Orange Tree Theatre announces reopening with The Recovery Season


Artistic Director Paul Miller and Executive Director Hanna Streeter today announce that the Orange Tree Theatre will reopen its doors from 22 May with The Recovery Season, marking the first return of audiences to the Orange Tree in over 14 months. The season opens with Bernard Shaw’s How He Lied to Her Husband and Overruled directed by Miller, followed by the London première of Bryony Lavery’s Last Easter directed by Tinuke Craig. In a co-production with Actors Touring Company, Matthew Xia directs the UK première of Michele Lee’s Rice, and Miller revives his sold out 2019 production of Terence Rattigan’s While the Sun Shines.

Continuing their partnership with the JMK Award, following the success of 2019 winner Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu’s production of Little Baby Jesus, the Orange Tree will present the 2021 JMK Award-winning production. The play and the director will be announced in the spring.

Paul Miller today said, “It’s been a long time, but with live-streamed new plays this week, and nine months of work to announce, the OT is back. New work, education shows, a British première, entertaining rediscoveries, a London première, and emerging talent championed: this is a classic OT mix to be proud of. We can’t wait to start employing artists and welcoming audiences: the magic begins when everyone works together.”

The OT’s Writer’s Collective also returns with writers Jade Anouka, Nimmo Ismail, Gemma Lawrence, and Tamsin Daisy Rees, and dramaturg Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong. Led by OT Literary Associate Guy Jones, the collective is an opportunity for a group of writers and a dramaturg to share skills and techniques, and to fire up conversations and collaborations.

The OT’s Education and Participation programme will start to return in person, having engaged with the Youth Theatre, Young Company and Over 60s group via Zoom throughout lockdown. Bec Martin’s Shakespeare Up Close productions of Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet filmed in the theatre in March 2021, are available for schools to watch, and the OT will also return to schools with a touring Primary Shakespeare production of Twelfth Night, directed by Fiona Drummond.

Each production in the season will also be filmed by The Umbrella Rooms and streamed online with OT On Screen following the success of the company’s recent new plays project Inside/Outside. Over 3,500 tickets will be available for anyone at £15 across the season.

All productions will be rehearsed and presented in line with government guidelines, with social distancing in place for Shaw Shorts. For full information on how events will be taking place, please visit

Please find link to images here:


By Bernard Shaw

Directed by Paul Miller; Designed by Simon Daw; Lighting Design by Mark Doubleday

Composer Elizabeth Purnell

22 May – 26 June

Press night: Wednesday 26 May at 7pm

OT On Screen: 3-4 June 7.30pm

In How He Lied to Her Husband, Aurora is concerned about what has happened to the poems written for her by her admirer, the impetuous Henry, and fears they may get into the hands of husband Teddy. Henry suggests they confess the truth and go to the theatre as planned… to see Bernard Shaw’s Candida. Then Henry arrives home.

Overruled sees two strangers fall in love at sea. Both married they decide they must part, but then are surprised to find their spouses at a hotel together. They’ve fallen for each other too. Do they stay together or swap?

Two short plays by Bernard Shaw, directed by Artistic Director Paul Miller following his hugely successful OT productions of Shaw’s Candida, Misalliance, The Philanderer and Widowers’ Houses.

The plays can be seen separately or together as a double bill, with each play around 40 minutes.

Bernard Shaw wrote more than sixty plays in his lifetime, including Man and Superman, Pygmalion, Saint Joan, Major Barbara, Heartbreak House, and The Doctor’s Dilemma. Shaw was awarded the 1925 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Paul Miller has been Artistic Director of the Orange Tree since 2014, where he has directed Jo Clifford’s Losing Venice, Charlotte Jones’ Humble Boy, Bernard Shaw’s Misalliance, The Philanderer and Widowers’ Houses, Lot Vekemans’ Poison, Marivaux’s The Lottery of Love, Somerset Maughan’s Sheppey, Terence Rattigan’s French Without Tears (also tour with English Touring Theatre), Doris Lessing’s Each His Own Wilderness and The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd by DH Lawrence. Between 2009 and 2014 he was an Associate Director at Sheffield Theatres, he directed Macbeth at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2019, and for the National Theatre he has directed The History Boys (revival for the West End and UK tour), Baby Girl by Roy Williams, DNA by Dennis Kelly, The Miracle by Lin Coghlan, The Enchantment by Victoria Benedictsson, Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads by Roy Williams, and The Associate by Simon Bent.



by Bryony Lavery

Directed by Tinuke Craig; Designed by Hannah Wolfe; Lighting Design by Elliot Griggs

Sound Design by Anna Clock

3 July – 7 August

Press night: Wednesday 7 July at 7pm

OT On Screen: 22-23 July, 7.30pm

A lighting designer, an actress, a prop maker and a drag singer go on a pilgrimage looking for a miracle.

Even when June, the lighting designer, is diagnosed with a devastating illness, the jokes don’t stop coming as a quartet of theatre friends career across France. They glug red wine and hope to find a miracle at Lourdes for June, a non-believer who thinks the only good thing about religion is the lighting. They’ll soon discover that miracles come in many different forms.

Last Easter is a funny, moving and provocative play about the true nature of friendship.

Bryony Lavery is a multi-award-winning playwright. Her theatre credits include The Borrowers, The Lovely Bones, The Midnight Gang, Swallows and Amazons, Brighton Rock, Frozen (winner of the TMA Best Play Award), Balls, Brideshead Revisited, Queen Coal, The Believers, Treasure Island, Beautiful Burnout, The Origin of the Species, Wicked Lady, and More Light.

Tinuke Craig’s previous theatre credits include Crave, Random/Generations (Chichester Festival Theatre), Hamlet for Young Audiences (NT tour), Cinderella (Lyric Hammersmith), Vassa (Almeida Theatre), The Color Purple (Leicester Curve, Birmingham Hippodrome), I Call my Brothers (Gate Theatre), Dirty Butterfly (Young Vic). Craig was the 2015-2016 Associate Director at Gate Theatre, and received the 2014 Genesis Future Director Award. She is an Artistic Associate at the Lyric Hammersmith, and an Associate at the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain.


28 August – 2 October

Press night: Thursday 2 September at 7pm

OT On Screen: 23-24 September, 7.30pm

A contemporary play directed by the winner of the JMK Award. See the work of a great emerging director in a brand-new production selected from the following:

Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. by Alice Birch

Statements After An Arrest Under the Immigration Act by Athol Fugard

Tom Fool by Franz Xaver Kroetz

When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout by Sharman Macdonald

Rum and Coca Cola by Mustapha Matura

Mules by Winsome Pinnock

Peggy Pickett Sees the Face of God by Roland Schimmelpfennig

The finalist directors will be announced shortly, with the winning director and selected play to be announced in spring.

The OT produced the JMK Award-winning production for the first time in 2019 with Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu directing a critically acclaimed production of Little Baby Jesus by Arinzé Kene.

The JMK Trust was founded in the memory James Menzies-Kitchin – a theatre director of thrilling promise – to give practical learning opportunities to theatre directors of similar ability and vision. The JMK Award allows an early career director to stage their own production of a play of their choice.


An Orange Tree Theatre and Actors Touring Company co-production


by Michele Lee

Directed by Matthew Xia

9 October – 13 November

Press night: Wednesday 13 October at 7pm

OT On Screen: 4-5 November, 7.30pm

Nisha is a young hotshot executive working for Golden Fields, Australia’s largest producer of rice. Ambitious and headstrong, she’s determined to become the first female Indian CEO in Australia. She’s close to sealing a contract with the Indian government, which would see her company take over India’s national rice distribution system. A secret deal worth billions.

Working late nights in the office she encounters Yvette, an older Chinese migrant, who cleans up her mess. Yvette has her own entrepreneurial ambitions, but her daughter faces court after participating in a protest against the unethical practices of a national supermarket chain.

The two form a powerful – if unlikely – bond as they navigate the complexities of their lives and the world at large.

Brimming with wickedly humorous observations on globalisation, politics and family, this is the UK premiere of a powerful new play from Asian-Australian writer Michele Lee, which has won numerous awards including the Australian Writers’ Guild Award for Best Original Stage Play.

Michele Lee is an Asian-Australian writer working across television, film, stage, books, audio and live art. Her other theatre credits include Security (finalist for 2021 Patrick White Award), Single Ladies, Going Down (shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, the Nick Enright Prize, an Australian Writer’s Guild Award and five Green Room Awards), An Assistant’s Notes for a Pandemic, The Naked Self, and Off Centre. For television, her credits include Hungry Ghosts, and Secret Threads.

This is the third collaboration between the Orange Tree Theatre and Actors Touring Company, following Amsterdam by Maya Arad Yasur and Winter Solstice by Roland Schimmelpfennig, both of which also toured the UK.

Artistic Director of Actors Touring Company Matthew Xia returns to the Orange Tree Theatre to direct Rice – he previously directed Amsterdam (ATC co-production) and Blood Knot at the OT. Other directing credits include Eden (Hampstead Theatre), One Night in Miami (Nottingham Playhouse, HOME, Bristol Old Vic), Into the Woods, Frankenstein, Wish List (Royal Exchange as Associate Artistic Director), Shebeen (Nottingham Playhouse, Stratford East), and Blue/Orange, The Sound of the Yellow, Sizwe Banzi is Dead – for which he won the 2013 Genesis Future Director Award (Young Vic). Xia is an Associate Artist at the Nottingham Playhouse.


by Terence Rattigan

Directed by Paul Miller; Designed by Simon Daw; Lighting Design by Mark Doubleday

Sound Designer & Composer Elizabeth Purnell

20 November – 8 January

Press night: Wednesday 24 November at 7pm

OT On Screen: 6-7 Jan 2022 at 7.30pm

One of the most successful productions in Orange Tree history returns.

On the eve of his wedding, the young Earl of Harpenden – Bobby to his friends – has offered his room to Joe, an American soldier he drunkenly met the night before. When Bobby’s fiancée Lady Elizabeth turns up, Joe makes a move, thinking she must be Bobby’s ex, the wonderful Mabel Crum. But a Free French lieutenant also has eyes for her… And to complicate matters, Bobby’s future father-in-law turns up too. London in the Blitz, and identities get confused: time to make hay…

This first major London revival of Rattigan’s delectably charming comedy in decades had an acclaimed sold-out run in 2019. It was the writer’s greatest hit playing for over 1,000 performances in the West End when it opened in 1943.

Terence Rattigan is one of Britain’s greatest playwrights. His numerous works for the stage include French Without Tears, After the Dance, Flare Path, Love In Idleness, The Winslow Boy, The Browning Version, Harlequinade, Adventure Story, Who is Sylvia?, The Deep Blue Sea, The Sleeping Prince, Separate Tables, Variation on a Theme, Ross, Man and Boy, A Bequest to the Nation, In Praise of Love and Cause Célèbre.

Orange Tree Theatre Listings

1 Clarence Street, Richmond, TW9 2SA

Box Office: 020 8940 3633


The Orange Tree (OT) is an award-winning, independent theatre. Recognised as a powerhouse that creates high-quality productions of new and rediscovered plays, it entertains 70,000 people across the UK every year. Since March 2020, the OT has been in hibernation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. An independent theatre and registered charity that relies on ticket income, closure poses significant risk to the OT.

The OT’s home in Richmond, South West London, is an intimate theatre with the audience seated all around the stage: watching a performance here is truly a unique experience. We believe in the power of dramatic stories to entertain, thrill and challenge us; plays that enrich our lives by enhancing our understanding of ourselves and each other.

As a registered charity (266128) sitting at the heart of its community, we work with 10,000 people in Richmond and beyond through participatory theatre projects for people of all ages and abilities.

The Orange Tree Theatre’s mission is to enable audiences to experience the next generation of theatre talent, experiment with ground-breaking new drama and explore the plays from the past that inspire the theatre-makers of the present.

Artistic Director Paul Miller

Executive Director Hanna Streeter

Website | Email [email protected]

Twitter @OrangeTreeThtr | Facebook/Instagram OrangeTreeTheatre


The JMK Trust was founded in memory of James Menzies-Kitchin, a young director of great promise who died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 28, to give opportunities to theatre directors of similar ability and vision. This prestigious award enables an outstanding applicant aged 35 or under to create their own production of their choice of an established play. Its intensive development and selection process has itself given powerful impetus to the best theatre practitioners of the future. Previous winners have become major players in British theatre, including Thea Sharrock, Orla O’Loughlin, Bijan Sheibani, Joe Hill-Gibbins, Natalie Abrahami, Roy Alexander Weise, Liz Stevenson and Polly Findlay.

The expanding National Directors Programme, working in partnership with 12 regional theatres, is an essential network seeking talent from across the UK which feeds into the JMK Award and enables a truly national reach. The programme at each partner venue is run by the JMK’s Director Practitioners who are established, locally-based directors. They curate the programme for their region, working with their nearest partner venues to tailor the work to the needs of local directors providing year-round training, mentoring, bursaries and support for directors of all ages. The current partner theatres are Bristol Old Vic, Tobacco Factory Theatres, HOME in Manchester, Royal and Derngate Northampton, Salisbury Playhouse, Traverse Edinburgh, Birmingham Rep, New Vic Stoke, Nottingham Playhouse, Northern Stage, Reading Rep and Leeds Playhouse.

Twitter: @JMKTrust1

Facebook: /jmktrust

Instagram: @jmktrust1


ATC creates dialogue between Britain and the rest of the world – and between the intersecting cultures within our country. It is a leading producer of plays that come from beyond our shores.

We are passionate about giving voice to the ‘outsider within’ – the cross-cultural nations within our own nation. We tour our plays right across Britain: creating, developing and sustaining a dialogue between those deemed ‘the other’ and UK audiences. In the last few years, we have produced first English language productions of plays from Iran, Norway, the US, Germany, Austria, Russia – bringing international voices to school and village halls, studio theatres and main houses: from Barcelona to Glasgow, from Hong Kong to Scarborough. We regularly produce with partners such as Orange Tree Theatre, Young Vic, Theatre Royal Plymouth and Northern Stage. Signature productions include: The Brothers Size, The Events, Amsterdam, the ATC debut of Artistic Director Matthew Xia, and Dear Tomorrow – letters of hope commissioned from writers around the globe.


We have been granted the use of Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre’s See It Safely mark. The mark certifies that we are complying with the latest Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, to ensure the safety of our staff and audiences. You can find out more here about the measures put in place ready for your visit, and what you will need to know beforehand.



22 May – 26 June

Mon – Sat (not Mon 31 May)

Check for the schedule of plays

Audio Described performance: Mon 21 June 7.30pm

Captioned performance: Tue 22 June 7.30pm

Ticket prices: £15 for one play or £25 for both plays or double-bill performances

Under 30s £15


3 July – 7 August 2021

Mon – Sat 7.30pm (except 7 July at 7pm)

Thu & Sat 2.30pm (from 10 July)

Audio Described performance Sat 7 Aug 2.30pm

Captioned Performance Tue 3 Aug 7.30pm

Tickets from £25 in person, or £15 through OT On Screen

Under 30s £15


28 August – 2 October 2021

Mon – Sat 7.30pm (except 2 Sep at 7pm)

Thu & Sat 2.30pm (from 4 Sep)

Audio Described performance: Sat 2 Oct 2.30pm

Captioned performance: Tue 28 Sep 7.30pm

Tickets from £15, £25, £32


9 October – 13 November 2021

Mon – Sat 7.30pm (except 13 Oct at 7pm)

Thu & Sat 2.30pm (from 16 Oct)

Audio Described performance: Sat 13 Nov 2.30pm

Captioned performance: Tue 9 Nov 7.30pm

Tickets from £15, £25, £32


20 November 2021 – 8 January 2022

Mon – Sat 7.30pm (except 24 Nov at 7pm)

Thu & Sat 2.30pm (from 27 Nov)

Additional matinees 24 & 31 Dec at 2.30pm

No performances 25, 27 Dec & 3 Jan

Audio Described performance: Sat 18 Dec 2.30pm

Captioned performance: Tue 14 Dec 7.30pm

Tickets from £15, £25, £32

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