Lane Press is a small independent publisher specialising
in drama. We
are based in the Cotswolds
town of Charlbury between Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon,
and have been publishing plays and books on the theatre
for over 30 years. We have many well-known modern and
established dramatists on our list, including 'Biyi Bandele,
Steven Berkoff, Ronald Harwood, Julian Mitchell, Martin
Sherman, Hugh Whitemore
and Sir Arnold Wesker.
A West-End hit in 1980, Ronald Harwood's play The Dresser has now been adapted for television by Richard Eyre, starring Ian McKellen and Anthony Hopkins. It was aired on BBC Two on 31 October 2015 to wide acclaim.
Based on his experience of working as a dresser to the actor-manager Sir Donald Wolfit in the 1950s, Ronald Harwood has created a wickedly funny backstage drama.
The curtain is about to go up in a small regional theatre somewhere in England. It is 1941 and the town has recently been bombed in an air raid. The members of the touring Shakespeare Company are assembled but ‘Sir', who is due on stage as King Lear, appears to be suffering from some sort of breakdown. It falls to Norman, his dresser, to persuade him that the show must go on.
"Ronald Harwood’s backstage drama centred on the relationship between a Shakespearean touring actor-manager and his camp dresser-cum-nanny, is the archetypal well-made play, calculated to appeal to sentimental and sceptical alike.
...The Dresser is immensely entertaining, well crafted and ultimately moving."
~ Martin Hoyle, FT
"...this brilliant piece of television was more than deserving of our full attention.
The actor, identified only as Sir, was played by Sir Anthony Hopkins, who delivered an excellent – and terrifying – performance...
Sir Ian McKellen appeared as Norman, the dresser – [he] positively revelled in the role."
~ Amy Burns, Independent
"This was, as Harwood has recently said, a masterclass in acting. It’s also very funny, not least when we get Edward Fox playing against type as surely never before. Adapted and directed by Richard Eyre, this was serious and grownup BBC television for a Saturday night, a mature delight, and I stand and applaud all."
~ Euan Ferguson, The Guardian
The Dresser is available from Amber Lane Press along with Ronald Harwood's biography of the great stage actor that inspired it, Sir Donald Wolfit – His Life and Work in the Unfashionable Theatre.
can read more about Ronald Harwood and his other plays
information on ordering any of our books please go to
our 'How to order' page.
year sees new productions of our most popular plays across
the world. These are a few of them. Cancer
Tales had its radio debut in 2009 on BBC Radio
4; and a tour of the play by the Strawberry Hill Creative
in partnership with Mundipharma Ireland won the Allianz
Business to Arts "Creativity" award which was
presented by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese,
in Dublin. Later in the year that other favourite by Nell
Dunn – Steaming
– was performed by the Bovington Players, Hertfordshire,
while Solana Beach, California was the venue for Ronald
Harwood's classic backstage drama The
Dresser, presented by the North West Repertory
Theater. Still on that side of the pond the City of Sumter,
South Carolina staged The
Business of Murder, as did the Canyon Moon Theatre
Company in Sedona, Arizona this January. In 2010 the play
was also staged in Portuguese – A Arte do Crime
– at the Companhia Teatral do Chiado in Lisbon.
Richard Harris’s archetypal suspense thriller last
toured Britain extensively in 2008 and remains a perrenial
favourite among drama groups and audiences alike –
as is Sand Castles.
Centred around that most British of institutions, the
beach hut, Bob Larbey’s play was produced in 2009
by the Rainham Amateur Theatrical Society, and they were
followed by such diverse companies as the Mercia Island
Players in West Mercia, and the Basin Theatre Group down
under in Mt Dandenong, Victoria. Groups staging Sand
Castles in 2010 included The Castle Players in Beaumaris,
Gwynedd, the Rackheath Players near Norwich and Limelight
Productions in Warminster.
a Catholic – Mary O’Malley’s
popular and hilarious comedy of life in a 1950s London
convent school – has probably been performed somewhere
every year since its West End premier over 30 years ago.
In 2009 it was produced by the Neston players in Cheshire,
and by the Loft Theatre Company Upstairs at the Gatehouse
in Highgate, London; and last year saw productions by
the Little Theatre Company at the Brewhouse, Burton upon
Trent, and at the Landor Theatre in Clapham. The latest major revival was staged at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, London, directed by Kathy Burke for two months from November 2013. In 2010 London's
Trafalgar Studios were the venue for a staging of New
Boy starring Skins star Nicholas Hoult
making his West End debut in this tale about the new boy
at school, and the sexual and social confusion he sparks.
Also at Trafalgar Studios, March 2014 sees the opening of the Chichester Festival Theatre revival of Julian Mitchell's Another Country. 2009 saw revivals of two plays by the prolific writer
Hugh Whitemore. God Only
Knows was presented by the Company of Ten at
the Abbey Theatre in St Albans; and the Nottinghamshire-based
Radcliffe-on-Trent Drama Group produced A
Letter of Resignation which dramatises the occasion
when Harold Macmillan, staying with friends in Scotland,
received a political bombshell – a letter of resignation
from his war minister, Profumo.
2010 When She Danced
by Martin Sherman was staged at the Meli Theatre in Athens,
and also in a highly praised version by TimeLine Theatre
Company in Chicago. This award-winning play is about one
day in the life of "the mother of modern dance"
– Isadora Duncan. More recently in the US Trial
By Fire TheatreWorks in Oregon produced Kiss
of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig (translated
by Allan Baker); while back in London at the Conservatoire
for Dance and Drama there was a timely revival of Tony
which is set in the foreign exchange dealing room of a
City of London bank.
is Martin Sherman's modern classic Bent
which has been most revived recently having celebrated
its 30th anniversary in 2010. There were productions in
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Rising Action Theatre), Espace
4001 in Montreal (Altera Vitae Productions), and in California
at The Empire Theatre in Santa Ana, the Diversionary Theatre
in San Diego, and the Nitery Theater at Stanford University.
Last year it was staged at the Belvoir Street Downstairs
Theatre in Sydney by Focus Theatre to coincide with the
annual Mardi Gras Festival. But perhaps the most interesting
new production of Bent was at the Landor Theatre
in Clapham London last April. The producer and director
– Andrew Keates – graduated from drama school
in 2009 and through his experience, determination and
love of the piece was granted the honour of being the
youngest gay director to produce the play professionally
in the UK by the playwright himself - Martin Sherman.