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19 September
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The Second Best Bed

It could be construed from his bequest to his wife Anne Hathaway – leaving her his “second best bed” – that William Shakespeare didn’t think too much of the woman he married.

We find Anne at home alone on the evening after Shakespeare’s funeral and it becomes clear that maybe she didn’t think much of him either. She suggests that the Bard was less literate than the folio indicates, that he was fond of a few drinks not to mention of the ladies.

Directed by her husband Chris Jaeger OBE, Liz Grand, one of Worcester Rep’s best loved actors, plays Anne

Worcester Repertory Co.
10 Octob er
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Socks in Space & Other Adventures

Earth's funniest footwear, stars of stage, screen & YouTube have been called "the unparalleled pinnacle of comedy puppetry” and now you'll see why. After six sell out years at the Edinburgh Fringe and international tours from Aberdeen to Adelaide, Manchester to Malta, Belfast to Birmingham and all points in between, the Socks are bringing their brand new show of songs, sketches, socks and violence on topics far and wide and the best of their favourite stuff to The Heron

Described by reviewers as a superbly written, crafted and performed show, which had every single audience member laughing until they cried.

Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre
17 October
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Vesta Tilley was one of the most remarkable female entertainers who ever lived. Born in Worcester in May 1864, she became an international superstar, equally famous on both sides of the Atlantic. She always appeared on stage dressed as a man, although ironically she did a great deal to further the cause of the women's emancipation. She was one of the most beloved performers ever, taken to the very hearts of the British people.

This one woman show about her life and music, written by Chris Jaeger and performed by actress and singer Claire Worboys, contains 12 of her songs in a performance that delights and enchants audiences, as well as giving a historically accurate insight into Vesta’s life and times.

On a Role
30/31 October
& 1 November
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The Beauty Queen of Leenane

It may have taken Martin McDonagh less than a week to write this play in 1996, but it launched a career that has seen him go on to screenwriting, with the films In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths.

His gift for jet black comedy and festering menace are eloquently displayed, shining a light on a manipulative ageing mother and her daughter, in the bog lands of Western Ireland. The mother, Mags, is cantankerous, self-obsessed woman and her daughter, Maureen, is little better. Thwarted desire lurks under the constant bickering and drives both mother and daughter towards desperate actions.

Our Associate Company return to The Heron following their previous sell out successes, with this powerful drama which will both disturb and delight. The play had successful runs in London, including two sell out seasons at The Young Vic with the 1998 Broadway production being nominated for six Tony Awards, of which it won four.

21 November
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Meet Tommy AtkinsAdmission - £12    under 18s - £5
Members   - £10

On August 4th 1914, with the declaration of war between Britain and Germany, reservist Tommy Atkins is immediately called up to serve his country. Within weeks he sees his first action in the fields of France and subsequently experiences the full scale of life in the Western Front trenches of The Great War - the horror, the pain, the misery, the boredom and even the moments of joy.

This brand new play details, through the eyes of a simple 'Tommy' the reality of war for those who actually fought it. In an astonishing solo performance, 'Meet Tommy Atkins' takes the audience through his war, which saw him fight at Ypres, Passchendaele, Loos and on the Somme and that took him to the depths of despair but also brought him unique comradeship that he would never find again. From the beginning to the end, Private Tommy Atkins was there. This is his story.

Beyond Eternity Productions
6 December
2.30pm & 7.30pm
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The Christmas Carol

"There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour"
Folksy Theatre bring the Charles Dickens classic to life in this brand new adaptation, with live performers, puppetry, music and multimedia, the production brings something a little different to this much loved text. Folksy use a great mix of high energy, truthful performance, audience interaction and outright silliness to make their Christmas Carol a theatre experience to be remembered.

We are providing a matinée at reduced prices, as this family show is suitable for all ages and will set your Christmas off with a bang!

Folksy Theatre
16 January
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The Haunters

No-one ever stayed in the dark, brooding house for very long. There was something wrong there, very wrong. A brilliant doctor takes up residence only to die violently. What is the terrible secret hidden behind the doors of the house by the river?

When the dead man's brother decides to investigate he sets in motion a chain of events which will eventually lead him into a vortex of terror. He pursues the truth through the gas-lit, fog-filled streets of Victorian London until eventually he is forced to confront the horrifying truth.

There in the flickering shadows of the house of fear the secret of his brother's death is finally revealed and he finds that perhaps death is only the beginning.

Isosceles/Useful Idiots
30 January
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In 2015 we remember the 50th anniversary of the death of one the towering figures of the 20th century.

Big Ben chimes and strikes thirteen; a magical time when, once a year the statues of the great statesmen in Parliament Square come alive again. Winston Churchill descends from his plinth to indulge in three of his great passions - whisky, a cigar and listening to himself talk.

He talks of his childhood, his parents, his education, his army life, his marriage, his painting, writing and bricklaying, his appetites and of course he talks of his many years at the centre of the world political stage especially during two World Wards

Pip Utton
13 February
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Summoned by Bells

Summoned by Bells is the autobiography of the much-loved former Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman. It is often described as ‘The Verse Autobiography of the Twentieth Century’ and was a bestseller when first published in 1960.

The account of his formative years with all the dramas of family life, the excitement of holidays, terrors of public school and glories of an Oxford palmy between the World Wars is one of the greatest celebrations of growing up ever written.

Tim Heath’s solo performance of the work was one of the highlights of the Betjeman Celebration at the Royal National Theatre and has since been seen internationally in countless festivals and theatres, including previously here at The Heron some ten years ago.

Tim Heath
27 February
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The Autumn of Han

A new adaptation of a Chinese classic, for the British stage; an enthralling story of corruption, revenge and tragic love.

Mao Yan Shou, a minister of the Han court, is selecting new concubines for the Emperor’s harem, but when the beautiful Zhao Jun refuses to supply him with his usual bribe he makes sure she’s hidden away in a forgotten wing of the palace. Zhao Jun is, however, a resourceful woman and soon engineers a meeting with the Emperor who, on seeing her, immediately falls in love and in doing so sets off a chain of events that changes all their lives.

The Autumn of Han is specifically translated and adapted by Ross Ericson for British audience and is performed in English by an East-Asian cast in traditional Chinese costume.

Red Dragonfly Productions
13 March
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You will be aware of the increasing trend for plays, opera and dance, broadcast direct from the stage to the cinema screen. The Heron does not have the facilities for this though this is a theatrical production recorded when broadcast from the stage of the Festival Theatre, Stratford, Ontario, North America's largest classical repertory theatre.

This production of Shaw's play received rave reviews, with Christopher Plummer as Julius Caesar and Nikki M. James as Cleopatra, here a quavering young girl, who is still learning how to be a woman, much less a Queen, a perfect juxtaposition to the ageing, wry and cynical Caesar, whom Plummer plays with the brilliance and insight that only a lifetime devoted to the theatre can bring.

Special Stage/Screen price of £8 - under 18s £5

Stratford Festival - Ontario
27 March
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Shylock has always divided opinion. Is he a villain or a victim? Or is he someone even more intriguing.

There is no doubt Shylock is hard done by in "The Merchant of Venice", but does he bring it on himself? As one of only two Jewish men in the whole of Shakespeare, he has been portrayed in ways which reflected how Jews were popularly viewed - from comic villain in Shakespeare's day to a victim of racial discrimination nowadays.

This award winning, poignant, powerful, yet humorous performance by Guy Masterson, perhaps the world's leading exponent of the form, demonstrates its brilliance, honouring one of Shakespeare's finest creations from one of his greatest plays in a performance that celebrates the beauty of language, the power of history and the magic of theatre!

Theatre Tours International
10 April
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Once upon a time, Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth were hopelessly in love. Persuaded by her family that he is not of her standing, she reluctantly ends their engagement and he leaves for the sea, his heart broken. Anne soon realises her mistake and spends the next eight years as the ignored middle child of a vain, spendthrift father, quietly fading into the background and forever regretting her decision.

Then Wentworth returns. Having made his fortune, the now wealthy sea Captain comes to seek a wife, a wife with strength of mind and a resolute character. As he treats Anne with cold indifference, she can only watch with an aching heart as he courts another. But will he ever forgive her?

Hotbuckle Theatre Company
24 April
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Macbeth Speaks

Macbeth returns to our world in the present to put the record straight. Shakespeare (“that bald little scribe”) got it wrong. He deceived - Macbeth was not the tragedy we know and accept as gospel but rather its truth is a tale of legitimate power and benevolence (“23 years of food and prosperity”).

The Shakespearean shibboleth is questioned, reflected upon and challenged in the name of historical truth and justice. Discrepancies bring into relief Shakespeare’s devices in plot construction and recalibrate our perceptions of him as writer.

The tone, however, is comedic, ironical with a healthy caustic undertone often very funny when worn by one who feels ‘hard done by’. “Far from being a . . ‘petty murdering knightlet’ . . . I was High King of a confederation that stretched almost as far south as Greater Manchester. . . and if any of you have been to Manchester you’ll appreciate why we stopped there. . . you can take responsibility for civilising people so far and no further, eh?”

Dean Taylor Productionshttp://www.theherontheatre.com/theatre_program.html
8 May
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Following their five star show End to End about their epic journey across Britain, The Gramophones received an enormous quantity of heartfelt stories scribbled on the back of postcards.

They then decided to take this story collecting one step further. Armed with a Dictaphone and a pair of wellies they embarked on a journey into rural communities, onboard a mobile library, collecting stories right from people’s doorsteps.

In this production these true tales are interwoven with beautiful live music and energetic storytelling taking the audience on an uplifting journey.

The Gramophones
28/29/30 May
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Waiting for Godot

When Samuel Beckett's play exploded on stage 60 years ago, it shocked as many people as it delighted. There had never been a play like it; indeed it was said that: "Beckett has achieved a theoretical impossibility - a play in which nothing happens, twice; and yet keeps audiences glued to their seats.”

Two homeless people wait on a bare road with a single tree. They are in no particular time or place – nowhere and everywhere. Over two days, they argue, get bored, clown around, repeat themselves, contemplate suicide and wait. They’re waiting for one who will never come. They’re waiting for Godot. Two eccentric travellers arrive, one on the end of the other's rope. The results are both funny and perplexing.

TheCOMPANY bring their own twist to this existential masterpiece.
Who or what is Godot? Whoever or Whatever you want!