The Almeida's national tour of Thomas Middleton's A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, directed by Ben Harrison and featuring designs by Greta Cuneo, lighting by Natasha Chivers, music by Philip Pinsky and sound by Matthew Berry begins previews on March 20 and opens on March 22.
The production opens in Oxford and will then visit Malvern, Richmond, Bath and Huddersfield.
Middleton's A Chaste Maid in Cheapside is set amongst the hustle and bustle of the merchant classes of Cheapside, in the City of London, at a time when the citizens are seething under the restrictions of Lent. The play is a riotous comedy where sexual jealousy and power rage in a carnival world turned upside down.
Ben Harrison is Associate Director (Education) at the Almeida and Theatre Director of Grid Iron. He was Assistant Director to Jonathan Kent on The Tempest. For Grid Iron his productions include Gargantua, The Bloody Chamber, Monumental at the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre and Clearance, and most recently, Victor Erofiyer's Life with an Idiot at the Gate Theatre.
The fact that the Almeida is touring reflects its increasing confidence as an alternative, smaller-scale National Theatre, whose productions have been seen in the West End and New York (notably Diana Rigg's Medea) as well as in the Almeida itself. A Chaste Maid in Cheapside is very much a London play, which is why it makes an interesting — and rather daring choice for a touring production — especially as it is not a play that many people are aware of: another sign of the Almeida's confidence in its artistic judgment.
—By Paul Webb Theatrenow