The Trials of Oscar Wilde - UK tour

London theatre news: Wednesday 6 March 2019

Shows - Tours

Casting is announced for the UK tour of The Trials of Oscar Wilde - co-written by his grandson - telling what actually happened during Wilde's trials, drawing on the original transcripts.
The Trials of Oscar Wilde on UK tour and at Greenwich Theatre

Image courtesy Emily Hyland

Casting has been announced for the new UK tour of The Trials of Oscar Wilde, which has been co-written by Oscar Wilde's own grandson, Merlin Holland.

John Gorick (Holby City, BBC; The Picture of Dorian Gray, Trafalgar Studios) revives his memorable performance as Oscar Wilde playing opposite Rupert Mason (Eastenders, BBC; The Tempest, RSC) as Edward Carson and the Marquess of Queensbury.

Also joining the cast are Patrick Knox (Macbeth, Orange Tree Theatre; The Canterbury Tales, Nottingham Theatre Royal) as Sir Edward Clarke, and Benjamin Darlington (Waiting for Godot, European Arts Company; King John, RSC) as Charles Parker and Alfred Wood.

Only days after the celebrated opening of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, the poet and playwright started legal proceedings against The Marquess of Queensberry for criminal libel - an action which led to three scandalous trials that destroyed his career, wrecked his family and saw him sentenced to two years hard labour.

The Trials of Oscar Wilde enables us to see a full picture of the trials and their shocking aftermath.

The production will be touring from March to June, with stop-offs in the London area at Greenwich Theatre from 2 to 6 April; Harrow Arts Centre on 24 April and the Dugdale Centre from 28 to 29 May.

Check the tour website link below for the full tour schedule.

The play is adapted from the full transcript of the libel trial in April 1895 (recently discovered by Merlin Holland after 100 years), contemporary newspaper reports and eyewitness accounts.

What happened at the Old Bailey and what did Wilde say?

Was he harshly treated or the author of his own downfall?

Using the actual words spoken in court, we can feel what it was like to be in the company of a flawed genius - as this less than ideal husband was tragically reduced to a man of no importance.

Co-writer John O'Connor commented ...

"Oscar Wilde is many people's ideal dinner guest but it's difficult to imagine how he actually spoke.

However, thanks to the transcripts of the trials, we can hear Wilde's true voice in all its exasperating brilliance.

It's exciting to discover that he did talk in perfectly formed epigrams and paradoxes but the Old Bailey was far too dangerous a place to do that.

The stakes couldn't have been higher.

Wilde deflects, stumbles and feints like a boxer up against the ropes but he meets his match in the British Establishment.

His wit is incomparable, his humanity a triumph but his tragedy makes him immortal."

This production shows Oscar Wilde fighting for his art as well as his life; we see his complexity, wit and deep humanity using the real facts and transcripts.

Wilde's grandson commented ...

"Over the years, there have been a number of attempts to tell the story of my grandfather on stage but none of them has really managed to bring alive the drama of Oscar's courtroom appearances.

Using the actual words from the libel trial, and with a careful reconstruction of Wilde's prosecution by the Crown for homosexuality, it's a chance for audiences to see the real Oscar for the first time.

The Trials of Oscar Wilde should be an obligatory part of every young person's education to teach them the meaning of tolerance and, more than ever in today's world, about the appalling consequences of blinkered homophobia.

This production shows him fighting for his art as well as his life and we get a real sense of Oscar's intellect at full stretch - his complexity, wit and deep humanity."

This national tour of The Trials of Oscar Wilde will help to support the important work of the LGBT charity Stonewall in promoting equality.

Although Wilde's trial and imprisonment was 124 years ago, he was only officially pardoned in 2017.

However, what happened to Wilde in 1895 is happening to LGBTQIA+ people all over the world today.

Stonewall estimates that same-sex relationships are still illegal in 72 countries and in eight of those, they are punishable by death.


The Trials of Oscar Wilde - tour website

Oscar Wilde - Wikipedia

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