Winter Solstice


It’s Christmas. A Time for Family?

Bettina and her husband Albert aren’t happy –
Bettina’s mother is staying for the holidays.

Which is awkward.

Not least because Bettina’s mother met a man on the train.
And now she’s invited him around for drinks…

Family, betrayal and the inescapable presence of the past reverberate through the UK premiere of Roland Schimmelpfennig’s razor-sharp comedy about the rise of the new right across the globe.

Schimmelpfennig is the most performed playwright in Germany, with productions of his work worldwide in over 40 countries. Previous productions in the UK include The Golden Dragon and Arabian Night, both presented by Actors Touring Company.

WINTER SOLSTICE is an Actors Touring Company co-production with the Orange Tree Theatre.


★★★★ "Winter Solstice is farcical as much as it is philosophical"

Jo Flynn, North West End

★★★★ "Inventive, provocative and incredibly transfixing, Winter Solstice is a razor-sharp comedy about the historic danger of extremism"

Donna Kelly, Frankly My Dear

"Schimmelpfennig’s play is funny and entertaining, at certain moments excruciating to watch, and this Actors Touring Company & Orange Tree Theatre production is lively and inventive"

Paul Kane, Jildy Sauce

"Winter Solstice is a play of ideas and a play which sends the audience home pondering important matters is one which earns its place in our theatres."

Martin Thomasson, British Theatre Guide

★★★★ “Here’s a witty, incisive and ultimately chilling drama. Leading German playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig, elegantly translated by David Tushingham, takes a skillfully subtle and elliptical look at the recurrence of evil in society by folding it up into a tautly spun narrative, to which we can all relate, about family tensions at Christmas.”

Fiona Mountford , Evening Standard

★★★★★ “The most exciting new play I have seen in years”

Michael Arditti, Sunday Express

★★★★ “What really counts is that Schimmelpfennig, in portraying the failure of liberal intellectuals to confront the hideous legacy of the past, has written a potent play for today.”

Michael Billington, The Guardian

★★★★ “A sharply provocative twist on the traditional fraught family festivities drama”

Paul Taylor , The Independent

★★★★ “Roland Schimmelpfennig’s play is better than a clarion call. Like its antihero, it is stealthy and subtle. It calls on its audience not to rise up and resist but to train themselves in observation. To realise by watching this gradually unfolding drama how easy it is to be inveigled, infiltrated.”

Susannah Clapp , The Observer

★★★★ “Devastatingly funny”

Sarah Cromptom, WhatsOnStage

★★★★ “Exactly the kind of exciting, experimental and insightful theatre that Actors Touring Company do so well”

Fergus Morgan, The Stage



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David Beames, Kirsty Besterman, Marian McLoughlin and Gerald Kyd
Photos by Stephen Cummiskey

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Felix Hayes
Photos by Stephen Cummiskey

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Gerald Kyd
Photos by Stephen Cummiskey

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Marian McLoughlin
Photos by Stephen Cummiskey

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Felix Hayes
Photos by Stephen Cummiskey

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David Beames and Marian McLoughlin
Photos by Stephen Cummiskey

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David Beames

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Kirsty Besterman

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Felix Hayes

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Gerald Kyd

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Marian McLoughlin