31 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 7ES

Nell Gwynn Poster

Nell Gwynn

Closed April 30, 2016

"This Nell is a people's heroine, playing to the stalls and courting laughs, but she also has bigger concerns, boldly demanding more from the simpering roles she's cast in."

The Guardian on the 2015 Globe Production

Why See Nell Gwynn?

They've disgraced our trade. Ruined our art. They've put a woman on the stage.

Gemma Arterton leads the West End transfer Jessica Swale's enchanting play Nell Gwynn, a biopic of the aspiring actress who became mistress to Charles II following the Reformation. Premiering at the Globe in 2015 with Gugu Mbartha-Raw, this delightfully witty production was an instant hit with critics and audiences alike. Its West End transfer continues to impress, drumming up four Olivier nominations including Best Actress for its star, and winning the Best New Comedy award!


The year is 1660, and the Puritans have fled, taking Cromwell's austere laws with them. Charles II has exploded onto the London scene, bringing with him a love of all things loud, French and sexy. Meanwhile at Drury Lane Theatre, a young actress is getting her charms out for the baying punters.

This charming tale charts the auspicious rise of an unlikely heroine, from her humble start in the slums of Drury Lane's Coal Yard Alley to her success as Britain's most celebrated actress, and then at the side of the King as his mistress. However, it is a dangerous time to be a woman, when they are looked upon as second-class citizens, so Nell must rely on her charm and indomitable spirit to protect herself from the perils of courtly life.

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Additional Information


Previews from: 4 February 2016

Opening night: 12 February 2016


Suitable for ages 12 and up

Cast and Creative


Gemma Arterton as Nell Gywnn
Michele Dotrice as Nancy
Michael Garner as Thomas Killigrew
Greg Haiste as Edward Kynaston
Peter McGovern as Ned Spigget
David Rintoul as Lord Arlington
Anneika Rose as Rose Gwynn
Nicholas Shaw as John Dryden
David Sturzaker as Charles II
Jay Taylor as Charles Hart
Sasha Waddell as Lady Castlemaine/Louise de Keroualle
Sarah Woodward as Old Ma Gwynn/Queen Catherine


Paige Carter
Matthew Durkan
George Jennings
Ellie Leah


Written by Jessica Swale
Directed by Christopher Luscombe
Designed by Hugh Durrant
Composed by Nigel Hess


2016 Olivier Award Awards

Best New Comedy

2016 Olivier Award Nominations

Best New Comedy
Best Costume Design
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Best Actress

What we thought

Cheerful INSPIRING feel-good!

There is also a dog, ladies and gentlemen!

Swallowed whole by its spirited performances and rib-tickling humour, I could hardly catch my breath in between the witty repartee, knees-up jigs and more sombre, yet poignant moments. A triumph!

Read full review
Teia Fregona

Teia Fregona

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