NEWS: Paul Miller announces second season as Orange Tree artistic director

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Artistic director Paul Miller announces a season of collaborations, rediscoveries and new work at south London’s Orange Tree Theatre, building on the success of his inaugural season which attracted over 40,000 people to the 168-seat venue (90% capacity), with nearly 1 in 3 people new to the Theatre (45% for Pomona) and over 2,000 discounted seats sold to under 30s. Highlights include:

The season opens with the first major revival of Sharman Macdonald’s When We Were Women, in a co-production with Snapdragon, directed by their Artistic Director Eleanor Rhode (Toast at the Park Theatre, Teddy at Southwark Playhouse).

  • Paul Miller revives Terence Rattigan’s comedy French Without Tears, getting its first full-scale London revival in a generation.
  • Following a sell-out run in 2014, Deborah Bruce’s The Distance returns in a co-production with Sheffield Theatres where it opens.
  • £12 tickets available to under 30s across 50 performances.
  • Michael Morpurgo’s I Believe in Unicorns visits the OT for Christmas from Wizard.
  • Also, the Orange Tree presents 75 performances this autumn elsewhere with Alistair McDowall’s Pomona at the National Theatre and the Royal Exchange Theatre, and The Distance in the Studio at Sheffield Theatres.
  • Richard Humphreys appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees and Kate Ellis Vice Chair.
  • The Orange Tree offers opportunities to emerging directors through the J.P. Morgan Award with the National Theatre Studio and with an MA in Directing in collaboration with St Mary’s University.
  • Take Part, the OT’s education and participation work involves over 20,000 people from the local community every year, including the return of Fun Palaces for a second time on 4 October after the phenomenal success of last year’s nationwide event.

Paul Miller comments: “I’m delighted to announce an autumn programme which is a classic Orange Tree mix of contemporary work and rare revivals. And two of last year’s smash hits return: The Distance and Pomona. We are no longer regularly funded by the Arts Council but our spirit of adventure remains strong: more new work is in the pipeline for early in 2016 and we’re really proud to be collaborating with Snapdragon, Sheffield Theatres, Wizard, the NT and the Royal Exchange to deliver this autumn’s five exciting productions.”

Priority booking for members opens from Mon 1 June at 10am
Public booking opens Wed 10 June at 10am
Box Office 020 8940 3633



3 Sep – 3 Oct 2015
An Orange Tree Theatre and Snapdragon co-production

When We Were Women


DirectorEleanor Rhode
Designer James Turner
Lighting DesignerMike Robertson
Sound Designer David Gregory
Costume SupervisorHolly Rose Henshaw

The Orange Tree collaborates with Snapdragon Productions for the first time to present the first major revival of Sharman Macdonald’s evocative portrayal of family life in Second World War Glasgow, first seen at the National Theatre in 1988. Snapdragon’s Artistic Director Eleanor Rhode makes her Orange Tree debut, following Richard Bean’s Toast at the Park Theatre and Teddy at Southwark Playhouse.

Glasgow, 1943. A city of falling bombs, dark corners and whispered secrets.

In the blitzed blacked-out streets, a naval officer walks into Isla’s life and sweeps her off her feet.

But by 1944, Isla is fighting a war of her own – with her tempestuous mother, Maggie. As lives become inexorably entwined, the officer’s past is in real danger of destroying the family’s future.

Sharman Macdonald is the writer of plays including When I Was A Girl I Used to Scream and Shout (Bush Theatre, Edinburgh Lyceum and West End – for which she won the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright) and The Winter Guest (West Yorkshire Playhouse and Almeida), which became a film directed by Alan Rickman. She also wrote the screenplay for The Edge of Love with Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller and Matthew Rhys.



8 Oct – 21 Nov 2015

French Without Tears

DirectorPaul Miller
Designer Simon Daw
ComposerDavid Shrubsole

Terence Rattigan’s sparkling 1936 comedy was the first smash-hit success from the writer of The Deep Blue Sea, Separate Tables and The Winslow Boy. This first full London run in a generation is directed by Paul Miller.

After a group of young men arrive at Professor Maingot’s French school for the summer to cram for the Diplomatic exam, their concentration is disrupted by beautiful visitor Diana Lake. Quelle surprise, they must learn another new language: girls.

At first, it seems pretty simple. Kit loves Diana and she loves him. And Bill. Oh, and darling Alan, of course. Then there’s Jack: she’s in love too. Meanwhile, Babe conceals his feelings…

Not so simple after all.

In his first season as Artistic Director Paul Miller directed revivals of DH Lawrence’s The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd, Bernard Shaw’s Widowers’ Houses and Doris Lessing’s Each His Own Wilderness.



26 Nov – 19 Dec 2015

An Orange Tree Theatre and Sheffield Theatres co-production

The Distance


DirectorCharlotte Gwinner
Designer Signe Beckmann
Lighting DesignerMark Doubleday
Sound Designer Max Pappenheim

Following its sell-out run in 2014, Deborah Bruce’s hit play returns to the Orange Tree, opening first in the Studio at Sheffield Theatres from 30 Oct – 14 Nov (Press night 3 Nov).

Good friends should be there for one another – no matter what. But when Bea returns home after five years abroad having made a bold choice about her life, old friends struggle to support her. Or even to understand. One night in Brighton, things threaten to slide into chaos…

A sharply funny play about motherhood (and fatherhood); about keeping control and letting go.

Deborah Bruce was nominated for the Offie for Most Promising New Playwright for The Distance. Her first play Godchild premiered at Hampstead Theatre in 2013, directed by Michael Attenborough.

Charlotte Gwinner is an Associate Director at Sheffield Theatres, where she recently directed Crave and 4.48 Psychosis as part of the Sarah Kane Season and Benefactors in the Michael Frayn Season. Other directing includes A View from the Bridge at Liverpool Everyman, and Our New Girl, The Knowledge and Little Dolls at the Bush Theatre.



23 Dec 2015 – 9 Jan 2016
Wizard Presents

I Believe in Unicorns


Performed by Danyah Miller
Director Dani Parr
Designer Kate Bunce
Sound Designer Martin Thompson
Lighting Designer Will Evans
Projection Arnim Friess

Olivier Award-nominated Wizard Presents brings best-selling children’s author Michael Morpurgo’s treasured story to life.

This intimate show is set in a library full of books that hold more than stories within their pages. It is a tale of the power of books, and the bravery of a young boy called Tomas. Tomas hates reading and school, but his world is turned upside down the day he meets the Unicorn Lady in his local library…

An enchanting and interactive production, I Believe in Unicorns, which won an Argus Angel Awardfor Artistic Excellence at Brighton Festival, sparksimagination in both young and old. We challengeyou not to believe in unicorns after joining Tomas’spellbinding journey.

“Danyah’s performance is a tour de force. The show is moving and memorable, a glorious example of the magic of storytelling. I didn’t like it, I loved it!” Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo is the multi award-winning author of War Horse and Private Peaceful.

BOOK SWAP – There will be a book swap, which is integral to the show. Audience members are invited to bring along a favourite children’s book to form part of the set and then to swap it at the end for another book. (This is not obligatory and we do have a few extra books for those who cannot bring one with them).

A family show for Christmas. Not suitable for under 6s but for everyone else who loves stories. Running time 55 minutes – no interval. There will be a Relaxed Performance on Tue 5 Jan at 2.30pm


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MyTheatreMates publishes a selection of daily press releases sent to us by publicists of the relevant show or theatre. We are not responsible for any inaccuracies contained within these materials.

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Press Releases on Twitter
Press Releases
MyTheatreMates publishes a selection of daily press releases sent to us by publicists of the relevant show or theatre. We are not responsible for any inaccuracies contained within these materials.

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