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Photo credit: The Woman in Black (Photo courtesy of The Woman in Black)

Everything you need to know about 'The Woman in Black' at the Fortune Theatre

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

This spine-chilling play has scared audiences at the Fortune Theatre since 1989. With just two cast members on stage, theatregoers have found themselves drawn into every word uttered between Arthur Kipps and the Actor as they try to keep their cool with plenty of ghostly apparitions afoot.

Sending audiences crazy with its theatrical masterclass in building tension and suspense, The Woman in Black offers audiences a dramatic masterclass. 

Here's our complete guide to the West End production of The Woman in Black, with The Woman in Black tickets available on LondonTheatre.co.uk.

What is The Woman in Black about?

When Arthur Kipps is called to attend the funeral of Alice Drablow, he journeys to the isolated estate of Eel Marsh House. There, he treads alone until he glimpses the shadows of an unnamed young woman, dressed all in black. Later in the play, we meet Arthur Kipps who reiterates his experiences to an actor who dramatises Kipps' thoughts and feelings. Haunted by the spirit of a woman, Kipps tells of his experiences in order to rid himself of past demons that plague his day-to-day life.

When did The Woman in Black premiere?

The Woman in Black was first performed as a Christmas ghost story in Scarborough in 1987, running for three weeks. The play eventually transferred to London theatres in January 1989, opening at the Lyric Hammersmith on 11 January 1989.

The original cast of the London production of The Woman in Black starred David Burke and Charles Kay sharing the role of Arthur Kipps, while The Actor was played by John Duttine and Andrew Havill for alternating performances.

After the Lyric Hammersmith run for four weeks, then making its way around the West End. Moving to the Strand Theatre (now the Novello Theatre) and the Playhouse Theatre, the show eventually settled at the Fortune Theatre in August 1989 where it has been performed ever since.

Who wrote The Woman in Black?

The original story of The Woman in Black is written by Susan Hill. Writing dozens of books throughout her career, Hill was awarded a CBE in 2012 for services to literature. Hill's novels have a distinct style which revolve around building suspense and atmosphere to create a climatic ending. Although The Woman in Black is arguably Hill's most-successful book, other texts by the award-winning writer include I'm The King of the Castle, The Mist in the Mirror and the Simon Serrailler crime novels.

The Woman in Black is adapted by Stephen Mallatratt. 

Who is in the cast of The Woman in Black?

Terence Wilton plays Arthur Kipps, with Max Hutchinson as The Actor. They were both starring in The Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre before lockdown in March 2020.

What theatre in London is The Woman in Black playing at?

The Woman in Black is at the Fortune Theatre, where it has run for over 30 years. Previously, the Fortune Theatre was used as a site to entertain the armed forces during World War Two.

What is the running time of The Woman in Black?

The Woman in Black has a running time of two hours, including a 15 minute interval. 

Why should I see The Woman in Black?

The show's ability to resonate with different generations for over three decades makes it apparent that The Woman in Black is a special, one-of-a-kind production that's earned its place in theatre history. Rather than the show developing technically and incorporating modern lighting and sound to bring the show into the 21st century, The Woman in Black remains faithful to its original staging and presentation. Now part of Theatreland's fabric, it offers audiences a unique experience to travel back in time at the theatre and experience a part of West End history.

How do I get tickets for The Woman in Black?

The Woman in Black is currently scheduled to resume at the Fortune Theatre from 7 September.

The Woman in Black tickets are on sale now.

Photo credit: The Woman in Black (Photo courtesy of The Woman in Black)

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