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The Importance of Being Ernest

Classic Oscar Wilde comedy comes to Northampton

The Importance of Being Earnest, by the master of comedy Oscar Wilde, comes to Northampton’s Royal & Derngate from Tuesday 8 to Saturday 12 May in a wonderfully witty, deliciously decadent and classic revival.

Jack wishes to marry Algernon’s cousin the beautiful Gwendolen but first he must convince her mother, the fearsome Lady Bracknell, of the respectability of his parents and his past. For Jack, however, this is not as easy as it sounds, having started life abandoned in a handbag at Victoria station. Wilde’s much-loved classic looks at the clash of town and country in a brilliant and wildly funny story of romance, identity, perambulators and capacious handbags.

The production stars Gwen Taylor (Coronation Street, Duty Free and Barbara) as the formidable Lady Bracknell, Susan Penhaligon (Bouquet of Barbed Wire and A Fine Romance) as the hapless Miss Prism, Downton Abbey favourite Thomas Howes as Algernon. Broadway and West End star Kerry Ellis plays Gwendolen, except on Tuesday 8 and Thursday 10 May when the role will be taken by Hannah Louise Howell.
Produced by The Original Theatre Company, The Importance of Being Earnest will be directed the company’s Artistic Director Alastair Whatley, with set and costume designs by Gabriella Slade, sound and music by Giles Thomas and lighting by Alan Valentine.

The Importance of Being Earnest takes to the Royal stage from Tuesday 8 to Saturday 12 May at 7.45pm, with matinees at 2.30pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Tickets – priced from £10 to £33* – can be booked by calling Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at

* A charge of £3 applies for all transactions of £15 and over. Does not apply to Groups, Friends or Disabled Patrons, and is per-transaction, not per-ticket.