Mrs Delgado

Fans of famous Oxford playwright Mike Bartlett are delighted that his recent runaway success Mrs Delgado is coming to Oxford Playhouse.

Set in lockdown, it focuses on two neighbours who deal with the pandemic in very different ways. Funny, sad, indignant, uncomfortable, riveting and thought-provoking, Mrs Delgado is everything you’d expect from a Mike Bartlett script. (Read our review here)

“I wrote it in lockdown when I missed the experience of being in a theatre,” Mike reflects. “I wrote it in defiance of what we weren’t allowed to do or experience, so Mrs Delgado already feels like a history play,”

Mike Bartlett

Originally debuting at Oxford’s OFS this Christmas, tickets sold out as word spread that Mike, best known for BBC drama Doctor Foster, had another winning formula on his hands.

“It was amazing to see audiences returning to the theatre and watching their reactions. After so long indoors with our screens it seemed a real luxury to have the space and opportunity to experience theatre again, it felt new,” he explains.

“Everyone assumed writers would thrive during the pandemic because we could still write, but none of us did”

So how did Mrs Delgado come about? “I was discussing what to stage at Oxford’s OFS for Christmas when my wife, (the Olivier award-winning director Clare Lizzimore), reminded me about a play I’d begun writing in lockdown and never finished,” he tells me, “so I dusted Mrs Delgado down, and finished it off,” he says.

And what was his mission, his vision when writing it? “I wanted it to reflect what we had just been through and in particular the ways different generations had coped.

Ellen Robertson in Mrs Delgado

“My parents’ generation, for example, were quite resistant to having their freedom curtailed, while we able to get on with it, which I found really interesting.”

So was Mike prolific during lockdown then? “Everyone assumed that writers would thrive during the pandemic, because we could still write and could do that anywhere but none of us did.

performances will take place in a specially created auditorium on the Playhouse main stage with audiences sat right next to the action

“It was something about the enormity of what was going on around us, the lack of social contact with others, plus home schooling, and making sure our families were alright. But by 2021 I had got used to it and that’s when I started writing again.’

By the time Mrs Delgado opens at Oxford Playhouse on February 14, Mike Bartlett will also have two other plays running simultaneously – The 47th at the Old Vic and Scandal Town at The Lyric in Hammersmith, but Oxford Playhouse still holds a special place in his heart:

“I performed there when I was 17 with the Oxfordshire Youth Musical Theatre in Anne of Green Gables. It’s also the theatre I went to when I was growing up, watching plays like Mark Ravenhill’s Shopping and F***ing, which really changed my life,” he says.

Ellen Robertson in Mrs Delgado

And with Mrs Delgado taking place in a specially created auditorium on the Oxford Playhouse main stage, with audiences sat right next to the action, you can expect to be blown away, and fully immersed in Ellen Robertson‘s performance.

“The story needed to have redemption and hope and Mrs Delgado fulfils that,” Mike says, “and with the audience right there with Ellen, we hope this be as intimate and personal.”

Mrs Delgado is transferring to Oxford Playhouse from Monday 14 to Saturday 19 February. Box Office on 01865 305305, or