Exploring the greatest new and classic plays


Tanya Reynolds as Kate and
Freddie Fox as Marlow
She Stoops to Conquer
Orange Tree Theatre
December 2023
Photo by Marc Brenner


072 – She Stoops to Conquer, by Oliver Goldsmith

Dec 13, 2023 | Podcast Episodes | 0 comments

Oliver Goldsmith’s ‘sentimental’ or ‘laughing’ comedy She Stoops to Conquer is both a romantic comedy and a deft social satire of town and country in late 18th century England. It’s merry-go-round of romantic intrigues comes complete with mistaken identities, stolen jewels and a midnight coach ride that ends mired in a horse pond. There is never much doubt however that in the end it is the women who will conquer.

She Stoops to Conquer premiered at Covent Garden Theatre in March 1773, and for the past 250 years has been a staple of English language theatre programmes and educational curriculae. As we record this episode a sparkling new production is on stage at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond upon Thames, and I’m delighted to be joined today by its director, Tom Littler, who is perfectly placed to tell us why this play has proved so enduringly popular.

Tom Littler

Tom Littler became the Artistic Director of the Orange Tree theatre in early 2023. His first production as director was a revival of Somerset Maugham’s The Circle, before She Stoops to Conquer. Before this Tom was the Artistic Director and Executive Producer at the Jermyn Street Theatre in London for five years to 2022, during which he won several awards, including the OffWest End Award for Best Artistic Director, as well as The Critics’ Circle Award for Exceptional Theatre Making during Lockdown, and the Stage Award for Best Fringe Theatre.

Tom has directed over 70 productions, including The Tempest, Tonight at 8:30, For Services Rendered, Miss Julie, Creditors, The Living Room, First Episode and Love All, all at the Jermyn Street Theatre. Other credits include: Measure for Measure (Cambridge Arts), Hamlet (Guildford Shakespeare Company), Good Grief (Theatre Royal Bath), Dances of Death (Gate Theatre), Murder in the Cathedral (Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford), Single Spies (Theatre by the Lake and Theatre Royal York), Dear Uncle (Theatre by the Lake), and Jingo (Finborough Theatre)

Tom has also directed the musicals A Little Night Music (Budapest), Cabaret (Frankfurt and Munich), Saturday Night (Arts Theatre) and Anyone Can Whistle (Jermyn Street).

Tom has an English degree from Oxford, as well as postgraduate degrees from the Open University and the University of Cambridge, and he has also taught 18th century literature at Cambridge.

Recommended Play

Tom recommended Infinite Life by Annie Baker.

Photo by Rebecca Need Menear

Become a Patron!

Since I launched The Play Podcast in April 2020, I have managed to eschew any form of advertising or sponsorship, and I would like to continue to produce the podcast without doing so. I therefore invite you to help me to continue to make the podcast by becoming a Patron.
Additional benefits available to Patrons include Footnotes on the plays covered in the podcast, as well as early access to The Play Review.

For details click here

Thank you very much for listening and for your support.

The Texts
If you are interested in buying the play text or other related books, we’d be delighted if you choose to purchase them from our selected partners Bookshop.org and Blackwell’s. Not only will you be supporting independent booksellers, we will also earn a small commission on every book you purchase, which helps to keep the podcast going. Click on the cover to buy from our chosen partner. Thank you.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You might also be interested in …
082 – People, Places & Things by Duncan Macmillan

082 – People, Places & Things by Duncan Macmillan

Published 20th June

Duncan Macmillan’s People, Places & Things is a blisteringly frank and funny portrait of addiction and invented identity. When the play premiered at the National Theatre in 2015, Denise Gough won awards for her electrifying performance, and as we record this episode she revives her role in London’s West End.

It is a fascinating and challenging play, and an exhilarating piece of theatre. I am delighted to talk with its author, Duncan Macmillan, and the production’s director, Jeremy Herrin.

081 – The Government Inspector, by Nikolay Gogol

081 – The Government Inspector, by Nikolay Gogol

Vladimir Nabokov described The Government Inspector as the “greatest play in the Russian language”. Gogol’s comedy of mistaken identity is an unexpected mix of fantastical farce and serious social satire. that has survived as a paradigm of political corruption and social hypocrisy in any age or place.

As we record this episode a new adaptation of the play written and directed by Patrick Myles arrives on the London stage, and I’m delighted to talk with Patrick about this classic play and its enigmatic author.

080 – Long Day’s Journey into Night, by Eugene O’Neill

080 – Long Day’s Journey into Night, by Eugene O’Neill

Eugene O’Neill wrote his autobiographical magnum opus, Long Day’s Journey into Night, in 1941, but because of the personal revelations it contained he gave explicit instructions that it was not to be published until 25 years after his death and that it should never be staged. In the event his widow allowed both to occur in 1956, only three years after his death, when the play won O’Neill his fourth Pulitzer prize.

As we record this episode, a powerful new production of the play is playing in London, with Brian Cox and Patricia Clarkson heading the cast. I am delighted and privileged to talk with the production’s director, Jeremy Herrin, about O’Neill’s monumental play.

Photo by Johan Persson.