Coronation Street and Broadchurch actress Julie Hesmondhalgh stars in this one-woman show, a story of love and hope that transcends space and time, which comes to London’s West End for the festive season.




WINNER: The Stage Edinburgh Award 2018

Performed by Julie Hesmondhalgh | Written by Ian Kershaw | Directed by Raz Shaw


Trafalgar Studios 2, London from 26 November 2019 - 4 January 2020

Press performance: Thursday 28 November 2019, 7pm 


“… about as close as theatre can come to being hugged for 70 minutes nonstop.” ★★★★Independent

“Just magical…” ★★★★WhatsOnStage


This breathtaking Edinburgh Fringe 2018 hit sell-out show ran at Traverse Theatre before transferring back to the Royal Exchange Theatre Studio in September 2018. Performed by multi-award winning, BAFTA nominated actress Julie Hesmondhalgh, The Greatest Play in the History of the World... takes us on a heartfelt journey that starts and ends in a small, unassuming house on a quiet suburban road. Julie narrates this story of two neighbours and the people on their street, as she navigates us through the nuances of life, the possibilities of science and the meaning of love.


Written by the actress’s Bruntwood Award winning writer husband Ian Kershaw (Coronation Street, Cold Feet, Shameless), the production reunites her with award-winning director Raz Shaw who she worked with on the critically-acclaimed production of WIT at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre in 2016. Hesmondhalgh was awarded The Stage Edinburgh Award for her performance.


A man wakes in the middle of the night to discover that the world has stopped. Through the crack in his bedroom curtains he can see no signs of life at all...other than a light in the house opposite where a woman in an over-sized Bowie T-shirt stands, looking back at him.


Performer Julie Hesmondhalgh said: "I had a notion, a romantic notion, that my husband, the writer Ian Kershaw, should write a one woman show for me and we could tour it together into our dotage, like travelling troubadours (or something). A couple of Christmasses ago he kept disappearing to the cellar for an hour at a time, wrapping presents maybe, I thought. And then he presented me with this lovely thing. A beautiful play, a love story, but a universal one (literally!) about learning in time what matters in the end, about leaving a mark on the world (and maybe beyond) that shows us, the human race, in all its glorious messiness, confusion and joy. It was the best present I ever got. In these dark and confusing times, it offers a bit of love and hope. We hope it feels like a present from us to the audiences who come and see it at Trafalgar Studios.”



The Greatest Play in the History of the World…was first produced in association with the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.



Listings information


Trafalgar Studios 2, 14 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2DY

26 November 2019 - 4 January 2020 (3pm performance only on 31st December)| 7.45pm

Previews: 26 and 27 November 2019 at 7.45pm

Saturday performances at 3pm and 7pm

No shows on Sundays and on 24th, 25th December 2019 and 1st January 2019

Ticket prices £35 (£20)

Box office: 0844 871 7632 |