News: Rose Theatre’s new Artistic Director announces new season

Rose Theatre’s Artistic Director, Christopher Haydon, is delighted to announce his inaugural season.  Having been appointed Artistic Director in January 2020, he was prevented from announcing his plans until now due to COVID-19.  With an emphasis on the female voice, the season will include five Rose Original productions – including two world premieres and a new version of an epic Brechtian masterpiece.  

Under Haydon’s stewardship, the Rose’s own work will be the priority, as demonstrated by the five Rose Originals in this upcoming season, but there will always be room on the theatre’s stage for the country’s leading touring shows as well.  This season’s Rose Originals are a blend of new plays tackling significant contemporary issues and well-known titles reinvented for today.

Christopher Haydon is very keen for the Rose to support and mentor emerging and established artists, with a focus on writers.  The Rose is developing projects with Morgan Lloyd MalcolmLulu Raczka, Onjali Q. Raúf, Nina Segal andRoy Williams.  He is enlarging the creative family around the Rose, appointing new partners and advisers including Lucian Msamati as an Associate Artist, Poltergeist as an Associate Company and this year’s recipient of the Peter Hall Emerging Artists Fellowship, Layla Madanat.

Christopher Haydon said of his first season, “I have been hugely proud to work with the amazing Rose team to devise my first season, in spite of the extraordinary challenges presented by the past year. These shows combine uplifting stories which bring some much needed joy, with plays that ask provocative, searching questions about the society we live in. Alongside the productions, we are expanding the creative family that surrounds the Rose with our new group of associates. I am delighted to be working with both experienced artists who will help guide the vision of the theatre and emerging talent whom we will mentor and support in every way we can. I’m also really excited to have some of the UK’s best playwrights under commission.”

Board Member Angellica Bell said today, “The Rose is not only hugely grateful to have received two grants from the Culture Recovery Fund, but is also proud to have made no staff redundant throughout the past 15 months. In addition, we’d like to thank the Royal Borough of Kingston and Kingston University for their continued support. Today really is a celebration in every sense of the word. Chris’ vision and artistic ambition is made clear through his programming and the partnerships he is forming. It’s also a real privilege for the Rose to be working alongside Francesca Moody Productions, Alexandra Palace, Oxford Playhouse, MGC and Tall Stories, to name but a few. I can’t wait to see amazing stories being told on the Rose stage once again and we’re so ready to welcome you back!”


2 – 25 September 2021

Audio Described Performance 18 September 2021 at 3pm

World Premiere – A Rose Original Production

Rose Theatre and Francesca Moody Productions 

Playwright: Alys Metcalf 

Director: Christopher Haydon

Designer: Lily Arnold 

Lighting Designer: Mark Howland 

Sound Designer: Gareth Fry 

Intimacy Director: Asha Jennings-Grant

Assistant Director: Amber Sinclair-Case

Think of it like carbon offsetting, except for morals.  

An unmissable new thriller from the Olivier Award-winning producer of Fleabag and Baby Reindeer to open the Rose’s 2021/22 season. Written by fast rising talent Alys Metcalf (You Only Live ForeverUnearthed) and directed by Christopher Haydon. 

When Niala arranges to meet celebrated charity leader Ben in the bar of a London hotel for career advice, their evening unfolds into something far less professional. As the weather closes in and secrets start to surface, the consequences of their choices leave them nowhere to hide.  

A gripping encounter that takes place over the course of one stormy night, Leopards is a play about the image we construct of ourselves and what it truly means to be good.

Booking link:


4 – 20 November 2021

Press Night 10 November 2021 at 7:30pm

BSL Interpreted Performance  13 November 2021 at 3pm

World Premiere – A Rose Original Production

Playwright: Colin Teevan 

Director and Designer: Melly Still 

Composer & Sound Designer: Jon Nicholls 

Lighting Designer: Malcolm Rippeth

Associate Designer: Amanda Ramasawmy

Assistant Director: Layla Madanat

From the director of My Brilliant Friend (National Theatre transfer, 2019) and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (West End transfer, 2019), comes the world premiere of Colin Teevan’s (The EmperorDoctor Faustus, Rebellion, Das BootThe Seven Pomegranate Seeds.

Seven contemporary stories grounded in prominent, mythical origins.

Persephone, Hypsipyle, Medea, Alcestis, Phaedra, Creusa and Demeter: the women of Euripides’ plays are reimagined as people of today in an unexpected fusion of celebrity, inappropriate desires, historical police investigations and missing children.

A severed maternal bond threads each story together, charting a journey through rage and redemption, towards a compelling conclusion.

Rose Associate Artist, Melly Still (My Brilliant FriendCaptain Corelli’s Mandolin, Tony and Olivier nominee for Coram Boy), returns to the Rose to direct and design Colin Teevan’s haunting monologue cycle in this unflinching, witty production.

Booking link:


3 December 2021 – 3 January 2022

Press Night 10 December 2021 at 7.30pm

Audio Described Performance 18 December 2021 at 11.30am

Relaxed Performance 30 December 2021 at 11.30am

New Version – A Rose Original Production

A new version by Ciaran McConville 

Music & Lyrics by Eamonn O’Dwyer 

Director: Lucy Morrell 

Set Designer: Frankie Bradshaw

Costume Designer: Peter Todd

A cast of Rose Youth Theatre members and professional actors to be announced

On her eighteenth birthday, Bella learns that her father is the victim of a terrible curse. She sets out across the mountains to a mysterious valley, determined to face the Beast who condemned her father. Instead, she finds a community confronting its own sorrows with love, laughter and hope. In a race to learn the truth, Bella must question everything she’s been told and find humanity in the least expected places. 

One of the oldest fairy tales, Beauty and the Beast is about the power of youth to see beyond prejudice. In a sumptuous new version written by Ciaran McConville (The Snow QueenHansel & GretelAlice in Winterland), with music and lyrics by Eamonn O’Dwyer (Twelfth Night & Henry V at the Rose, The Comedy of Errors, Romeo & Juliet & Julius Caesar Re-imagined at RSC) and directed by Lucy Morrell (The Creature [Frankenstein Retold], 1984, Treasure Island), experience this beloved story as you’ve never seen it before, promising song, spectacle and a big, beating heart.

Booking link:


26 February – 19 March 2022

Press Night 3 March 2022 at 7:30pm

A Rose Original Production with Alexandra Palace and in association with Oxford Playhouse

By Jane Austen 

Adaptor: Jeff James, with James Yeatman 

Director: Jeff James 

Designer: Alex Lowde 

Lighting Designer: Lucy Carter 

Music and Sound Designer: Ben and Max Ringham 

Movement: Morgann Runacre-Temple

Dramaturg: James Yeatman

Assistant Director: Layla Madanat

If you can’t find a husband in Bath, you won’t find one anywhere.

Jeff James(La Musica at Young Vic) andJames Yeatman’s bold and brilliant adaptation, first seen at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 2017, brings all the sharp observation and quick wit of Jane Austen’s novel to the stage, without a bonnet in sight. 

When Captain Wentworth proposed to Anne Elliot eight years ago, he was penniless and had only love and ambition to offer. Persuaded out of accepting his proposal by her family, Anne’s never quite got over her first love.

But now Wentworth is back. Rich, successful and single, the handsome Captain has been transformed into a serious catch. When circumstances bring the two face to face again, Anne’s forced to confront the past. As old wounds reopen, will Wentworth forgive Anne for rejecting him, and will Anne finally learn to trust her desires?

Austen’s romantic comedy is riotously reinvented for the twenty-first century with an explosive foam party and a soundtrack of Frank Ocean, Dua Lipa and Cardi B.

Booking link:


23 April – 14 May 2022

Press Night 28 April 2022 at 7:30pm 

New Version – A Rose Original Production

By Bertolt Brecht

A new version by Steve Waters

Music by Michael Henry 

Director: Christopher Haydon

Designer: Frankie Bradshaw

Casting: Stuart Burt CDG

Assistant Director: Layla Madanat

Now hear the tale of the trial for the Governor’s child  

To establish the rightful mother  

Through the legendary test of the Chalk Circle  

Bertolt Brecht’s epic tale about justice and humanity is propelled into the present day, in a new version by Steve Waters (The Last King of ScotlandLimehouseTemple) with original songs by Michael Henry (Barber Shop Chronicles, Mr BurnsThey Drink it in the Congo).

In a refugee camp, a fight breaks out over lost land. To seek resolution, a singer tells the fable of ‘The Chalk Circle’: in the midst of a bloody revolution, a servant girl risks all to raise the abandoned child of the Governor and his wife. Years later, when the Governor’s wife returns seeking her son, a rogue judge turns justice on its head. Can the test of the Chalk Circle determine which of the two women is the boy’s real mother?

This production, developed in association with MGC, is directed by the Rose’s Artistic Director Christopher Haydon as part of his debut season and is the first major London production of Brecht’s tragicomic masterpiece for 25 years. 

Booking link:

Also this Season:


27-31 October 2021

Press Performance 28 October 2021 at 1pm

Relaxed Performance 29 October 2021 at 1pm

World Premiere – A Tall Stories production  

Director: Toby Mitchell

Set and Costume Designer: Barney George

Composers/Sound Designers: Andy Shaw and Jon Fiber

Movement Director: Morag Cross

Lighting Designer: Peter Harrison

Puppetry Designer: Yvonne Stone

A stellar new show based on the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

On a far-off planet, Smeds and Smoos can’t be friends. So when a young Smed and Smoo fall in love and zoom off into space together, how will their families get them back?

Music, laughs and interplanetary adventures for everyone aged 3 and up, from Tall Stories – the company that brought you The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom live on stage.

Booking link:


24 March – 9 April 2022

Jonathan Church Theatre Productions and Global Creatures present

The Old Vic and Bristol Old Vic production

From the novel by Patrick Ness

Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd

Directed by Sally Cookson

Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?

Patrick Ness’s piercing novel A Monster Calls is brought vividly to life in the Olivier award-winning production by visionary director Sally Cookson. 

Thirteen year-old Conor and his mum have managed just fine since his dad moved away. But now his mum is sick and not getting any better. His grandmother won’t stop interfering and the kids at school won’t look him in the eye.  

Then, one night, Conor is woken by something at his window. A monster has come walking. It’s come to tell Conor tales from when it walked before. And when it’s finished, Conor must tell his own story and face his deepest fears. 

From the critically acclaimed bestseller, A Monster Calls offers a dazzling insight into love, life and healing.  

This adaptation is suitable for adults and children aged 10+ 

Booking link:


17 – 29 May 2022

Kenny Wax Productions

By Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss

The international smash hit musical SIX makes its royal return to Kingston!

From Tudor Queens to Pop Princesses, the six wives of Henry VIII take to the mic to tell their tales, remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an 80-minute celebration of 21st century girl power. These Queens may have green sleeves but their lipstick is rebellious red.

Booking link:

Photo credit: The Other Richard


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