On This Gay Day: ‘Beautiful Thing’ made its theatrical debut

Beautiful Thing

In 1993 Jonathan Harvey’s ‘Beautiful Thing’ was performed for the first time

In 1993 Jonathan Harvey’s play Beautiful Thing was performed for the first time. Telling the story of two teenage boys, living on a council estate, who fall in love.

The original production opened at the Bush Theatre in London and was directed by Hettie MacDonald. It featured Patricia Kerrigan, Mark Letheren, Jonny Lee Miller, Sophie Stanton and Philip Glenister.

The play tells the story of London teenager Jamie who is infatuated with his classmate Ste. Ste lives with his drug taking brother and alcoholic father. When he is badly beaten by his father, Jamie’s Mum insists he stay at their flat. There’s no extra bed, and he has to share with his mate.

In March 1994 the show was restaged at the Donmar Warehouse in Covent Garden. While Letheren and Stanton (pictured above) reprised their roles, Amelda Brown, Shaun Dingwell, and Hugh Bonneville joined the cast.

A third staging came just a few months later at the Duke Of York Theatre in the West End, Amelda Brown was joined by Zubin Varla, Richard Dormer, Diane Parish and Rhys Ifans.

The success of the play saw it commissioned as a TV movie, with Hettie McDonald still directing. Producers were so pleased with the results it was released to cinemas, where it quickly found a global audience who fell in love with the story.

Since it’s debut Beautiful Thing has been performed regularly around the world.  Recently it was on in Sydney as part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

OIP Staff

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