemy, conjured up by the master craftsmen at PFT. A treat not to be missed!
Next to open in the Sixty Years Later Season is See How They Run! by Philip King, one of the greatest farces of all time. Juggling five vicars (two of whom aren't) in a wartime English vicarage, King transforms a preposterous situation into a horribly believable and wholly hilarious whirlwind of mistaken identity and misplaced trousers! This brilliantly written and achingly funny show opens on Thursday 26th May.
Another PFT favourite also returns for 2011: Sir Arthur Wing Pinero. His epic romantic comedy Trelawny Of The ‘Wells', which opens on Thursday 2nd June, is an affectionate and hilarious portrait of the theatrical world of Pinero's youth in the 1860s and echoes PFT's own look back at its past in this Season of six of the best. With a cast of 16, lavish sets and gorgeous costumes, this will be another of PFT's renowned period comedy productions, the perfect choice for locals and visitors to PFT alike this Summer.
PFT's rep expands further on Thursday 14th July, with the Scottish première of the 2001 version of Peter Nichols's Privates On Parade. Another Anniversary first, this bawdy musical memoir of concert party life during the Malayan Emergency of 1948 is based on Nichols's own National Service experiences - alongside Stanley Baxter and Kenneth Williams! A camp (in every sense of the word) comedy classic, with wonderful songs - bona!
1951 saw not just the birth of PFT, but also the death of one of the founding fathers of the modern Scottish theatre: James Bridie. To mark this double anniversary, the final show to join the 2011 repertoire will be Bridie's Dr. Angelus, which opens on Wednesday 17th August. Part psychological thriller, part pitch black comedy, this dark tale of a deadly Glasgow GP is a late masterpiece by the most often performed playwright in PFT's history.
This year's expanded ensemble will boast several familiar faces from recent Seasons: Dougal Lee returns for his 10th Season at PFT after his critically acclaimed performances in Kiss Me, Kate, and Rough Crossing; whilst Sandy Batchelor returns for his 3rd consecutive Season, following outstanding performances in previous Seasons' musicals and more recently in Cinderella, PFT's first ever pantomime last Christmas. Claire Richards is another welcome addition to the PFT ensemble: having been coaxed out of semi-retirement, Claire returns to the Pitlochry stage with which she is so familiar after an absence of 6 years.
Jacqueline Dutoit (7th Season), who delighted audiences with her demented Dotty in Noises Off last Season also returns, as does Robin Harvey Edwards, who having had a Wilde time as Lord Caversham last year, is back for his 7th consecutive Season.
Alan Steele, Shirley Darroch and Helen Logan all return from PFT's 2009 company, following their all-singing, all-dancing contributions to Whisky Galore - A Musical! amongst many other shows. Kate Quinnell (the 2010 Leon Sinden Award-winner) and Amanda Gordon also make welcome returns to the Pitlochry stage following their acclaimed performances in Kiss Me, Kate and Bus Stop respectively.
Sadly, one notable absentee from this year's line-up will Martyn James. Martyn has appeared in 23 Summer Seasons at PFT, but health problems prevent him from joining us this year. As Martyn himself puts it:
"So sorry to be missing the 60th Season, but being the exactly the same age as the original Land Rover (April 1948), I'm now in need of some restoration and renovation, so it's a change from PFT to NHS! Love the look of the Season and all being well, I look forward to enjoying it from the other side of the curtain."
"When staying in Pitlochry during the early part of the war, I chanced to see a stately house with a fairly large garden, quite close to the town. I at once realised that here my dream theatre might well be established in this fashionable resort right in the heart of Scotland"… John Stewart, Founder of Pitlochry Festival Theatre.