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A heart for Glass

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: June 08, 2012

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CHELTENHAM'S Everyman Theatre is gearing up to stage its first in-house production in 15 years.

The theatre has chosen the Tennessee Williams classic The Glass Menagerie in what is hoped will be the first of regular plays produced in-house.

Written by one of the finest modern playwrights, the story is set in St Louis, Missouri, during the depression era of the 1930s.

The play focuses on the struggles and gradual disintegration of the Wingfield family, told through the recollections and memories of Tom Wingfield.

It was Williams' first popular success and remains one of the 20th century's greatest plays.

Julia Hills, who is best known for playing Rona in the hit 1990s TV comedy series 2Point4 Children recently starred in the UK tour of Calendar Girls.

At The Everyman, she stars as the Wingfield family matriarch, Amanda, a faded southern belle, abandoned by her husband and trying to raise her two children under harsh financial conditions.

"It is a fantastic part in a fantastic play," Julia said.

"There aren't many great parts for women over the age of 40, but this is one of them.

"She is a very complex character which makes it a very exciting part to play. It's a great play to have chosen."

The Glass Menagerie is directed by the Everyman's creative director, Paul Milton with set and costume design by Phil R Daniels and Charles Cusick-Smith.

The cast also includes Hasan Dixon as Tom, Emmy Sainsbury as Laura and Robert Fawsitt as Jim.

A repertory theatre for more than 30 years, The Everyman stopped producing its own shows in the 1990s.

Chief executive, Geoffrey Rowe, said: "The highlight of the summer season for me has to be The Glass Menagerie.

"Not only is it a fine play but it is the first time in at least 15 years that the theatre has mounted its own production and if it is successful we will do it again. It's an exciting venture and a marvellous play."

Tickets cost from £10 to £25.

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