It is 1942 and in a war-torn provincial theatre an aging actor manager, known to his loyal acting company as ‘Sir’, is struggling to cling on to his sanity and complete his two hundred and twenty seventh performance of King Lear.

It is down to Norman, Sir’s devoted dresser, to ensure that in spite of everything, the show goes on. For sixteen years Norman has been there to fix Sir’s wig, massage his ego, remind him of his opening lines and provide the sound effects in the storm scene.

Inspired by memories of working as Donald Wolfit’s dresser as young man, Ronald Harwood’s evocative, affectionate and hilarious portrait of backstage life is one of the most acclaimed dramas of modern theatre.

Ronald Harwood’s plays include Taking Sides, Equally Divided and Quartet. His screenplay for the film of The Dresser received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Screenplay. He won an Academy Award for The Pianist.

Presented by Theatre Royal Bath Productions.


Playwright: Ronald Harwood
Director: Terry Johnson
Cast: Matthew Kelly, Julian Clary, Emma Amos, Rebecca Charles, Natalie Servat, Pip Donaghy, Samuel Holmes, Robert Shaw Cameron, Peter Yapp, Stephen Cavanagh, Claire Jeater and Michaela Bennison

Praise for The Dresser

“A gloriously gamey turn from Kelly.”

The Daily Mail

“A touching new production of a modern classic.”

Broadway World

“The comedy elements in the play are well crafted.”

Boyz Magazine

“Fine performances throughout…a worthy reason to don your mask and get back into the theatre.”


“An absolute triumph… a delight… anyone who loves theatre will absolutely love this play.”

Bath Chronicle

“Kelly… is marvellous.”

The Guardian