Educating Rita, the best British comedy ever comes to Blackpool.
When married hairdresser Rita enrols on a university course to expand her horizons, little does she realise where the journey will take her.
Her tutor Frank is a frustrated poet, brilliant academic and dedicated drunk, who’s less than enthusiastic about taking Rita on, but the two soon realise how much they have to teach each other.
This hilarious and heat-warming comedy won the Olivier Award when it was produced in London’s West End by the RSC and was adapted into the multi award-winning film which stared Julie Walters and Michael Caine.
Written by one of our greatest ever playwrights Willy Russell and starring one of our best loved actors Stephen Tompkinson as Frank and introducing Jessica Johnson as Rita.
Willy Russell’s credits include the Olivier Award-winning Blood Brothers and Shirley Valentine. One of the UK’s most celebrated writers, his works are constantly in production across the world.
Blackpool’s Grand Theatre has partnered with Concierge Ninja to create the ultimate experience – perfect for that special occasion. Read more.
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Cast and Creatives
Born in Liverpool in 1947, Willy Russell left school at 15 and became a women's hairdresser and part-time singer/songwriter before returning to education to retrain as a teacher. Russell's other writing credits include the Olivier Award-winning musical Blood Brothers, and the hugely successful play Shirley Valentine, which won the Olivier Awards for Best New Comedy and Best New Actress, and a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play. The play was adapted for film and nominated for a host of BAFTA and Academy Awards. Willy Russell continues to be one of the most celebrated writers of his generation with works constantly in production throughout the world as well as in the UK.
Max Roberts is Emeritus Artistic Director of Newcastle's Live Theatre. Under his direction, the Live Theatre has become one of the country's most successful theatre companies with an outstanding reputation for developing new work. His Olivier Award-nominated production of Lee Hall's Cooking With Elvis transferred to the West End's Whitehall Theatre (now Trafalgar Studios) before touring nationally. He also directed The Pitman Painters, which transferred to the National Theatre and won Best Play at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards before opening on Broadway.
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, and his films include Phil in Brassed Off. His theatre work includes Spamalot, Rattle of a Simple Man and Arsenic and Old Lace in the West End, Cloaca and A Christmas Carol (Old Vic), Art and Tartuffe (National Tours).
Jessica Johnson'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 (ITV), Coronation Street (ITV) and Cuckoo (Channel 4).