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Educating Rita rehearsals gathering steam ahead of opening night

Published March 31, 2017 2.50pm

Rehearsals are now well under way for Gala Theatre's in-house production of Educating Rita as a new set of visuals reveal.

Written by Willy Russell, the story became a national hit in 1983, when a screenplay based on his 1980 stage production starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters was nominated for three Oscars.

The production is part of a new drive to produce more work at Gala.  It is being directed by Newcastle-based Rebecca Frecknall.

The new production transports the drama from Liverpool to more familiar territory, with Sunderland-born actress Jessica Johnson taking the lead role as Rita, a wise-cracking, no-nonsense hairdresser from the working-class streets of the North-East.

Fed up of her life and with aspirations for better things, she soon enlists the help of middle-aged academic Frank Bryant, played by Patrick Driver, as she enters the world of academia.

With Rita's brash honesty and Frank's deep intellect, each inspires the other as they begin to form an unlikely bond.

Jo Cundall, Gala's arts programme manager, said: "This fresh new adaptation, based in the North-East, is as relevant today as when it was written and has really stood the test of time. 

"This brand new production is right up to date and set with contemporary themes and familiar locations from around the region.

"We are delighted to be bringing this British theatre classic to Gala audiences."

Educating Rita is at Gala Theatre from Tuesday 4 to Saturday 8 April, 7.30pm, with 2.30pm matinees on Thursday and Saturday. Tickets are priced at £15 or £13 for concessions. £12 tickets are also available for opening night, matinees and Gala members

A special two for one ticket promotion is also in place on opening night for Gala Members.

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