The Importance of Being Earnest

A Mercury Production

the importance of being earnest poster with a picture of a man drinking tea, instead of a face, the man has a rose as a head.
Claire Lee Shenfield & Mateo Oxley
Claire Lee Shenfield & Mateo Oxley
The Importance of Being Earnest company
Claire Lee Shenfield, Suzannah Van Den Berg & Harrie Hayes
The Importance of Being Earnest company
The Importance of Being Earnest company
The Importance of Being Earnest company
The Importance of Being Earnest company
The Importance of Being Earnest company
Gillian Bevan
The Importance of Being Earnest company
Mateo Oxley
Harrie Hayes and RIchard David-Caine
Martin Miller
Susannah van den Berg
Mateo Oxley and Richard David-Caine
Earnest Rehearsals
Earnest Rehearsals
Earnest Rehearsals
Earnest Rehearsals
Earnest Rehearsals
actress from Earnest while Rehearsals
Earnest Rehearsals
Earnest Rehearsals
Earnest Rehearsals
Earnest Rehearsals
Earnest Rehearsals
actor from Earnest while rehearsals
actress from Earnest while rehearsals
Earnest actors while rehearsals
Earnest rehearsals
Show Information
Showing on:
Sat 16 March 2024
Approx. 2hrs 25mins, incl. interval
Mercury Theatre
Age Guidance:

Jack Worthing is living a double life.

To escape his dull country existence, he has invented a younger brother called Ernest, whose scandalous behaviour requires Jack to regularly travel to London. Once in the city, Jack becomes Ernest. He is head over heels in love with Gwendolyn Fairfax, the daughter of the formidable Lady Bracknell. When his best friend Algernon discovers that Jack has a secret identity and a beautiful niece called Cecily, he heads down to the country posing as the delinquent brother Ernest.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest comedies ever written, The Importance of Being Earnest zings with contemporary relevance, subversively satirising the snobbery and hypocrisy of extreme wealth and excess.

Oscar Wilde’s dazzling play gets a stylish makeover from our creative director Ryan McBryde, who last had us in stitches with the madcap farces They Don’t Pay? We Don’t Pay! and The Comedy Of Errors.

Sparkling with razor sharp quips and lush period design, this gold-standard comedy guarantees a Wilde night out!

Director Ryan McBryde
Designer Katie Lias

Afternoon Tea Offer

Book two tickets for The Importance of Being Earnest and Afternoon Tea for two people, and receive 15% off your order! If you’re buying or have purchased as a gift, we’ll waive any exchange fees if you need to change performance date nearer the time. Simply add both items to your online basket and the offer will apply automatically, or alternatively call our box office on 01206 573948 to book over the phone. Gift wallets are available at our box office.

Booking for a school?

If you’d like to book for a school group we’re pleased to offer tickets for £12 (including levy) and for every 10 tickets you buy the 11th is free for a teacher or member of support staff.

You can book today (and even pre-order ice cream!) by filling in our form or by calling our customer experience team on 01206 573948. Please be aware the form will ask you for your first and second choice performances dates and times, so please do have a look through the performance schedule below before heading over to the form.

Schools Order Form

Download Education Pack

Schools Workshop

Make your school’s visit to The Importance of Being Earnest even more enriching with our fun workshop exploring the text, the context in which it was written, and the Mercury’s production. This practical workshop is the perfect way to help students engage with the text before or after they’ve seen the show. The workshop can take place either in school or at the theatre and we can adjust the duration to fit with your lesson timetable.

For: Key Stage 3+
Cost: £150 +VAT

To book, email [email protected].


There will be an Audio Described performance on Sat 9 Mar, 2.30pm.
There will be a Captioned performance on Sun 10 Mar, 3pm.

Post-show Q&A

Following the 2.30pm performance on Thu 7 Mar there will be a Q&A with the cast & creatives.

Additional information

We’ve gone wild for Wilde – if you’re a big fan of The Play That Goes Wrong, Noises Off! and One Man Two Guvnors, and want an interactive earnest, you may also enjoy the Say It Again Sorry production, The Importance of Being… Earnest?, coming to us in April. Want to know more about the two shows? Check out the video below!

Meet the Characters

Want to meet the cast behind the characters too?

Check out our fabulous Cast Interviews with  Mateo Oxley and Claire Lee ShenfieldRichard David-Caine and Harrie Hayes; Martin Miller and Elizabeth Bower; Susannah van den Berg and Gillian Bevan.

gillian bevan

Gillian Bevan

Mrs Bracknell

richard david caine

Richard David-Caine

Jack Worthing

harrie hayes

Harrie Hayes

Gwendolen Fairfax

elizabeth bower

Elizabeth Bower

Miss Prism

susannah van den berg

Susannah Van Den Berg

Lane / Merriman

mateo oxley

Mateo Oxley

Algernon Moncrieff

claire lee

Claire Lee Shenfield

Cecily Cardew

martin miller

Martin Miller

Rev Canon Chasuble


Oscar Wilde – Writer
Ryan McBryde (They Don’t Pay? We Don’t Pay! and The Comedy of Errors – Mercury Theatre) – Director
Katie Lias (Bleak Expectations – West End & The Watermill Theatre) – Designer
Lucía Sánchez Roldán (Camp Albion – The Watermill Theatre) – Lighting Designer
Beth Duke (Wishmas – Secret Cinema, Strategic Love Play – Belgrade Theatre & UK Tour) – Sound Designer
Marc Frankum (The Woman in Black – West End, The Mousetrap – 60th Anniversary Tour) – Casting Director
Chani Merrell – Assistant Director (Birkbeck Placement)

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