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The Dresser by Ronald Harwood

The Dresser by Ronald Harwood

Fri 25 May


Sat 26 May



1942. A dressing room of a provincial theatre during World War 2. Bombs are dropping and air raid sirens wailing. Norman, the dresser, is preparing Sir the actor manager for his stage performance of King Lear.


Sir’s touring theatre company is determined to carry on performing Shakespeare’s classic plays to the masses even though war is raging and everyday life is being destroyed. Sir, Her Ladyship and other actors perform all over the country every evening. Turmoil strikes when Sir becomes ill and possibly incapable of performing. Norman possessively takes control of Sir enabling him to give the performance of his life but to what cost? The final devastating conclusion of the play cause Norman to re-think the meaning of his devoted service. There are echo’s of the pain and humour of Lear and Fool in King Lear.


Ronald Harwood’s wonderful 1980 play has been performed many times all over the world and filmed twice.  The first film was in 1983 starring Albert Finney as “Sir” and Tom Courtenay as “Norman”. Another TV production for the BBC was made in 2015, starring Anthony Hopkins as “Sir” and Ian McKellen as “Norman”. Ronald Harwood was the dresser to Sir Donald Wolfit between 1953 and 1958. Wolfit was an actor manager who had performed throughout WW2, insisting on low ticket prices to encourage people from all walks of life to experience our culture. The play is not strictly autobiographical but there are many similarities.


The Dartmouth Players invite you to celebrate our 90th year anniversary with two performances of this great play on the 25th and 26th May 2018.

Doors open 6:30 pm.

Live music from 7:00 pm.

The Dresser starts 7:30 pm.

Interval of 20 minutes.

Estimated evening end 9:45 pm.


As a bonus, our own Vera Lynn (Terri-Kate Lee) will sing pre-1940’s songs, live from 7:00 pm so why not come early, get a drink from the bar and soak up the period atmosphere.