The Worcester Repertory Company + University of Worcester presents: Cider with Rosie

The Worcester Repertory Company is set to stage a vibrant new production of Laurie Lee’s modern classic, Cider with Rosie, in an exciting new collaboration with the University of Worcester.

Laurie Lee’s acclaimed autobiography Cider with Rosie has become a modern classic: a funny, touching, achingly nostalgic story of a passing rural age, as seen through the eyes of a young boy growing up. Now the Worcester Rep is ready to inject it with a whole new lease of life by casting talented local students in over half of the roles of their brand new production of James Roose-Evans’s stage adaptation, which will open at the Swan Theatre this June.

Starring five of the Rep’s core actors, including Jonathan Darby as Laurie and Liz Grand as Mother, and with music by one of the most accomplished folk musicians this country has ever produced, John Kirkpatrick, the rest of the cast will be made up of students who have successfully auditioned for the remaining roles, including that of Rosie. The project will be the first such collaboration between the University of Worcester and the Worcester Repertory Company, with the aim of offering local drama students the experience of working within a professional theatre company and performing alongside professional actors, and providing a genuine insight into the industry.

In addition to the five University students involved, a further four students have been selected from The Swan Theatre School (the Swan Theatre’s one-year acting foundation course for those looking to go on to further training or enter the industry directly), thus completing the cast.

Anne Hannaford, the University’s Director of Arts and Culture, said of the collaboration: “We are delighted to be associated with the Worcester Rep in this joyous production of Cider with Rosie. It is particularly special for us as five of our drama students were successful in their auditions and are part of the cast. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to gain experience in professional theatre, working alongside established actors and musicians.”

The production is being directed by Chris Jaeger, Artistic Director of the Worcester Repertory Company, who also directed Cider with Rosie the first time that it was staged at the Swan Theatre back in 2005 to mark the theatre’s 40th anniversary.

He said: “I am very excited at the prospect of directing Cider with Rosie for the second time, and to be working with such a young and vibrant cast. It is a superb recreation of rural England in the 1920s and we are adding a lot of music, as well as some dance, to help recreate the atmosphere. It will be a lively, dramatic and fast-moving production, and a great way to mark the start of this new partnership with the University of Worcester.”

Cider with Rosie runs at the Swan Theatre, Worcester from Tuesday 6th to Saturday 10th June, with tickets available from the Worcester Live Box Office on 01905 611427 or at

Sarah Dawes