Educating Rita, starring Matthew Kelly and Claire Sweeney, begins its run at the Theatre Royal in Brighton

Claire Sweeney and Matthew Kelly
Claire Sweeney and Matthew Kelly
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THE OLIVIER Award-winning play Educating Rita starring Matthew Kelly and Claire Sweeney visits Theatre Royal Brighton from Monday to Friday, July 16 to 21.

Considered a classic of British theatre, Educating Rita is the unforgettable story of the relationship between a feisty Liverpudlian hairdresser and a jaded university professor.

Rita has a passion for literature and is intent upon self-improvement.

Frank’s disillusionment with life has driven him to the bottle.

As Rita grapples with the trials of education and begins to challenge the attitudes of the university and her tutor, Frank begins to question his own understanding of his work and learns to believe in himself again.

Matthew Kelly is one of the UK’s best-loved actors and has worked in theatres across the country, the West End and on television.

Winner of an Olivier Award for his role as Lennie in Of Mice and Men, and widely acclaimed for his performance in the television drama Cold Blood, his recent stage roles range from the musicals Spamalot, Lend Me A Tenor and Legally Blonde in the West End to Troilus and Cressida at the Globe and Waiting For Godot with Ian McKellen.

He remains one of the most highly regarded TV presenters on British television.

Claire Sweeney is one of the UK’s best loved personalities with a string of credits to her name on stage and screen.

Her West End roles include ‘Roxy’ in Chicago and ‘Adelaide’ opposite Patrick Swayze in the award winning production of Guys and Dolls,

‘Paulette’ in a UK Tour of Legally Blonde and Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s one-woman show Tell Me On A Sunday.

A native Liverpudlian Claire’s first major TV role was that of Lindsay Corkhill in the tv series Brookside.

Her other tv credits include Clocking Off, MerseyBeat and a regular guest presenting slot on Loose Women.

Originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the show won the 1980 Society of West End Theatres (now Olivier) award for Best Comedy and Best Play. Since this time, Educating Rita has never been out of production somewhere in the world. The film version which starred Julie Walters and Michael Caine was Oscar-nominated and won three BAFTA awards.

Willy Russell is one of the most successful playwrights of his generation. His plays have been performed in countries across the globe and have won countless appreciation and creative awards as well as academic honours. As well as Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine, both of which were made into major award-winning feature films, playwright, lyricist and composer Willy Russell is the author of the long running West End hit Blood Brothers, John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert, Stags and Hens, One for the Road and Breezeblock Park. His writing for television includes Our Day Out and One Summer.

Tamara Harvey’s directing credits include Smash! at the Menier Chocolate Factory, The Kitchen Sink and Where’s My Seat (Bush), Tell Me on a Sunday (UK tour) and Dancing at Lughnasa (Birmingham Rep).