dramadramaSix years ago Pope Benedict XVI stunned the world by resigning, the first Pope in 700 years to do so. What drove this arch-conservative to break with sacred tradition and cede the way for Cardinal Bergoglio – a one time tango club bouncer, football-loving reformer with the common touch – to become Pope Francis, one of most powerful men on earth?

Pope Benedict is played by Anton Lesser (Game Of Thrones, The Crown, Endeavour) and Pope Francis is played by Nicholas Woodeson (Baptiste, The Death Of Stalin, The Danish Girl) who was recently nominated for the UK Theatre Award for Best Actor for his performance in Royal & Derngate’s Death Of A Salesman. They are joined by Lynsey Beauchamp and Faith Alabi in this new play from Anthony McCarten, the 2019 Golden Globe and BAFTA-winning, and Oscar-nominated writer of Bohemian Rhapsody, The Theory Of Everything and Darkest Hour. It reunites Artistic Director James Dacre with UK Theatre Award-winning designers Jonathan Fensom and Charles Balfour (Our Lady Of Kibeho) and will feature original music composed by BRIT, Oscar and Grammy-winning composer Anne Dudley (Elle, American History X, The Full Monty).

In this fascinating, gripping and often funny story of two very different men, Pope Benedict and Cardinal Bergoglio grapple with their complex pasts and uncertain futures. From coming of age under dictatorships in Germany and Argentina, to the scandal of sexual abuse by the clergy, The Pope shines a light into one of the world’s most secretive institutions. At its heart lies a timeless question: in moments of crisis, should we follow the rules or our conscience?

The inspiration for an upcoming major motion picture from Netflix, this startling new play receives its world premiere at Royal & Derngate.

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There will be a post show talk on Tue 18 June 

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A Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Anthology Theatre co‑production in association with Tara Finney Productions

Production and Rehearsal photography by Manuel Harlan

Jun 19
Jun 19
Venue: Royal
Duration: 2 hours 25 minutes including an interval
  • Audio Described
  • Captioned
  • Pre-show Touch Tour
  • Signed


Cast & Creative Team