The Library Theatre Company present

Educating Rita

By Willy Russell

For Sale

“That’s why they come to the hairdressers – because they want to be changed. But if you wanna change y’ have to do it from the inside, don’t y?”

Educating Rita, Willy Russell’s intimate comedy with big ideas and an even bigger heart, is a gem of British theatre. Inspired by Russell’s own experiences of returning to education, this multi-award winning comedy returns to Manchester for the first time in over twenty years, directed by Chris Honer.

Brash, straight-talking hairdresser Rita is determined to change her life. She wants to know ‘everything’ and she thinks the Open University might just be the answer. World-weary, alcohol-fuelled lecturer Frank is a failed poet, a self-acknowledged ‘appalling teacher of appalling students’. In fact, he’s just about given up. In need of extra cash, he agrees to tutor Rita, totally unaware of the whirlwind that’s about to enter his world…

The unlikely pair form a life-changing bond as Rita starts to find herself, and Frank finds a whole new lease of life. Touching, life-affirming and very, very funny, Educating Rita is a comic masterpiece from one of our best-loved writers.

We are delighted to have two well-known British TV and stage actors in the roles of Rita and Frank. Gillian Kearney is best known for playing Jessica Harrison in Casualty and her leading roles in Shameless and Brookside. The pick of many stage credits might be her performance as the titular character in Hedda Gabler (2006) at Liverpool Playhouse. Philip Bretherton played George in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (2007) at the Royal Exchange Theatre and will be familiar as Alistair Deacon to fans of the long running BBC sitcom As Time Goes By.

Still not sure if Educating Rita is for you? Listen to what people have thought of the show so far and take a peek behind the scenes…

The production contains strong language and smoking.

Educating Rita Performances

Thu 26 Sep 7:15pm Preview £12
Fri 27 Sep 7:15pm Press Night £20/18
Sat 28 Sep 2:30pm £17.50/15.50
Sat 28 Sep 7:15pm £20/18
Mon 30 Sep 7:15pm £12
Tue 1 Oct 7:15pm £15.50/13.50
Wed 2 Oct 7:15pm Captioned Performance £15.50/13.50
Thu 3 Oct 2:30pm £15.50/13.50
Thu 3 Oct 7:15pm Audio Described £15.50/13.50
Fri 4 Oct 7:15pm Signed Performance £20/18
Sat 5 Oct 2:30pm Director's Pre-Show Talk £17.50/15.50
Sat 5 Oct 7:15pm £20/18
Mon 7 Oct 7:15pm £12
Tue 8 Oct 7:15pm £15.50/13.50
Wed 9 Oct 7:15pm £15.50/13.50
Thu 10 Oct 2:30pm £15.50/13.50
Thu 10 Oct 7:15pm £15.50/13.50
Fri 11 Oct 7:15pm £20/18
Sat 12 Oct 2:30pm £17.50/15.50
Sat 12 Oct 7:15pm £20/18

The Lowry, Quays Theatre

  • Pier 8, Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, M50 3AZ
  • Box Office: 0843 208 6010

The Lowry is our chosen venue for our main season plays whilst we are on the move. We are performing in the intimate setting of the Quays Theatre.
The Lowry is 10 minutes drive from Manchester City Centre, 20 minutes drive from Manchester Airport, and a quarter of a mile from the motorway network, giving access from all over the North West and beyond. It also has excellent public transport links and is situated in the centre of a vibrant shopping, eating and leisure destination.

Find out more about the getting to The Lowry here

More Info

Gillian Kearney and Philip Bretherton are both exceptional in their roles and, as the only cast members, work incredibly hard to maintain the audience’s interest. Highly entertaining. ****

Manchester Evening News

Willy Russell’s twist on Pygmalion still works as well as it ever did on stage, as this worthwhile and entertaining production shows… Lively and witty throughout.

The British Theatre Guide

Gillian Kearney brings an earthiness to the role and she nails the ‘knowing’ wit and poignancy which ground her… Philip Bretherton has the unshowy role but he delivers – particularly when conveying his anger and frustration… As relevant as it ever was.

What’s On Stage

The chemistry between Philip Bretherton and Gillian Kearney is so natural it makes for a thoroughly enjoyable night at the theatre. Make sure you don’t miss this top class production of a classic comedy. ****

Sale and Altrincham Messenger

It’s an almost perfect two-hander… Gillian Kearney is the perfect Rita; as Frank, Philip Bretherton has all the words and strong comic timing… A delight.

Oldham Chronicle

Theatre at its best; thoughtfully produced and skilfully performed with a thumping, great script. It informs the audience under the cloak of its entertainment… A superb interpretation.

Cheshire Today

Philip Bretherton and Gillian Kearney both perform flawlessly and seem to bounce off each other throughout the performance… Chris Honer does a stunning job of keeping the audience mesmerised.

The Good Review

A play that has as much resonance today as it did over thirty years ago, especially when brought to life in such a great fashion by the whole team assembled by Library Theatre. The production never loses its pace. *****

The Public Reviews

Here we have two actors who had clearly worked very hard to get through rehearsals, and it really, really showed. I take my hat off to them… A real triumph, I had a great evening.

Northern Soul

I was left wanting more… Director Chris Honer has put on yet another winning production.

Manchester’s Finest

Intimate and utterly charismatic… The performers’ chemistry gave off a real palpable energy. An absolute must.

Salford Online

Philip Bretherton and Gillian Kearney are just about perfect. A vintage piece for the Library Theatre’s farewell year.

Manchester Theatre Awards

Enjoyable… Very entertaining and thought-provoking.

Plays To See

Willy Russell’s moving and beautifully constructed play has been cleverly and superbly revived… Gillian Kearney proves quite outstanding as the eponymous Rita and Philip Bretherton’s superb Frank proves the perfect accompaniment. A production brimming with pace, intelligence and vision.

The Arts Shelf

Gillian Kearney is superb at drawing all the laughs out of the script but also portraying Rita’s journey from apparent scatter-brain to self-confident student; Philip Bretherton is particularly good at conveying Frank’s frustrations both with himself and with the barriers that get in the way of Rita fulfilling her potential.

Weekend Notes

I’ve never seen a poor play directed by Chris Honer, and this is no exception. He ensures that the actors portray not only the comedy, but also the tragedy in Willy Russell’s play.

Remote Goat

Gillian Kearney and Philip Bretherton do a fantastic job in bringing Rita and Frank to life… A deserved packed house. All round fabulousness in spades.

Alison’s Adventures in Theatreland

The Cast

Philip Bretherton
Gillian Kearney

Production Crew

Chris Honer
Judith Croft
Nick Richings
Lighting Designer
Roe Lane
Assistant Director
Peter Herbert
Production Manager
David Doyle
Stage Supervisor
Paul Gregory
Sound Designer
Danny Stewart
Lighting Supervisor
Fiona Bunting
Wardrobe Supervisor
Avril Mason
Production Administrator
Jamie Byron
Company Stage Manager
Jen Davey
Clare Heath

Related News & Blog Posts

Blog: Rita reviewed

Posted on 2nd October 2013

Digital Reporter Miranda Wade joined us for our opening weekend of Educating Rita. So what did she think of it...… Read more

Blog: Five Great Reasons to See Educating Rita

Posted on 23rd September 2013

Willy Russell’s Educating Rita is one of the key plays of its time. Here’s five reasons why it's as relevant today as it was in 1980, when it was firs...… Read more

Blog: The changing clothes of Rita

Posted on 20th September 2013

Costume Supervisor Fiona Bunting talks to us about how costume changes throughout Educating Rita reflect our leading lady's developing personality... … Read more

Blog: There is no friend as loyal as a book

Posted on 9th September 2013

"There is no friend as loyal as a book" said the great Ernest Hemingway. To get us in the mood for Educating Rita we want to hear about the books that inspir...… Read more

Blog: It's all in the detail

Posted on 16th September 2013

We take another peek into rehearsals with director Chris Honer to see how things are taking shape for Educating Rita...… Read more

Blog: Beginnings

Posted on 30th August 2013

The first week of rehearsals is always exciting - director Chris Honer shares his thoughts as he starts work on Educating Rita...… Read more

News: Cast Announced for Educating Rita

Posted on 31st July 2013

Two of the UK’s best-known TV faces, Gillian Kearney and Philip Bretherton, will be starring in our production of Educating Rita this autumn.… Read more

Comments on Educating Rita

  1. I would like to book tickets for this play.

    Said Nicky Smith at 13:14pm on 2nd Apr 2013

  2. Who is appearing in this production

    Said Jack Howard From Darwen at 20:29pm on 8th Jul 2013

  3. Hi Jack, casting is now complete for Educating Rita, we'll be making an announcement soon...

    Said Library Theatre Company at 16:00pm on 9th Jul 2013

  4. Still looking for the cast members which on 9th July you say would be announced soon .

    Said Jack Howard From Darwen at 16:45pm on 15th Aug 2013

  5. Hi Jack casting has been announced full details of both actors can be found here

    Said Library Theatre Company at 16:46pm on 19th Aug 2013

  6. What is the running time of this production?

    Said Emma at 14:23pm on 23rd Aug 2013

  7. Hi Emma, an early estimate is roughly 2 hours including interval

    Said Library Theatre Company at 12:00pm on 29th Aug 2013

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