The Be All and End All at York Theatre Royal

The Be All and End All is a contemporary drama by award-winning writer Jonathan Lewis that shows a politician’s family in crisis after he makes a life-changing decision to ensure his troubled 18-year-old son has the best possible start in life.

When his secrets and lies are exposed the result is an emotionally raw drama of a family split apart by the abuse of power and hunger for success.


Imogen Stubbs in rehearsal for The Be All and End All. Photo Anthony Robling
Imogen Stubbs in rehearsal for The Be All And End All – photo by Anthony Robling


Imogen Stubbs stars in the production, directed by York Theatre Royal Artistic Director Damian Cruden. Her recent stage appearances include Frantic Assembly’s Things I Know To Be True, Alphabetical Orderand Strangers on a Train. Her other stage work includes Othello, The Roverand Two Noble Kinsmen(RSC), Gertrude in Hamlet(Old Vic), Orpheus Descendingand Private Lives (Manchester Royal Exchange), The Duchess of Malfi (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and Communicating Doors (Menier Chocolate Factory). Films include Lucy Steele in Sense and Sensibility (2015), Twelfth Night and Jack & Sarah.

The writer Jonathan Lewis appears as the politician who oversteps the mark in his quest to ensure his son has the best possible start in life. Matt Whitchurch, last seen at York Theatre Royal as Mr Darcy in Sara Pascoe’s version of Pride and Prejudice, plays the son Tom with Robyn Cara completes the cast as his girlfriend Frida.

Lewis’ play Our Boys won the Writers’ Guild Award for Best New Fringe play and had a highly successful return to the West End in 2012. Most recently he wrote and directed Soldier On, featuring a company of actors and ex-soldiers. As an actor, he has had recurring roles in Soldier Soldier, Coronation Street and London’s Burning. His theatre credits include the one man show I Found My Horn, A View From the Bridge and A Few Good Men.

Jonathan Lewis says: “The idea for the play evolved from a conversation with my son after he did his GCSEs. I hadn’t quite understood the pressure schoolkids are under. As I started to talk to him about it I realised it was not just him I was interested in but how that affected me and my relationship with my ex-wife and the teacher – and the pressure on them all.


Matt Whitchurch, Imogen Stubbs, Jonathan Lewis & Robyn Cara and director Damian Cruden (back). Photo Anthony Robling-1
Matt Whitchurch, Imogen Stubbs, Jonathan Lewis, Robyn Cara and director Damian Cruden (back) – photo by Anthony Robling


“One of the themes is the education system’s obsession with exams and grades. If you try and put numbers around everything you are not telling the whole story. The education system has been turned into a business and just testing children about what they know.”

Imogen Stubbs adds: “We both feel very strongly about the potential damage done by homogenising education that at its worst becomes battery farming, rather than organic. I don’t remember exams dominating my life the way they dominate children’s lives now.”

The Be All and End All comes to York Theatre Royal from 4 – 19 May 2018.