Gwen Taylor and Susan Penhaligon in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST







Gwen Taylor will star as Lady Bracknell in the 2018 UK tour of Oscar Wilde’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, alongside Susan Penhaligon as Miss Prism. The tour will begin on 24 January at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, ending on 28 April in Eastbourne. Further casting is to be announced.


Gwen Taylor is best known for playing the title role in the ITV sitcom Barbara, as well as Anne Foster in Coronation Street, Peggy Armstrong in Heartbeat, Rita Simcock in A Bit of A Do, for which she was nominated for a BAFTA TV Best Actress Award, and Amy in Duty Free.  Her film appearances include The Lady in the Van and Monty Python’s Life of Brian.  Gwen most recently played Mrs Bramson in Luke Sheppard’s critically acclaimed touring production of Emlyn Williams’s Night Must Fall and Daisy Worthen in Driving Miss Daisy at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre.  Other theatre credits include Calendar Girls (UK Tour), the title role in the national tour of Shirley ValentineTop Girls (Royal Court and New York), and Gertrude in Sir Peter Hall’s production of Hamlet (London’s Gielgud Theatre and national tour).


Susan Penhaligon is currently appearing in Rufus Norris’s production of Cabaret alongside Will Young and Louise Redknapp. She has a wide range of TV credits to her name, including Upstairs DownstairsTales of the UnexpectedBergerac and A Bouquet of Barbed Wire. She played Judi Dench’s sister Helen in four series of the award-winning BBC sitcom A Fine Romance, and the regular role of Jean Hope in ITV’s Emmerdale. Susan also played Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew for the BBC’s Shakespeare season. Susan has toured the UK extensively, having previously worked with The Original Theatre Company, playing Queen Charlotte in their 2010 production of Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George III. She has also appeared in productions of George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Agatha Christie’s Verdict and Oscar Wilde’s Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime.


Oscar Wilde’s greatly admired and much loved comedy THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST follows Jack Worthing’s endeavours to marry Algernon’s cousin, the beautiful Gwendolen. But first he must convince the fearsome Lady Bracknell of his respectability. Wilde’s classic play looks at the clash of town and country in a story of romance, identity, perambulators and capacious handbags.


THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST will be directed by The Original Theatre Company’s Artistic Director, Alastair Whatley, with set and costume designs by Gabriella Slade, sound and music by Giles Thomas and lighting by Alan Valentine. The UK tour is produced by Tom Hackney for The Original Theatre Company.



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24 January – 3 February          Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford                           01483 440000


5 – 10 February                       Courtyard Theatre, Hereford                        01432 340555

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13 – 17 February                     Theatre Royal Plymouth                                01752 267222

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20 – 24 February                     Belfast Grand Opera House                         028 9024 1919                                                                                                                                                                 


27 February – 3 March            Bath Theatre Royal                                        01225 448844

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5 – 10 March                           Theatre Royal Winchester                            01962 840440



13 – 17 March                         Manchester Opera House                             0844 871 3018

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20 – 24 March                         Salisbury Playhouse                                      01722 320333                                                                                                                                   On sale soon


27 – 31 March                          Lichfield Garrick Theatre                             01543 412121

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3 – 7 April                                Churchill Theatre, Bromley                           020 3285 6000                                                                                                                                        On sale soon

17 – 21 April                            York Theatre Royal                                        01904 623568                                                                                                                                       On sale soon

24 – 28 April                           Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne         01323 412000                        On sale soon