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Production photo

The Country Wife

Written by William Wycherley
Performed in English

The Country Wife was performed for the first time in 1674/75. An instant success with the aristocratic audience for whom it was written, it is now generally considered the first, indeed one of the few, masterpieces of English Restoration Comedy.

The new comedy satirised the new morality; sexual liaisons on the either side of the matrimonial blanket were treated with a lack of sentimentality which alarmed future generations. The Country Wife was never played in its unexpurgated form until 1924.

Cheek by Jowl’s first production: William Wycherley’s The Country Wife was presented at the Edinburgh Festival in 1981, supported by a small Arts Council grant. The first performance of The Country Wife was on 17th August 1981 at St Columba’s by the Castle, Edinburgh.

Tis my maxim: he’s a fool that marries, but he’s a greater fool that does not marry a fool.

Act I, scene i
Cast and creative team


Kevin BurkeHorner
Michael IrwinHarcourt/Mistress Squeamish
Nigel LeachSparkish
Simon NeedsPinchwife
Jane MaudAlithea/Lady Fidgit
Caroline SwiftMargery/Sir Jasper Fidgit

Creative Team

DirectorDeclan Donnellan
DesignerNick Ormerod
Stage ManagerCaroline Donnellan
Previous performances

Previous Performances

Date (first performance)LocationNo. of performances
4 December 1981Plymouth, Arts Centre, UK2
2 December 1981Oxford, Old Fire Station, UK2
30 November 1981Birmingham, Midlands Arts Centre, UK1
27 November 1981Horsham, Capitol Theatre, UK2
26 November 1981Oldham, Grange Arts Centre, UK1
24 November 1981Nelson, Nelson and Colne College, UK1
21 November 1981Stratton on Fosse, Downside Abbey, UK1
20 November 1981Huddersfield, Slaithwaite Hall, UK1
17 November 1981Guildford, Surrey University, UK1
14 November 1981Biggar, Biggar Arts Workshop, UK1
12 November 1981Stirling, MacRobert Centre, UK2
10 November 1981Dundee, Bonar Hall, UK2
5 November 1981St Andrews, Crawford Arts Centre, UK3
30 October 1981Whitehaven, Rosehill Theatre, UK2
24 October 1981Market Drayton, Headlands, UK1
23 October 1981Rugby, Macready Theatre, UK1
22 October 1981Dudley, Borough Council, UK1
21 October 1981Kidderminster, College of FE, UK1
20 October 1981Ellesmere, Ellesmere College, UK1
19 October 1981Hereford, RNCB, UK1
16 October 1981Chipping Norton, The Theatre, UK2
14 October 1981Oxford, Pegasus Theatre, UK1
9 October 1981Aldershot, West End Centre, UK1
2 October 1981Rutland, Theatre Uppingham, UK2
25 August 1981London, Theatrespace, UK12
17 August 1981Edinburgh, St Columba by the Castle, UK12
Production photo
The Country Wife. Photograph: John Beveridge.
Production photo
The Country Wife. Photograph: John Beveridge.
Production photo
The Country Wife. Photograph: John Beveridge.

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