Company adds new twist to classic Roots

Stamford's Shoestring Theatre company wraps up their successful 2016 season with a production of Arnold Wesker's lyric about self-discovery, Roots, dedicated to the the memory of the playwright, who died earlier this year.

Saturday, 26th November 2016, 6:35 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 4:43 pm

Prolific British playwright Arnold Wesker, who also wrote the popular Chicken Soup with Barley, and Chips with Everything, enjoyed immense success with Roots, with Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Joan Plowright among its admirers, with Plowright playing Beatie at the Royal Court London premiere in 1959.

More recently performed at the Donmar Warehouse with Call the Midwife stars Jessica Raine and Linda Bassett, Roots is one of the most important plays of its time. Roots is a timeless classic; a touching portrait of a young woman struggling to find her voice.

September 1958, Beatie Bryant returns from London, like a breath of fresh air, to the rural Norfolk community of her birth. Beatie means to marry her socialist boyfriend Ronnie, desperately hoping that the family “don’t show me up when he’s here”. Besides gifts and a gramophone, she brings with her a wealth of new ideas on politics, music and art, to enlighten her family: ideas of a bolder, freer world, which include love in the afternoon, but which promise to clash with their more traditional values.

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Roots was hailed by the Telegraph as “a beautiful, rich piece that has a strong claim to being Wesker’s greatest dramatic achievement”. Stamford Shoestring Theatre is bringing a fresh new perspective to this classic drama, contrasting the exuberance and vitality of Beatie with the harshness of the Norfolk rural setting.

Heather Butterworth, director, said: “The resonance of this play transcends time and location, and we are really excited to be bringing this funny, vibrant and thought provoking play to our local audience this December.

“As I would like to dedicate this production to the memory of Sir Arnold, who died earlier this year, I contacted his widow, Lady Wesker, on whom Wesker based the character of Beatie Bryant. I was very glad to learn that she was touched by this gesture, and both her and their son Dan Wesker have offered their resounding support for the production.”

For more information on Roots, or to book tickets, visit the Stamford Arts Centre website at

For further information about Stamford Shoestring Theatre, upcoming and previous productions, and how to get involved, email [email protected] or visit