The English Theatre Of Hamburg


23 September 2009

Robert RumpfDear Friends of The English Theatre of Hamburg

QUARTET, by Ronald Harwood, is the current production of our 2009/2010 Season. We are delighted to have four new actors on our stage for this heart warming play: Stephen von Schreiber, Elizabeth Yuill, Alan Booty and Katrina Norbury. The actors had great fun in rehearsals and we hope that you enjoy the play as much as they do.

A new team member, Britta Schwalba, has joined us. She will be working as our Marketing Manager. Britta worked for the Ohnsorg Theater for nine years and prior to that had considerable experience in marketing, specifically for theatre which she loves. We are very hapy to have her with us.

More good news: We have a new website. The address is the same but there are new features on the site. Please take time to explore it.

It’s not too late to subscribe to the 2009/2010 Season. You can phone the box office (227 7089) or look at the new website for information. After QUARTET we will be presenting BIRTHDAY SUITE, an hilarious comedy by Robin Hawdon; THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES, a deeply moving play by Frank D. Gilroy; and finally DEADLY GAME, a highly suspenseful new thriller by David Foley.


The English Theatre of Hamburg
This issue

Special Thanks to:

melon|media for the creation of our new website and newsletter

Carsten Themar for the excellent graphic work he has done for our new website and newsletter

Hans-Jürgen Kock for the wonderful photos of scenes from our production of Ronald Harwood’s play QUARTET

Our New Website

Please take time to explore our new website ( You will discover that you can download teaching material (with a summary of the play) with one click and you can get a German summary of the entire season of plays with one click as well. There are photos of the current show and the Archives are being updated as fast as possible so you can see pictures from all of our previous productions (dating back to 1976) and read about the plays. We have also added a press feature that gives you the opportunity to read press clippings from the previous three years.


Photo Gallery

Actors in Ronald Harwood’s QUARTET:

Alan Booty Katrina Norbury Stephen von Schreiber Elizabeth Yuill

Scenes from The English Theatre production:

Reggie and Jean, formerly married and quicky divorced, meet again in their old age, reconcile and are encouraged to become active by performing again for people in the retirement home where live. Reggie, Jean and Wilf realize they will not be able to reproduce the wonderful operatic voices that once made them famous, but they get the idea to lip-sync their voices when they see Cissy mouthing the words to the opera she is listening to.
The four former opera stars come upon a trunk filled with old costumes for Verdi’s Rigoletto. They choose their costumes and, after much rehearsal, perform the Quartet from Rigoletto, which they recorded decades ago, by mouthing the words to the music.


Press Clippings

DIE AUSWÄRTIGE PRESSE e.V., 14 September 2009
Endlich! Das English Theatre an der Mundsburg ist wieder zurück. Und das mit einem Stück, das nicht nur die Lachmuskeln, sondern auch die Herzen bewegt. Dieses Kunststück vollbringen vier Vollblutschauspieler im besten Alter, die bereits reichlich Lorbeeren auf der Bühne und im Fernsehen geerntet haben. Um es im drastisch-humorvollen Theaterjargon zu sagen: Vier alte „Rampensäue“ geben sich die Ehre in Ronald Harwoods Komödie „Quartet.“

Die Botschaft lautet: Welche Bedeutung hat die biologische Uhr für Menschen, die mit Lebensmut und Leidenschaft ihrer Kunst frönen und somit über das Alter triumphieren!

Mit „Quartet“ hat der renommierte Theaterautor Ronald Harwood – inzwischen mit 75 Lenzen selbst ein Herr im fortgeschrittenen Alter – Generation Siebzig Plus Mut gemacht, auch im Alter heiter und kreativ zu bleiben. Das ist ihm im schönsten Sinne gelungen. Nicht umsonst feierte diese Komödie 1999 in Londons Westend einen überwältigenden Erfolg. Hoffen wir, dass diesem ewig jungen Autor noch viele andere Stücke einfallen, die Alt und Jung gleichermaßen begeistern. Den großartigen Schauspielern, die diesen Theaterabend zu einem Erlebnis machten und deren Spielfreude das Publikum spürbar mitriss, gebührt Dank. Neben der zauberhaften Elizabeth Yuill als Cissy brillierte eine wunderbare Katrina Norbury als „Diva“ Jean. Die Rolle des forschen Wilf schien Alan Booty auf den Leib geschneidert zu sein. Und Stephen von Schreiber überzeugte in seiner Rolle als sensibler, wenn auch leicht verwirrter Reggie.

Fazit: Ein rundum gelungener Abend, der ebenso froh wie nachdenklich stimmte.

Hamburg Express, 16 September 2009
QUARTET is set in a retirement home for opera singers and addresses both the troubles of getting old and the nostalgia for former success. Ronald Harwood, having worked both as an actor and backstage, created a sort of insider story that gives meaning to the transition from youth to old age.

The play begins with three old opera singers, Cissy, Wilf and Reggie, going about their usual business, which includes jokes about sex intertwined with reflections on the meaning of art. Soon they are shaken up by the arrival of a major star Jean, who was once unhappily married to Reggie. The reason for divorce and the length of the marriage remain a mystery until the end of the play.

The plot takes off as the three try to persuade the newcomer to sing with them the Quartet from Rigoletto, which they once were famous for, during Verdi's Anniversary Gala. The story is complete with reflections on the past and the mistakes of youth, as well as many insights into the sexual life of the characters, which gives it a certain edge.

Elizabeth Yuill as the lively Cissy appeared most "mentally affected" and also most good-humoured. Both Alan Booty, as sexually-preoccupied Wilf, and Stephen von Schreiber, playing the austere Reggie, added a note of sensitivity to their characters. While Jean, played by Katrina Norbury, remained a diva despite the old age.

Finally, the actors gave a great opera performance at the end of the play, lip-singing to a record. The lights and the sound transformed the…set, and the final act appeared both emotional and convincing.


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