Kimberley Hart Simpson and Keith Hill to star in Educating Rita at Mowlem Theatre this September

Kimberley Hart Simpson and Keith Hill are to star in Educating Rita at the Mowlem Theatre this September.

The pair will take on the roles at the Swanage venue from 7 to 11 September.

Kimberley Hart Simpson (Coronation Street; Hollyoaks) will perform the part that made Julie Walters a breakthrough star as she steps into the titular role alongside Keith Hill (Les Enfants Terribles’ Vaudevillains; The Curse of Edgar) as Frank in this witty and heartwarming classic.

Rita, a 26 year old Liverpudlian hairdresser, is on a quest to ‘better herself’. Pursuing her passion for English literature, she enrolls in an Open University course. Frank, a middle aged university lecturer and Rita’s tutor, is bitter and cynical. Pained by his art, his medication is alcohol. Willy Russell’s hilarious masterpiece tells the story of two people from very different worlds who find an unlikely connection.

Learning is not about memorisation but about being given the tools to engage and interrogate the world around us. It broadens horizons and allows for greater empathy and understanding. A show with huge heart, Educating Rita explores the power of human connection and the importance of education to shape lives.

Tickets are available to book online here.

Director Alice Bartlett said: “I’m so thrilled to be coming back to Swanage – which holds many happy childhood memories for me. And absolutely delighted to be returning with a production of Willy Russell’s wonderful comedy, Educating Rita. Rita is such an inspiring and magnificent character with the potential to educate us all.

“The disruptions and challenges of recent months, both in the UK and internationally, have focussed many of us on the importance of education. I’m far from alone in learning new skills and re-evaluating my priorities over the past year.

“Perhaps that’s why this play feels so very relevant right now – because this is Rita’s journey too: to shape a new identity for herself, on her own terms, in a changing world. It’s a play about self-empowerment, aspiration and authenticity. It reminds us that learning is for life, not just for exams. And, perhaps the best tonic of all – it makes us laugh, a lot. Do come and see us at the Mowlem Theatre, where I hope Rita will charm, delight, entertain, and perhaps also educate you. She’s certainly educating me at the moment!”

The piece is produced by Katherine Mount with sound design / composition by Teresa Barlow, lighting design by Thomas Curtis, set design by Gem Randall and set building by Matthew Hayson.

Producing company, Hordern Ciani, is grateful for its support from Arts Council England and the Culture Recovery Fund.

About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.


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