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Preview: The Importance of Earnest at Northern Stage

 Oscar Wilde’s The Importance Of Being Earnest Tours Alongside Black Victorians Exhibition To Celebrate Black History Month

The Importance Of Being Earnest

Newcastle Northern Stage

Tuesday 4 - Saturday 8 October 2022

Oscar Wilde's genius humour meets contemporary culture in a theatrical rollercoaster packed with shade, wit and plenty of gags.

2021 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award-winner, Denzel Westley-Sanderson breathes fresh new life into Wilde's sharpest and wittiest comedy: The Importance of Being Earnest.

ETT (English Touring Theatre), Leeds Playhouse and Rose Theatre’s co-production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest tours the UK as it coincides with Black History Month this October.

Directed by Denzel Westley-Sanderson, the production will be accompanied by a new exhibition from Autograph, Black Chronicles II, exploring Black presences in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, through British studio portraiture. The exhibition presents over 200 photographs, the majority of which have never been exhibited before.

This is a classic satire, vibrantly retold about dysfunctional families, class, gender and sexuality.Denzel Westley-Sanderson is a theatre director and workshop facilitator. He trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, has been part of the Resident Directors’ pool at the Almeida Theatre, and was previously director of the CTC Dance Company.

His theatre credits include directing Identity (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), which won the award for ‘Exciting New Work’ at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, co-director on Jesus Christ Superstar - The Concert (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), and associate director on Dick Whittington and Small Island (National Theatre). Denzel has also worked with the Participation team at the Donmar Warehouse on several schools’ project across London.

The Importance of Being Earnest is supported by a grant from the Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST).


Now in its sixth year, the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award – which honours the memory of RTST co-founder, Sir Peter Hall – is made to an up-and-coming director demonstrating exceptional directing skills in a rigorous competitive process. The scheme promotes the RTST’s charitable objectives by supporting up-and-coming theatre practitioners and British regional theatres. It is also intended to appeal to a wide range of candidates and to play a part in promoting diversity in the theatre, onstage, offstage and among audiences.

Cast: Phoebe Campbell, Valentine Hanson, Joanne Henry, Daniel Jacob, Adele James, Abiola Owokoniran, Anita Reynolds and Justice Ritchie

Directed by Denzel Westley-Sanderson;

Designed by Lily Arnold; 

Lighting Design by Zoe Spurr;

Sound Design by Beth Duke; 

Movement Direction by Tinovimbanashe Sibanda; 

Assistant Direction from Becca Chadder; 

Dramaturg Phillippe Cato; 

Casting Director Bryony Jarvis Taylor

Photos: Mark Senior


The Importance of Earnest comes to Northern Stage 4-8 October. Tickets are available from £10 from and entrance to the exhibition is free. Box Office: 0191 230 5151

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