Racing Demon opens Bath summer season

JONATHAN Church, whose tenure at Salisbury Playhouse is fondly remember­ed by theatre-lovers across the FTR region, directs the 2017 Bath Theatre Royal summer season, opening on 21st June with David Hare’s Racing Demon.

The cast, led by David Haig, also stars Anthony Calf, Ian Gelder, Rebecca Night and Paapa Essiedu, whose performance as Hamlet at Stratford has just won him the prestigious Ian Charleson Award and who was a memorable Romeo at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory.

Racing Demon opened at the National Theatre in 1990 and returns to Bath for the first time in 25 years. It follows four clergymen as they seek to make sense of their mission in inner-city London while facing their own personal crises.

David Haig plays Lionel Espy, a cleric whose faith is wavering as his parishioners dwindle; there’s tabloid-hounded gay vicar Harry Henderson; ‘Streaky’ Bacon, a genial reverend with a taste for tequila; and a charismatic young curate, Tony Ferris, whose arrival is set to fan the flames, whilst his relationship with his lover turns to ash.

Director Jonathan Church, new artistic director of TRB’s Summer Seasons, oversaw more than 100 productions as artistic director at Chich­ester Festival Theatre.

Rebecca Night, who plays Frances Parnell, was born in Poole and performed for Brownsea Open Air Theatre while she was a student at Parkstone Grammar School. She is married to Harry Haddon-Paton, just seen at Bath in Fracked. His father runs a truffle harvesting company in Dorset.

Racing Demon is on stage in Bath from Wednesday 21st June to Saturday 8th July.
The Summer season continues with Hugh Whitemore’s Sand in the Sandwiches starring Edward Fox from Tuesday 11th to Saturday 15th July. From Friday 21st July to Saturday 12th August, the UK premiere of Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest opens in Bath, starring Jonathan Watton, Gerald Kyd, Abigail McKern and Joanna Van Kampen.

Next door in the Ustinov Studio, the world premiere of Looking at Lucian by Alan Franks will star Henry Goodman and runs from 3rd August to 2nd September.

The final show in the Main House is Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van starring Sara Kestelman. Directed by Jonathan Church, the new production is on stage from Wednesday 16th August to Saturday 2nd September.

For more information about the times and details of the performances, telephone 01225 448844 or visit the website,

Rehearsal photographs by Nobby Clark.