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Culture, Theatre

Reading Rep Theatre Announce Full Creative Team of The Importance of Being Oscar

Michael Fentiman and Alastair Whatley Photo by Marc Brenner vir8yy

Michael Fentiman and Alastair Whatley, Photo by Marc Brenner

Reading Rep Theatre and Original Theatre have today announced the full creative team and released rehearsal photos of their upcoming new production of Micheál Mac Liammóir’s renowned play, The Importance of Being Oscar, which will run at Reading Rep Theatre from 23 May - 8 June and star Original Theatre’s Artistic Director Alastair Whatley.

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 The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and subsequent Scottish tour.

The play will mark 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.

‘Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.’

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.

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

Joining Fentiman on the creative team will be Madeleine Girling (A Streetcar Named Desire – West End/Almeida Theatre, Amélie – West End, The Other Palace, UK Tour & the Watermill, The Windsors: Endgame – West End) as Set and Costume Designer, Chris Davey (Witness for the Prosecution – London County Hall, And Then There Were None – National & International Tour, Car Man & Lord of the Flies – Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures/Royal Albert Hall, Sadler’s Wells, National and International Tours) as Lighting Designer, and Barnaby Race (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – West End & UK Tour, Amélie – West End, The Other Palace, UK Tour, The Watermill, Peaky Blinders: The Rise – Immersive Everywhere) as Composer and Sound Designer.

The Importance of Being Oscar will mark the first time that Fentiman, Girling and Race have collectively collaborated on a new production since their Olivier Award and Grammy Award nominated production of Amélie the Musical.

Paul Stacey, Founding Artistic Director of Reading Rep Theatre, said: " We're thrilled to collaborate with an exceptional creative team to bring this production to life. Oscar Wilde's legacy is deeply intertwined with Reading's history, making it incredibly rewarding to share his story in our venue. We want to celebrate our city's vibrant cultural tapestry and the enduring spirit of creativity."

Booking information can be found at


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