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A Dish of Tea With Dr Johnson

A Dish of Tea With Dr Johnson

James Boswell; Adapted by Russell Barr, Ian Redford, Max Stafford-Clark

Oberon Books

“ feel you are eavesdropping on one of the great double-acts in literary history... this is a rare treat.” –Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Let’s have no talk of dumbing down. This urbane, witty piece is an intelligent, uncompromising, but accessible, introduction to Samuel ‘Dictionary’ Johnson... Yet another triumph for Max Stafford-Clark and Out of Joint.” –Susan Elkin, The Stage

“... you emerge feeling that you have had a genuinely close encounter with the great man.” –Charles Spencer, The Telegraph

“... rich in aphorisms and beautifully constructed sentences... considerably more than a polite literary diversion.” –Michael Coveney, What’s On Stage


Out of Joint Presents: A Dish of Tea With Dr Johnson


Irritable, generous, seriously depressed yet a great wit: meet Samuel Johnson – poet, essayist and lexicographer. This evening of stories and conversation brings to life some of the most colorful figures of the eighteenth century. The host of characters bringing detail to this fascinating portrait includes biographer James Boswell, painter Joshua Reynolds, King George III, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s savior Lady Flora MacDonald, and Mrs. Thrale, the society hostess who was Johnson’s final, unrequited love.

‘With A Dish of Tea with Dr Johnson we return to the fascinating world of the great Dr Johnson. Until the middle of the 19th Century only the two patent houses, Drury Lane and Covent Garden, were permitted to present drama. So when Samuel Foote, Johnson’s contemporary, presented his evening of comic impersonations and vignettes it was billed as An Invitation to a Dish of Chocolate with Samuel Foote. From him we have purloined our title.’ - Max Stafford-Clark


Russell Barr has worked as an actor for over ten years. he has worked extensively in film and theatre. He trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. His first play "Sisters, Such Devoted Sisters' was first performed at the Traverse in an Out of Joint production directed by Max Stafford Clark. It won the Carol Tambor/ Scotsman award for the best production at the Edinburgh Festival 2004, and when on to do two runs in London at the Drill Hall, and two runs off broadway. His recent plays include "Vantastic" and "Lobster" which were commissioned for Queer up North 2009. A double bill of "Vantastic" and "Lobster" was performed at the Oval House Theatre in Autumn 2009. He is a recipient of multiple awards from the Peggy Ramsay Foundation.

Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, Max Stafford-Clark co-founded Joint Stock Theatre Group in 1974 following his Artistic Directorship of The Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. From 1979 to 1993 he was Artistic Director of The Royal Court Theatre. In 1993 he founded the touring company, Out of Joint. His work as a Director has overwhelmingly been with new writing, and he has commissioned and directed first productions by many leading writers, including Sue Townsend, Mark Ravenhill and Caryl Churchill. He has an honorary doctorate from Oxford Brookes University and Visiting Professorships at the Universities of Hertfordshire, Warwick and York.


Ian Redford's appearances with Out of Joint include Shopping and Fucking, Our Country's Good, Some Explicit Polaroids, Rita, Sue and Bob Too, A State Affair,  A Laughing Matter (in which he first played Doctor Johnson), She Stoops to Conquer and The Permanent Way, as well as extensive roster of roles in theatre, film and television. He was the founder and Artistic Director of Xenia Theatre Company.


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