Lady Bracknell will be played by the Olivier Award winning Sophie Thompson in The Importance of Being Earnest, from 20 July at the Vaudeville theatre. Oscar Wilde’s social comedy will also star Jeremy Swift as Reverend Chasuble and Sinéad Matthews as the inimitable Gwendolyn Fairfax.
The Importance of Being Earnest is the final production in Classic Spring Theatre Company’s celebration of Wilde’s major plays which have been seen by over 120,000 people in the Vaudeville, and 80,000 more on cinema screens.
Five-time Olivier Award nominee, Sophie Thompson, won the Olivier Award for Best Actress for Into the Woods (1999). Most recently on stage in Guys and Dolls (Chichester), she is well-known for her film roles, including: Four Weddings and a Funeral, Emma, Gosford Park and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. Sophie has achieved the unique distinction of achieving five Olivier nominations, taking starring roles in both EastEnders (BBC) and Coronation Street (ITV), and triumphing as the winner of Celebrity Masterchef (BBC One).
Jeremy Swift is best-known for his role in Downton Abbey (ITV), playing the butler, Septimus Spratt. His screen credits also include The Durrells (ITV), Gosford Park, Roman Polanski’s Oliver Twist, and the Wachowski Brothers’ Jupiter Rising. He will soon be appearing in the much-anticipated film Mary Poppins Returns. His theatre credits include The Railway Children (King’s Cross Theatre), Abigail’s Party (West End) and What the Butler Saw (National Theatre).
Sinéad Matthews is currently at the National Theatre in Absolute Hell. Her recent theatre credits include Ivan van Hove’s Hedda Gabler, Blurred Lines (National Theatre), Pests (Royal Exchange, Royal Court, UK Tour) and The Changeling (Young Vic). Her film credits include Pride and Prejudice, Happy-Go-Lucky and Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang.
Michael Fentiman recently directed the 5-star revival of Joe Orton’s Loot (Park Theatre/Watermill Theatre), restoring the play’s original censored cuts for the first time. His credits include The Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus, Ahasverus (Royal Shakespeare Company) and The War Has Not Started Yet (Drum Theatre, Plymouth). His screen credits include Shakespeare Unlocked (BBC/Cultural Olympiad).
Michael is joined by award-winning designer Madeleine Girling and award-winning costume designer Gabriella Slade; the creative team have previously collaborated on the critically-acclaimed production of Loot (Park Theatre). Madeleine Girling won the Linbury Prize for Stage Design in 2013 and the Lord Williams Memorial Prize for Design in 2012. Her credits include Go Between (Young Vic), Ant and the Cicada (Royal Shakespeare Company) and Little Light (Orange Tree). Gabriella Slade was costume designer for Olivier Award-winning musical In the Heights (2016, UK). Her recent credits include Bodies (Royal Court), The Last Five Years (St James’ Theatre) and Showstopper (Apollo Theatre).