|£150 - £200
An original theatre poster for the Liverpool Playhouse for a production of Educating Rita, 5 February – 14 March 1981 – 76.5 x 51 cm.; a corresponding flyer for the UK National Tour, 30 August 1982 to 12 March 1983; and a paperback book Educating Rita, Stags & Hens And Blood Brothers, Two Plays and a Musical by Willy Russell, published by Methuen, 1986, signed and inscribed on the title page in blue ballpoint To Lewis + Hilda [sic] Love: Willy.
Condition report - Poster:
The bottom corners are slightly curled and have folded under. At some point it has been rolled and then the roll compressed, resulting in marks to the surface and some evenness overall with ‘crinkles’. There is a scuff to the blue border edge just up from bottom left.
Willy Russell’s play Educating Rita was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and opened at The Warehouse in London in June 1980, moving to The Piccadilly Theatre in September of that year, before opening at the Liverpool Playhouse in February 1981 – Russell directed this production himself, the first time he had directed a play. The RSC production ran in the West End for two and half years, since when it has never been out of production somewhere in the world. Russell said of his work “I wanted to make a play which engaged and was relevant to those who considered themselves uneducated, those whose daily language is not the language of the university or the theatre. I wanted to write a play which would attract, and be as valid for, the Ritas in the audience as the Franks."
On the strength of the rave reviews, Hylda Gilbert went to see the play whilst it was at the Warehouse, and on her urging, Lewis went to see it shortly afterwards when it opened at the Piccadilly Theatre. Julie Walters starred as Rita in this original production opposite Mark Kingston as Frank. In his autobiography, Gilbert recalls …..but up on that stage it was Julie’s show. I thought it was wonderful and knew I had to get in touch with the author right away.
Literature:GILBERT, Lewis All My Flashbacks The Autobiography of Lewis Gilbert, Sixty Years A Film Director, Reynolds & Hearn, London, 2010
Bellmans is grateful to Wallace and Hodgson for their assistance with cataloguing the Lewis Gilbert Film Script and Production Archive.