The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black to close at the Fortune Theatre

The producers of The Woman in Black have announced that the show is to close at the Fortune Theatre in London after 33 years in the West End.

The stage adaptation of Susan Hill’s scary novel The Woman in Black will play its final performance at The Fortune Theatre on Saturday 4 March 2023.

The Woman in Black celebrated its 13,000th performance in August this year, and is the fourth longest running show in West End history, only behind The Mousetrap, Les Misérables, and The Phantom of the Opera.

The play has been seen by over 7-million people in the UK, and celebrated its 30th anniversary in the West End in June 2019 with a special gala performance.

Producer Peter Wilson said in a press statement: “The Woman in Black’s miraculous theatricality has never faltered. Out of a gauze, a wicker skip and a door Stephen Mallatratt and Robin Herford conjured a complete world into which generations of young people have entered, surrendering to the ultimate magic of theatre: their own imaginations. However, the economic reality of attracting so many young people has caught up with us in a world of rising prices. My thanks to Charles Kay and John Duttine, the first cast in 1989, to the generations of actors who have maintained the tradition of excellence while inhabiting Susan’s marvellous novella and Stephen’s extraordinary adaptation, to Robin Herford – who has directed every cast over the 33 years – to all the staff at the Fortune and of course the team at PW Productions.”

Susan Hill, writer of the novel said: “I am extremely sad that The Woman in Black is closing at The Fortune Theatre in March next year. It has been the perfect home for us for over 33 years. I am especially proud that Stephen Mallatratt’s wonderful stage adaptation of my ghost story has given generations of young people the opportunity to experience the enjoyment and the life-changing impact of theatre.”

Director Robin Herford said: “Since commissioning Stephen Mallatratt to write me a ghost story for Christmas to present for three and a half weeks at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Autumn of 1987, The Woman in Black has been a significant part of my life for a third of a century – and counting! The Fortune has been a very happy London home for this play, its intimacy providing not only the right scale and atmosphere for the action, but also a treat for the audience in appreciating this West End jewel with its classic Art Deco architecture. A perfect fit. Leaving The Fortune is the end of a significant chapter in the story of The Woman in Black. It has been a privilege to have stewardship of this theatre with its wonderful staff in which to tell Susan’s devastating story in the highly original and imaginative manner in which Stephen conceived it for the stage. I am proudest of the number of schoolchildren for whom this production has constituted one of their first experiences of theatre. Young people really respond to this play, and it gladdens my heart when I hear large numbers of schoolchildren queueing up outside before a performance. Earlier this Autumn, I got chatting to a teacher who had brought no fewer than 17 different parties of students to this show over the years! It’s how we grow our next generation of audiences.”

The Woman in Black came to London following a Christmas production in 1987 at a pub in Scarborough. After a run at the Lyric Hammersmith in January 1989, it started its West End run at the Strand – now the Novello Theatre, in March 1989, before a move to the Playhouse in April 1989, and then its opening at the Fortune on 7 June 1989.

The Woman in Black currently stars Julian Forsyth as Arthur Kipps and Matthew Spencer as The Actor. It is directed by Robin Herford, with designs by Michael Holt and lighting by Kevin Sleep.

Book The Woman in Black tickets at the Fortune Theatre in London

👤 📅9 November 2022
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📷 Main photo: The Woman in Black. Photo by Tristram Kenton

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