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The Trials of Oscar Wilde transfers to West End

FOLLOWING a 43 date UK Tour and sell out run at St James Theatre, European Arts Company have announced that The Trials of Oscar Wilde will transfer to Trafalgar Studios for a strictly limited four week run.

The production will open on Monday, October 13, in celebration of Oscar Wilde’s 160th birthday that same week, and will run until Saturday, November 8, 2014.

Thursday, February 14, 1895 was the triumphant opening night of The Importance of Being Earnest and the zenith of Oscar Wilde’s career. Less than 100 days later he found himself a common prisoner and sentenced to two years hard labour.

But what happened during the trials and what did Wilde say? Was he harshly treated or the author of his own downfall? Using the actual words spoken in court, audiences can feel what it was like to be in the company of a flawed genius – as this less than ideal husband was tragically reduced to a man of no importance.

John Gorick (Holby City), Rupert Mason (Eastenders, A Touch of Frost) and William Kempsell (The Mystery of Irma Vep, Jack Studio Theatre – 2014 best actor nominee in the Off West End Awards) will all reprise their roles in the West End.

The Trials of Oscar Wilde has been co-written with Merlin Holland, who is Oscar Wilde’s grandson and acclaimed author of Irish Peacock and Scarlet Marquess: The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde.

Merlin Holland says: “I am absolutely thrilled that the play will be transferring to the West End, especially as the transfer will take place in the same week as his 160th birthday (16th October). The production gained great plaudits as it travelled around the UK with many sell out shows. Over the years, there have been a number of attempts to tell the story of my grandfather on stage but none of them have really managed to bring alive the drama of Oscar’s courtroom appearances.

“Using the actual words from the libel trial, recently discovered more than a hundred years after the event, and with a careful reconstruction of Wilde’s prosecution by the Crown for homosexuality, it’s a chance for audiences to see the real Oscar for the first time. This production shows him fighting for his art as well as his life and we get a real sense of Oscar’s intellect at full stretch – his complexity, wit and deep humanity.”

The West End run of The Trials of Oscar Wilde will also help to support the educational work of the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall.

Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall says: “Despite being one of the best-loved and most influential playwrights of all time, some people don’t know that Oscar Wilde was persecuted for his sexuality. The Trials of Oscar Wilde helps to show these parts of Wilde’s life and beautifully illustrates the complexity of a true genius. We’re thrilled that European Arts Company are supporting our work and delighted that money raised from the West End run will support our work to tackle homophobic bullying in schools.”

NB: A special Birthday Gala performance will take place on Thursday, October 16 at 7.45pm (Wilde’s birthday) with further details to be announced soon.

A series of post show talks with guest speakers and company Q&A’s are currently being prepared for the run and details of these events will be released soon.

Tickets: £25, £20 and £15. To book, call 0844 871 7632 (ATG Tickets), 0844 871 7677 (Access Line) or 0844 847 2345 ( ATG’s 24 hour ticketing service). Alternatively, visit www.atgtickets.com/venues/trafalgar-studios/.

Times: Monday to Saturday at 7.45pm, Thursday and Saturday matinees at 3pm.

Read more about The Trials of Oscar Wilde.

Also at Trafalgar Studios: Chris Urch’s Land of Our Fathers (September 2 to October 4, 2014); Shakespeare’s Richard III, starring Martin Freeman and Gina McKee (until September 27, 2014); and Ayub Khan Din’s critically-acclaimed East is East, starring Jane Horrocks and Ayub Khan Din (October 4, 2014 to January 3, 2015).