With the critically-acclaimed Equus and The Funeral Director currently touring the UK, English Touring Theatre today announces the full tour dates for its Autumn 2019 Season. The company, in a co-production with Royal & Derngate, present the revival of August Wilson’s Two Trains Runningdirected by the 2018 winner of the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award, Nancy Medina. Then, in a co-production with Sheffield Theatres, they present the world première stage adaptation of Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive.

Two Trains Running opens at Royal & Derngate on 4 September, with previews from 31 August, and runs until 14 September. Following this it tours to Southampton, Oxford, Doncaster, Ipswich, Guildford and Derby

Reasons to Stay Alive opens at Sheffield Theatres on 18 September, with previews from 13 September and runs until 28 September. Following this it tours to Bristol, Huddersfield, Newcastle, Manchester, York and Leeds.

Richard Twyman, Artistic Director of ETT, and Sophie Scull, Executive Producer, said today, “We’re looking forward to an Autumn Season that will see us produce two important and iconic pieces of work for audiences across the country, while deepening our partnerships with Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST), Royal & Derngate and Sheffield Theatres.

Firstly, we will be working with Royal & Derngate and the RTST to produce August Wilson’s seminal American classic of injustice and social upheaval, Two Trains Running. Nancy Medina one of our brightest talents will direct the first UK production in over 20 years, a play that deserves its place in the canon, as one of the great American plays of the 20th century.

We’re also incredibly proud to be collaborating with Sheffield Theatres and the uniquely brilliant talents of choreographer Jonathan Watkins and playwright April de Angelis to bring Matt Haig’s beautiful and astonishing book, Reasons to Stay Alive, to theatrical life for the first time.

We are so looking forward to continuing our commitment to touring bold, finely crafted and utterly unique work nationally: collectively these shows will be seen by audiences in Bristol, Derby, Doncaster, Guildford, Huddersfield, Ipswich, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Northampton, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton and York.”

English Touring Theatre and Royal & Derngate Northampton present

Two Trains Running

by August Wilson

Directed by Nancy Medina

UK tour: 31 August – 27 November 2019

There’s a controversial new president in the White House, and racial tensions are on the rise.

It is Pittsburgh, 1969, and the regulars of Memphis Lee’s restaurant are struggling to cope with the turbulence of a rapidly changing world. The diner is in threat of being torn down, a casualty of the city’s renovation project that is sweeping away the buildings of a community, but not its spirit.

The iconic American playwright August Wilson paints a vivid portrait of everyday lives in this defining moment of American history. When Two Trains Running opened on Broadway in 1992, its legendary première won TONY and Drama Desk Awards.

Directed by the 2018 winner of the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award, Nancy Medina, this major revival will introduce this Pulitzer Prize shortlisted modern classic to UK-wide audiences for the first time.


Supported by a grant from The Royal Theatrical Support Trust.

August Wilson (1945–2005) was an American playwright. He won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for his playFences and earned a second Pulitzer Prize for The Piano Lesson. His other notable works include Seven Guitars, Gem of the Ocean, Jitney and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Nancy Medina was the 2018 winner of the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award and the 2017 Genesis Future Director Award winner for the Young Vic. She is an acting tutor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and Course Leader for a post-16 Professional Acting Diploma at Boomsatsuma. Her Directing credits include Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama), When They Go Low (NT Connections/Sherman Theatre), Yellowman (Young Vic), Curried Goat and Fish Fingers (Bristol Old Vic), Dogtag (Theatre West), Strawberry & Chocolate (Tobacco Factory Theatres), Dutchman (Tobacco Factory Theatres), Persistence of Memory (Rondo Theatre) and the forthcoming Half a God of Rainfall at Kiln Theatre.

English Touring Theatre and Sheffield Theatres present

The World Première of

Reasons to Stay Alive

By Matt Haig

Imagined for the stage by Jonathan Watkins

Text written by April de Angelis

Directed by Jonathan Watkins

UK tour: 13 September – 16 November 2019

‘Life is waiting for you. Hang on in there if you can. Life is always worth it.’

At 24 Matt’s world collapsed under the weight of depression. This is the true story of his journey out of crisis; a profoundly uplifting exploration of living and loving better. The first theatrical adaptation of Matt Haig’s frank and funny bestseller. This play with music and movement, imagined for the stage by Jonathan Watkins, celebrates what it means to be alive.


Matt Haig is a British author for children and adults. His memoir Reasons to Stay Alive was a number one bestseller, staying in the British top ten for 46 weeks. His children’s book A Boy Called Christmas was a runaway hit and is translated in over 25 languages. His novels for adults include the award-winning The Radleys and The Humans. He won the TV Book Club ‘book of the series’, and has been shortlisted for a Specsavers National Book Award. The Humans was chosen as a World Book Night title. His children’s novels have won the Smarties Gold Medal, the Blue Peter Book of the Year, been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and nominated for the Carnegie Medal three times.

April De Angelis’ work includes Wild East (Young Vic), The Village adapted from Lope de Vega’s Fuenteovejuna(Theatre Royal Stratford East), My Brilliant Friend adapted from Elena Ferrante’s novels (Rose Theatre Kingston), Rune (Old Vic Stoke), After Electra (Plymouth Theatre Royal and Tricycle Theatre), Jumpy (Royal Court and Duke of York’s), Catch (a collaboration with four other female playwrights) and Wild East (Royal Court), A Gloriously Mucky Business (Lyric Hammersmith), Calais (Paines Plough/Oran Mor), Country (Terror Season, Southwark Playhouse), an adaptation of Wuthering Heights (Birmingham Rep Theatre), A Laughing Matter (Out of Joint Theatre Company, National Theatre), The Warwickshire Testimony (RSC, The Other Place),The Positive Hour (Out of Joint Theatre/National Tour) and Playhouse Creatures (Sphinx Theatre Company, later revived by The Old Vic Theatre).

Jonathan Watkins directed and adapted KES (Sheffield Crucible Theatre, UK) a full-length dance-theatre production of the book ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’ by Barry Hines and created the first dance adaptation of George Orwell’s modern classic 1984 for Northern Ballet (UK Tour and Sadler’s Wells Theatre, May 2016). 1984 won Best New Dance Production at The Southbank Sky Arts Awards 2016 and was broadcast on the BBC with a DVD release by Opus Arte. Other credits include; Silent Vision, Stop Me When I’m Stuck, In The Presence of Others (Royal Ballet at Linbury Studio Theatre), As One(Royal Ballet), Diana and Actaeon for the production Metamorphosis: Titian (Royal Opera House/BBC Imagine film), Beyond Prejudice, Free Falling (Curve Foundation, Edinburgh Fringe Festival), NOW (New York City Ballet), Anger Fix (Sadler’s Wells), From Within and Onwards (Royal Ballet School), Push, Pull and all in-between and Osmosis (Hong Kong Performing Arts Centre), Together Alone (Ballet Black), Eventual Progress (Ekaterinburg Ballet Theatre, Russia),  Present Process (Ballet Manila, Philippines), A Northern Trilogy (Northern Ballet), and Crash (Texas Ballet Theatre). He also worked as Movement Director on Road by Jim Cartwright (Royal Court Theatre),People by Alan Bennett (National Theatre), The Machine (Manchester International Festival/Donmar Warehouse/New York Park Avenue Armoury), Aristocrats and Coriolanus (Donmar Warehouse). On film Route 67 for The Slice Project. Sofa, which he also directed, and Bunker for Channel 4’s Random Acts series. He produced and directed the Iphone Dance Series, a collection of Iphone shot dance films and recently directed the Saint-Petersburg Film Festival selected short Imperfect Perfection. 



Royal & Derngate Northampton

31 August – 14 September 2019

Box Office: 01604 624811 / www.royalandderngate.co.uk

Nuffield Southampton Theatres

17 – 21 September 2019

Box Office: 023 8067 1771 www.nstheatres.co.uk

Oxford Playhouse

24 – 28 September

Box Office: 01865 305305 / www.oxfordplayhouse.com

Cast, Doncaster

1 – 5 October 2019

Box Office: 01302 303 959 / www.castindoncaster.com

New Wolsey Theatre 

8 – 12 October

Box Office: 01473 295900 / www.wolseytheatre.co.uk

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

15 -19 October 2019

Box Office: 01483 44 00 00 / www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk

Derby Theatre

22 – 27 October 2019

Box Office: 01332 59 39 39 www.derbytheatre.co.uk


Sheffield Theatres

13 – 28 September 2019

Press night: Wednesday 18 September, 7.45pm

Box Office: 0114 249 6000 www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

Bristol Old Vic

1 – 5 October 2019

Box Office: 0117 987 7877 / www.bristololdvic.org.uk

Lawrence Batley Theatre

8 – 12 October 2019

Box Office: 01484 430 528 / www.thelbt.org

Northern Stage

15 – 19 October 2019

Box Office: 0191 230 5151 / www.northernstage.co.uk

HOME Manchester

29 October – 2 November 2019

Box Office: 0161 200 1500 / www.homemcr.org

York Theatre Royal

5 – 9 November 2019

Box Office: 01904 623 568 / www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

Leeds Playhouse

12 – 16 November 2019

Box Office: 0113 213 7700 / www.leedsplayhouse.org.uk