With the support of a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund, The Mill at Sonning will reopen on 17 May 2021 with a season of comedy, magic, cabarets and plays.
The 2021/22 season will launch with an 11-week run of Alan Aykbourn’s classic comedy Relatively Speaking (18 May-30 July). Directed by Robin Herford, a long time associate of the playwright, it will be a restaging of the production that was playing in March, 2020 when all theatres were closed by the Covid pandemic.
Two into One by Ray Cooney, directed by Ron Aldridge, will run from 5 August-9 October with a cast including Mark Curry, Harry Gostelow, Lizzie Elvin, Felicity Duncan, Steven Pinder, Delme Thomas, Daisy Steere and Connor Hughes. To say thank you to Cooney, for his artistic support and financial help during lockdown, the Mill’s auditorium will be named after the writer on 11 September with a gala performance of Two into One.
The Mill’s Christmas musical will be a new production of Irving Berlin’s musical Top Hat (18 October 2021 to 10 January 2022) based on RKO’s motion picture and directed by Jonathan O’Boyle.
The modern-day supernatural thriller The House on Cold Hill written by Peter James, adapted for the stage by Shaun McKenna, directed by Keith Myers will run from 3 February to 25 March, 2022.
That will be followed by the return of Brian Blessed to direct the crime whodunit Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers (28 April to 25 June), featuring her upper crust sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey.
Other highlights of the reopening season are the fundraiser An Afternoon with Dame Judi Dench & Simon Williams on 25 July and Just Williams, featuring Simon’s son, Tam Willians and Finty Williams, on 26 June.
The Mill will reopen with a much reduced capacity of 70 customers for dinner and show due to social distancing, but the venue has come up with an ingenious way to hide the empty seats that have to be left between bookings.
The Mill’s artistic director Sally Hughes said:
“Our in-house master carpenter has built small tables that will slot over the empty seats. These can move depending on the size of each group and will be dressed with small lights, so the auditorium will look more like an intimate cabaret space than a traditional theatre. Call it Las Vegas on Thames!!”