COMING SOON: Casa Valentina by Harvey Fierstein

25th – 29th July 2017  | 7.45pm

Tickets are £10 Concessions £9.00 (except Friday and Saturday.) Available from the Chelmsford Civic Theatre box office, by calling 01245 606505 or click HERE to book via the Chelmsford Theatres website.


Inspired by actual events, Casa Valentina takes place in a Catskill Mountain country resort in 1962. Back then men took a two-hour drive to escape the summer heat. But the gentlemen in this play are looking to escape something else entirely: being men. For them Casa Valentina is a paradise – somewhere they can temporarily leave their families behind and inhabit their chosen female alter egos in a safe and discreet way. But given the opportunity to share their secret lives with the world, the members of this sorority have to decide whether the freedom gained by openness is worth the risk of personal ruin.

Infused with Fierstein’s trademark wit and with a soundtrack to rival Dirty Dancing, this moving, insightful and delightfully entertaining play offers a glimpse into the lives of “self-made women” as they search for acceptance and happiness in their very own Garden of Eden.

Director's Note

“I saw Casa Valentina last summer at the Southwark Playhouse and absolutely loved it. I was immersed in a world I had very little knowledge of and knowing that the play was based on real events made watching the show all the more poignant. Gender-identity and the transgender movement are in the public eye now more than ever thanks to individuals and celebrities like Kaitlin Jenner and Kellie Maloney ‘going public’ and sharing their stories in the media. I thought this would be an opportune time to explore these topics and look at how attitudes have changed in 50 years.

Casa Valentina introduces a group of unforgettable characters all with their own very different stories and stances. I think this is a great chance and an exciting challenge for our male actors (if they have never acted a transgender role before!) I am hoping that our members, regular and new, will rise to this challenge – it will certainly be a lot of fun! Overall what appealed to me most was that it was funny. I love acting in comedies so it was only natural that I would be drawn to a comedic play. And like all the best comedies (I think) there are tones of tragedy and heartache, enriching the characters so that you care about them and their story, and I didn’t want CTW to miss out!”

Directed by Rebecca Segeth
Rita - Rachel Curren
Jonathon/Miranda - Jesse James Lamb
Albert/Bessie - Dave Hawkes
George/Valentina - Colin Smith
Isadore/Charlotte - Barry Taylor
Michael/Gloria - Ian Willingham 
Theodore/Terry - Terry Cramphorn
The Judge/Amy - Robin Winder
Eleanor - Catherine Kenton

THIS WEEK: Handbagged | by Moira Buffini

Margaret Thatcher didn’t believe in society, The Queen had pledged to serve it.  As her Prime Minister, the Queen and Margaret Thatcher met weekly; how did they get on, did they clash? This play, first performed at the Tricycle and later in the West End  is a marvellously entertaining depiction of their relationship and their place in world events.   They look back on their time together and relive events.  Funny, touching, entertaining and thought provoking.

Q - Jane Smith
Liz - Laura Hill
T - Debbie Miles
Mags - Andrea Dalton
Actor 1 - Mark Preston
Actor 2 - Kevin Stemp
Directed by Lynne Foster

Director’s Note

“I saw this at the Tricycle when it was first produced in 2013 and immediately wanted to direct it.  I found it laugh out loud funny and absolutely loved it, but also realised that it would be a great challenge for  CTW.  I would need two actors who could portray Margaret Thatcher and two who could act as the Queen at different times of their lives.  Not necessarily looking like them, but able to do the accents and the subtle differences between the younger and older version of both.  I also needed 2 actors who could handle 16 other (male) roles, they have to  be able to make them all different and distinct and all the actors need to have a gift for comedy, for moving well and delivering the dialogue crisply and wringing all of the humour and the pathos, the wit and the underlying tension between the 2 women.

I really enjoy directing comedy, and this is a lovely, subtle, affecting piece.  Its not earth shattering or deep, just a jolly good yarn, looking back on events from the viewpoint of the protagonists.  I know that we have the actors at CTW that can handle this, although they will have to work hard at it I think its going to be a good night out, informative – and fun!”

Lynne Foster  |  Director

Tickets are £10 Concessions £9.00 (except Friday and Saturday.) Available from the Chelmsford Civic Theatre box office, by calling 01245 606505 or click HERE to book via the Chelmsford Theatres website.