Educating Rita will have five day 40th anniversary run in Barnstaple

Stephen Tompkinson as Frank and Jessica Johnson as Rita in Educating Rita. Picture: Nobby Clark

Stephen Tompkinson as Frank and Jessica Johnson as Rita in Educating Rita. Picture: Nobby Clark - Credit: Nobby Clark

Classic comedy drama Educating Rita is coming to Barnstaple for a five day run as part of its 40th anniversary tour.

Willy Russell's tale will be on stage at the Queen's Theatre from Tuesday, March 3 until Saturday, March 7.

It stars Stephen Tompkinson as Frank and Jessica Johnson as Rita and is directed by Max Roberts.

Educating Rita tells the story of married hairdresser Rita, who enrols on an Open University course to expand her horizons, and her encounters with university tutor Frank.

Frank is a frustrated poet, brilliant academic and dedicated drinker, who is less than enthusiastic about teaching Rita.

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However, Frank soon finds that his passion for literature is reignited by Rita, whose technical ability for the subject is limited by her lack of education, but whose enthusiasm Frank finds refreshing. The two soon realise how much they have to learn from each other.

Stephen Tompkinson's television credits include ITV's Torvill & Dean, BBC's The Split, five series of DCI Banks, four series of Trollied, seven series of Wild at Heart, six series of Drop the Dead Donkey (British Comedy Award Winner for Best TV Comedy Actor) and three series of Ballykissangel.

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He said: "We had such a wonderful time touring and performing this last year around the UK. Audiences respond so well to Willy Russell's brilliant two-hander. The response Jess and I receive and their affection for this play and these characters are overwhelming."

Jessica's theatre credits include Call Me Mary Poppins, Goth Weekend, Kings and Queens, Each Piece and Anti-Gravity at the Live Theatre, Newcastle. She previously played Rita in Rebecca Frecknall's 2017 production of Educating Rita at the Gala Theatre, Durham. Her television credits include Wire In The Blood, Coronation Street and Cuckoo.

For tickets and shows times go to or call 01271 316523.

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