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Culture, Theatre

Reading Rep Theatre and Original Theatre Announce The Importance of Being Oscar

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Reading Rep Theatre and Original Theatre have today announced that they will bring Micheál Mac Liammóir’s renowned play, The Importance of Being Oscar, back to the stage with a new production running at Reading Rep Theatre from 23 May - 8 June.

Micheál Mac Liammóir’s renowned play The Importance of Being Oscar returns to the stage following huge critical acclaim.

Step beyond the footlights into the private world of Oscar Wilde.

Told in the shadows of Reading Gaol, where Wilde was imprisoned, the strictly limited run will immerse audiences in a compelling journey through the loves and losses, successes and struggles of the iconic man - from the eccentric socialite to the imprisoned outcast.

A beautiful tribute to an icon of the world of theatre, liberally laced with Wilde's signature wit and wisdom and featuring excerpts of many of his best-loved works including An Ideal Husband, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Earnest and The Ballad of Reading of Gaol. The one man show promises to be a Wilde-ly entertaining night.

The production sees Reading Rep Theatre reunite with director Michael Fentiman (Amelie, Jekyll & Hyde, The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe), having directed the Reading Rep Production of Jekyll & Hyde before its transfer to the Royal Lyceum and subsequent Scottish tour.

The play will mark Original Theatre’s Artistic Director Alastair Whatley’s return to the stage, having last performed in the 2017 production of Torben Betts’ Invincible in New York. Whatley’s acting credits include Birdsong, The Importance of Being Earnest, Three Men in a Boat, See How They Run, Twelfth Night, Vincent in Brixton, Dancing at Lughnasa, Henry V (RSC and South Hill Park) and The Importance of Being Oscar, with which he toured the UK and Ireland in 2010 to 2011.

Paul Stacey, Founding Artistic Director of Reading Rep Theatre, said: "It is truly extraordinary to be producing The Importance of Being Oscar for our stage in May. To be doing so against the backdrop of Reading Gaol where Wilde was once incarcerated, and where much controversy has occurred over its sale, seems particularly poignant. To be collaborating with Mike Fentiman again after the success of Jekyll & Hyde, is an amazing opportunity as is being able to co-produce with the brilliant Original Theatre. The unique convergence of talent and history promises to be an unforgettable experience for all involved."

Alastair Whatley said of today’s announcemen: “After a gap of what feels like the better part of a decade I am delighted to be returning to Micheál Mac Liammóir’s extraordinary play. I performed this piece as a younger man all over the UK and Ireland and the memory of that experience has long stayed with me. Returning to Oscar with such an extraordinary team around me and performing in the shadow of Reading Gaol with the brilliant team at Reading Rep behind it, meant it was just too good an opportunity to let pass by. To that end, I’m thrilled to be collaborating with director Mike Fentiman once again - just this time as an actor.’”

Booking information can be found at


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