Coronation Street and Broadchurch’s Julie Hesmondhalgh returns for the debut tour of the sell-out one-woman show, The Greatest Play in the History of the World..., a story of love, legacy and hope that transcends space and time.

WINNER: The Stage Edinburgh Award 2018
Performed by Julie Hesmondhalgh | Written by Ian Kershaw | Directed by Raz Shaw

UK tour from 29 January - 20 March 2021
*press performance live on Tuesday 2 February 2021, Hull Truck Theatre, Hull at 7:30pm (or available to watch live stream online)

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

“just magical” ★★★★ WhatsOnStage

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.

This breathtaking Edinburgh Fringe 2018 hit sell-out show ran at the Traverse Theatre during the festival before transferring to Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre Studio in September 2018 and to London’s West End in December 2019. The Greatest Play in the History of the World.., which was originally produced in association with Royal Exchange Theatre, returns as we navigate coronavirus restrictions. The show has been adapted especially for the tour in light of these new times and performances will be housed in the larger spaces of each theatre.

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.

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 light as we end this difficult year and enter 2021 with fresh hope."


The Greatest Play in the History of the World... will begin it's UK tour at Hull Truck Theatre, and then visit Storyhouse (Chester), York Theatre Royal, Liverpool Playhouse, Nottingham Playhouse, Stephen Joseph Theatre (Scarborough) and Theatre by the Lake (Keswick). For information and tickets, click here.


For all press enquiries, please contact Sharon at SM Publicity on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07970 178643.