The best of UK theatre: what to book now for autumn, winter and Christmas 2015
August 24, 2015 | By:

Tipping the Velvet will star Sally Messham

Tom Conti, Sheridan Smith and Claire Skinner all tread the boards this autumn. Here are our must-see theatre picks for the rest of the year.

Tipping the Velvet, September to November, London and Edinburgh

Sally Messham and Laura Rogers will lead the cast in a new adaptation of Sarah Water’s 1988 best-selling novel Tipping the Velvet.

Full of audacity, desire and adventure, Tipping the Velvet tells the captivating and exhilarating story of Nancy Astley, who in 1887 falls in love with a girl who wears trousers. This is a new version of the classic by acclaimed playwright Laura Wade, whose Posh made her name and has found new audiences in the film version: last year’s The Riot Club.

Tickets for Tipping the Velvet at the Lyric Hammersmith
, London, 18 September to 24 October 2015.

Tickets for Tipping the Velvet The Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh
, 28 October to 14 November 2015.

HOOD, 17- 26 September, Nottingham

An exciting new production commissioned in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Theatre Royal in Nottingham.


Hood brings the story of the famous outlaw up to the present day

Based on the legend and ballads of Robin Hood, six Nottinghamshire playwrights have created a condensed history of the city. Set from 1865 to the present to reflect the 150 years of the Theatre Royal, this is a roam through the past with the notorious hero Robin Hood.

Tickets for Hood at the Theatre Royal

Before the Party, 2 – 12 September in Windsor, then touring

With their debut performance together, two of the best-loved stars of stage and screen Tom Conti and Gwen Taylor perform in Before the Party.

Tom_Conti_Before the Party_Best theatre_press pic

Tom Conti stars in Before the Party

A satirical comedy set in ration book Britain, it shows hungry wartime practices hindering the preparation of a party in the absence of delectable foods.

Touring the UK including Norwich, Woking, Malvern, Cheltenham, Bath and Eastbourne. Search ‘Before the Party’ for tickets.

Romeo and Juliet, 19 September to 2 December, London and screened nationwide

The Royal Ballet’s 2015/16 season opens with Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet, which premièred in 1965. In celebration of the 50th anniversary, the ballet of the star-crossed lovers will be screened live to cinemas on 22 September.

Over the years, the tragedy has seen many celebrated dancers in the lead roles including Jonathan Cope and Darcey Bussell. This year sees many exciting new debut dancers, dancing the part of the tragic lovers.

Romeo and Juliet_Lauren Cuthbertson_Federico Bonelli_By Bill Cooper_620x349

Federico Bonelli and Lauren Cuthbertson as Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Bill Cooper

Tickets for Romeo and Juliet at The Royal Opera House, 19 September to 2 December 2015.

The performance will also be relayed live on BP big screens across the UK on 22 September 2015.

The Father, September to November, London and Cambridge

The Father is one of those plays that makes your brain hum with the unique potential of theatre,” said The Independent of Florian Zeller’s production at London’s Tricycle theatre earlier this year.

Kenneth Cranham plays Andre, the 80-year-old father of Anne, Outnumbered’s Claire Skinner, in a powerful portrayal of the deteriorating effect of dementia.


Claire Skinner and Kenneth Cranham in The Father

With the pains of maintaining a father-daughter bond and her relationship with her husband, this is set to be a hit when it transfers first to Cambridge’s Arts Theatre next month, and then to London’s Wyndham’s Theatre.

Tickets for The Father at Cambridge Arts Theatre, 15 to 26 September 2015.

Tickets for The Father at Wyndham’s Theatre, 30 September to 21 November 2015.

Young Men, 5 to 10 October, London


BalletBoyz presents Young Men at Sadler’s Wells

Young Men is presented by the award-wining BalletBoyz, and is a story of suffering endured by young soldiers in the First World War. Choreographed by Iván Pérez, it portrays survival, comradeship and love through the bonds created between the men.

Tickets for Young Men at Sadler’s Wells, 5-10 October 2015.

Husbands & Sons, October to March 2016, London and Manchester

Husbands & Sons combines three of DH Lawrence’s greatest dramas: The Daughter-in-LawA Collier’s Friday Night and The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd, and explores the story of the women of the villages around the Brinsley coal pit.


Husbands and Sons

Anne-Marie Duff plays lead Lizzie Holroyd in this drama about female solidarity and working class pride.

Dorfman Theatre at the National Theatre, from 19 October 2015 to 19 January 2016.

Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, 19 February to 19 March 2016.

Funny Girl, November to March, London

Funny Girl returns to London for the first time since it premièred nearly 50 years ago, with Sheridan Smith starring as Fanny Brice in the iconic musical.

Following the career of Fanny from the Lower East Side of New York to her rise to stardom on Broadway, this spectacular sell-out show is the fastest-selling production in the theatre’s history. If you manage to get your hands on tickets it promises to be fantastic fun.

Menier Chocolate Factory, 20 November 2015 to 5 March 2016. Tickets have sold out, but the theatre advises signing up to its mailing list in case more become available.

Dick Whittington, December, London


Wilton’s Music Hall, which is reopening to the public in September

One of London’s oldest surviving music halls has been newly restored and is presenting its first traditional pantomime this Christmas. Roy Hudd will write and star in Dick Whittington at Wilton’s Music Hall – fitting as Hudd is also an authority on the history of music hall entertainment, so he’ll be right at home (oh no he won’t!).

Tickets to Dick Whittington at Wilton’s Music Hall, 1-31 December 2015 (not Sundays, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day).