A handbag? Time for some Wilde fun

Nov 25, 2021

Changeling Theatre are staging The Importance of Being Earnest across Kent for their annual outdoor tour in 2022. Oscar Wilde’s renowned satirical masterpiece follows the story of two eligible bachelors Jack and Algy in their quest for love.

Jack and Algy create alter egos called Ernest to win the hearts of two women who conveniently claim to only love men named Ernest.  But it’s a struggle to keep up with their own stories and they quickly become tangled in a tale of deception, disguise and misadventure.

The elaborate plot of this play mocks Victorian sensibilities with some of the best loved and ludicrous characters to be found on the modern stage. And if that’s not sold it to you, there’s always that line about the handbag.

2022 marks our 21st year of outdoor touring since we first toured Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream back in 2001.We are also touring Othello in Summer 2022, chosen by the audience in our popular annual vote.

Changeling’s creative director Rob Forknall says:
“We last toured Wilde’s masterpiece in 2006 and it was a huge hit with our audience. This year our venues wanted us to offer a comedy alongside Othello, so The Importance of Being Earnest was an obvious choice. Wilde satirises the hypocrisy of the strict Victorian moral code, peeling away the thin veil to expose the immorality of the upper class underneath. The play always speaks to audiences, and more importantly, never fails to make them cry with laughter.”

Councillor Fay Gooch, Mayor of Maidstone said:
“Mention the Changeling Theatre to me and my eyes light up! Their open-air production of ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ earlier this year at Boughton Monchelsea Place bowled me over with its originality, its energy, its excitement – Shakespeare as I’d never experienced it before. I just can’t wait to see what they have in store for Maidstone audiences next summer. How incredibly fortunate we are that so much talent is based here in the County Town of Kent where the people of Maidstone can savour the truly joyful experience of outdoor theatre at its best: fresh air and fun – just what we all need to give our wellbeing a boost!”

The Importance of Being Earnest in a range of outdoor locations from Friday 1 July to Sunday 21 August 2022, in venues as diverse as Margate seafront and Biddenden Vineyard to a wide range of public gardens, parks, amphitheatres and many of the county’s best loved castles. There are some exciting new venues to look out for too.

Play venues, dates and booking details for both shows will be released in March next year.