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Anton Lesser and Nicholas Woodeson star in Oxford Playhouse co-production The Two Popes


Following on from the success of Persuasion in the Summer Season, Oxford Playhouse is excited to present another of their co-productions, the play that sparked a major motion picture, The Two Popes. A fascinating and humorous story that shines a light into one of the world’s most secretive institutions, this is an unmissable production.

Rose Theatre in association with Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham and Oxford Playhouse present a Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Anthology Theatre co-production in association with Tara Finney Productions starring Anton Lesser (Game of Thrones, The Crown, Endeavour) and Nicholas Woodeson (Baptiste, The Death of Stalin). The show tours across the UK before coming to the Playhouse stage from Tue 18 to Sat 22 October.

Nine years ago, Pope Benedict XVI stunned the world by resigning, the first Pope in 700 years to do so. What drove this archconservative to break with sacred tradition and make way for a one-time tango club bouncer, football-loving reformer with the common touch to become Pope Francis, one of the most powerful men on earth?

This gripping and entertaining new play around papal powerplay by Anthony McCarten, writer of the Academy-Award winning Bohemian Rhapsody, Darkest Hour, and The Theory of Everything, premiered at Royal & Derngate in 2019 and was adapted into a multi-award-winning film, for which McCarten was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Academy, Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards, and is directed by Olivier Award nominated James Dacre (Our Lady of Kibeho).

Joining Anton Lesser (Pope Benedict XVI) and Nicholas Woodeson (Cardinal Bergoglio – the future Pope Francis) will be Lynsey Beauchamp as Sister Brigitta and Leaphia Darko as Sister Sophia, with Malcolm James and Angela Jones in the ensemble.

With original music by Grammy and BRIT Award-winning composer Anne Dudley, the production is designed by Jonathan Fensom, with lighting design by Charles Balfour, sound design by David Gregory and video & projection design by Duncan McLean. The Associate Director is Sarah Stacey, the Associate Lighting Designer is Ric Mountjoy, and original casting was by Annelie Powell CDG and Stuart Burt CDG.

Tickets for The Two Popes at Oxford Playhouse start at £10 and are available to purchase in person from the Box Office on Beaumont Street, by calling the Box Office team on 01865 305 305, or online at

Image credit: Manuel Harlan


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