The September-December season for Henley’s Kenton Theatre has been announced, with a line-up including Hayley Mills, Dara O’Briain, PP Arnold and Lucy Worlsey alongside several community productions and the much-anticipated professional panto Robin Hood.
Following the traditional summer closure, the New Street venue reopens its on Saturday September 16th for a special season launch event, a unique performance of Pride & Prejudice. Oscar-winner Hayley Mills – one of the biggest film stars globally in the 1960s with hits including The Parent Trap and Whistle Down The Wind – recreates Austen’s living room readings to friends and family. She is accompanied by two of the UK’s most-respected classical musicians, pianist Ashley Wass and violinist Matthew Trusler, performing music from the score of the BBC1 series, specially adapted by composer Carl Davis. This is one of three events at the theatre marking the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death, followed by Henley Players’ Sense & Sensibility in October and BBC historian Lucy Worsley’s Jane Austen at Home talk in November.
The Kenton has announced a new material show from Dara O’Briain ahead of a nationwide tour in 2018. The star of Mock the Weekand Stargazing Live will make his Henly debut on Sunday October 1st in a rare small-venue appearance, having recently played Sydney Opera House and the London Apollo. This sold out in a few hours yesterday.
Music events at the theatre will include a capella quintet Africa Entsha on September 29th, 60s singer PP Arnold – best known for The First Cut is the Deepest and collaborating with the Small Faces – on October 27th, Fawley-based Opera Prelude with The Three Tenors Live on October 28th and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra on November 3rd. Talks include Henley’s Farrow & Ball experts in September, historian Elizabeth Hazeldine on Haunted Henley in October and feminist icon Germaine Greer in November.
After their award-winning production of Spamalot HAODS return in November with A Chorus Line, while that same month local favourites and Archers co-stars Lucy Fleming and Simon Williams perform a moving and funny evening of wartime correspondence of Lucy’s parents – Brief Encounter star Celia Johnson and senior military figure Peter Fleming – in Posting Letters to the Moon. Younger theatregoers will be entertained by an adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s Why the Whales Came from the award-winning team behind West End hit I Believe in Unicorns, as well as The Nutcracker and Henley Children’s Theatre’s Cinderella.
After previously starring at the Kenton in Aladdin and Peter Pan to great acclaim, James Clifford and Rochelle Parry of Immersion Theatre Company return with this year’s professional pantomime Robin Hood, promising an traditional family show full of swordfights, songs and jokes. It runs from December 15-28th at a variety of times. Other festive productions include the inaugural Christmas at the Kenton concert with Thames Valley Chorus and Ma Bessie, and Blake’s Christmas Classics.
Programming director Tom Ryan told the Henley Herald: “We believe there is something for everyone this season: household name comedians, award-winning drama groups, internationally renowned musicians, acclaimed family shows, fascinating talks and two top pantos.”
More information, a full schedule and booking can be found at kentontheatre.co.uk, by visiting the theatre (11am-3pm Monday to Friday, 10am-1pm Saturdays) or calling 01491 575698.