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Winchester Dramatic Society performs popular comedy-drama Educating Rita at the Chesil Theatre

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AN AWARD-winning comedy is taking to the stage of a local theater with the lead performed by a Winchester University student.

Winchester Dramatic Society is presenting its next production, Educating Rita by Willy Russell, at the Chesil Theater in Winchester.

The timeless comedy was first commissioned and performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1980, winning the Olivier Award for Best Comedy of the Year. The production soon became a film with Julie Walters and Michael Caine taking on the lead roles in the 1983 movie.

The play, inspired by Russell’s own experiences, will be running at the venue in Chesil Street from Saturday, October 1 to October 8, with a matinee performance on October 2.

READ MORE: Congratulations to the Hampshire Chronicle from the Chesil Theatre

Describing the plot, the Chesil Theater said: “Rita is a feisty young married woman with hopes and dreams who believes there must be more to life than cutting hair and gossip in a salon. She enrolls for a course in English literature at the Open University, where she is assigned her tutor, Frank.

“He is a frustrated poet, brilliant academic and dedicated drunk who’s less than enthusiastic about taking Rita on but when these two people come together, they soon realize how much they have to teach each other.”

Experienced actor and returning Chesil star Gary Nicholson will perform the role of Frank. While Francesca Waters is a final year student in Musical Theater at Winchester University, Rita is. Francesca joined the society in Spring and was cast in the Ayckbourn comedy, If I Were You.

Both performers are enjoying the challenge of developing their characters and building the relationship between the odd couple.

Director, Terry Lohr, said: “This play is a beautiful examination of the universal struggle of ambition confronting inertia; and dreams challenging disappointment with our current status.”

Shows start at 7.45pm from October 1 to October 8. The matinee performance will begin on Sunday, October 2 at 2.30pm.

THIS ALSO: Winchester comedian Paul McCaffrey to perform at city comedy festival at the Theater Royal

Tickets cost £16 for adults, £10 for students and under 18s. Free tea or coffee will be available at the matinee performance. Seventy-five seats are available in the medieval building that became home to the Winchester Dramatic Society back in 1966.

The dramatic society performs six main productions at the Chesil Theater a year, the latest being The Government Inspector.

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