Following a limited season at the Menier Chocolate Factory and a UK Tour Educating Rita, the Olivier Award-winning comedy by Willy Russell, will play at the Assembly George Square Theatre this summer from Wednesday 1st – Sunday 26th August 2012 as part of the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Claire Sweeney plays Rita and Matthew Kelly is Dr Frank Bryant in a production directed by Tamara Harvey.
Educating Rita is the Pygmalion-like account of a young, brash Liverpudlian hairdresser trying to enrich her life by going on an English Lit Open University course. Her fresh, unschooled reaction to the classics challenges the attitudes of the University and her lecturer Frank, who begins to question his own understanding of his work and himself.
Matthew Kelly has worked in major regional theatres across the country, the West End and on television. He has received wide recognition for his work, winning a Royal Television Society award for Best Performer in Drama, and an Olivier Award for Best Actor for his role as Lennie in Birmingham Rep's production of Of Mice And Men. His recent work includes playing Professor Callaghan in the U.K tour of Legally Blonde, Dodge in Sam Shepherd's Buried Child (Curve Leicester), Pozzo in Waiting For Godot with Ian McKellen and Roger Rees (Theatre Royal Haymarket), King Arthur in Spamalot (UK Tour), West End seasons of Tim Firth's Sign Of The Times (Duchess) and Lend Me A Tenor - The Musical ( Gielgud), Eddie Waters in Comedians (Lyric Hammersmith), George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Trafalgar Studios), Pandarus in Troilus and Cressida (Shakespeare's Globe), Howard Barker's Victory (Arcola) and Salieri in Amadeus for John Doyle (Wilton's Music Hall).
Native Liverpudlian, Claire Sweeney's West End roles include Roxie in Chicago (Adelphi) and Adelaide opposite Patrick Swayze in the award-winning production of Guys and Dolls. Most recently Claire played the role of Paulette in the UK tour of Legally Blonde and in 2011, she starred in a new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black's one-woman show Tell Me On A Sunday. She has headlined in Fosse - The World Tour and has also performed duets with international opera stars Bryn Terfel and Jose Carreras at The Royal Albert Hall. Claire's television work has included playing the regular character of Lindsey Corkhill in Brookside, the fiery character Katrina in Clocking Off, Roz in BBC1's Merseybeat and most recently the character of Amanda in BBC1's Candy Cabs.
Willy Russell is one of the most successful playwrights of his generation. His plays have been performed in countries across the globe and have won countless appreciation and creative awards as well as academic honours. As well as Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine, both of which were made into major award-winning feature films, playwright, lyricist and composer Willy Russell is the author of the long-running West End hit Blood Brothers; John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert; Stags and Hens; One for the Road and Breezeblock Park. His writing for television includes Our Day Out and One Summer.
Tamara Harvey's credits include Smash (Menier Chocolate Factory), Alistair McGowan's Timing (King's Head Theatre), Bedroom Farce (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and The Contingency Plan (Bush Theatre). Other theatre includes: Plague Over England (Finborough, 2008, nominated for Best Off-West End Production, Whatsonstage Awards and the subsequent West End production, 2009); Romeo and Juliet (Theatre of Memory at Middle Temple Hall); tHe dYsFUnCKshOnalZ! (nominated for Best Off-West End Production, Whatsonstage Awards); Grand Slam, Who's The Daddy? (King's Head); Rock (tour); One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (UK tour) The Graduate (UK tour). In the West End, she has directed Whipping It Up (Olivier Award nominee, Best New Comedy, from the original production at the Bush directed by Terry Johnson) and co-directed One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (2005 and 2006).