Tonight Willy Russell’s award-winning play Educating Rita returns to Liverpool after a break of 13 years, and 35 years after it first opened at the Warehouse Theatre in London. The new production at the Liverpool Playhouse runs until 7th March, and stars Leanne Best and Con O’Neill, directed by Gemma Bodinetz.
To celebrate this, our blog post today shows a photograph from the first Liverpool production of Educating Rita at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1981, a recent addition to the Willy Russell Archive. The actors shown are Kate Fitzgerald and William Gaunt, and the production was directed by Willy Russell and Pip Broughton.
Educating Rita tells the story of Rita, a young married woman who begins an Open University course with jaded University lecturer Frank, and the challenges and choices that this quest for education brings. Educating Rita first appeared in the West End in 1980, starring Mark Kingston & Julie Walters, and in 1983 was adapted as a film starring Michael Caine & Julie Walters.
Educating Rita was first produced at the Liverpool Playhouse in February 1981, and has since been presented again in London, on multiple national tours, and around the world including nearly every country in Europe, in Australia, Japan and the USA. It won the SWET award for Best Comedy, and a BAFTA award for Best Film.