2017, Three Minute Theatre, Manchester

Originally presented as a Screen Two in 1989, Virtuoso is the moving story of one of Manchester’s most celebrated classical musicians, John Ogdon, when success piled upon success and of the distressing years of mental illness with John and his wife Brenda’s long search for effective treatment.


John Ogdon – Simeon Truby
Brenda Lucas Ogdon – Kerry Willison-Parry
Gerard/US Psychiatrist – Martin Wenner
Carolyn – Morag Peacock
Howard/Bernard – Peter Gibson
UK Psychiatrist – Matt Seber
Martin – Lloyd Peters
Waitress/Woman – Katie Smith


Directed by Sue Jenkins
Written by William Humble
Produced by Philip Hinchcliffe and Gareth Kavanagh
Stage Manager Ann Brown
Sound and Lighting Tech John Topliff
PR and Media Pete Gibson Media
Print and Design Simeon Truby and Will Brooks

Press and Reviews

  • Local Sound Focus: “There are plays that leave you thinking for days afterward – and Virtuoso at the Three Minute Theatre, Manchester was one of those.” 

Behind the Scenes: 

Having connected with Producer Philip Hinchcliffe, at a previous Room 5064 event, a conversation arose between Philip and Producer Greth Kavanagh regarding how proud Hinchcliffe was of a Screen Two film from 1989 looking at the life of tortured, yet fiercely talented pianist John Ogdon. Spurred on by Ogdon’s Manchester connections, Kavanagh suggested staging the play in Manchester. 

Getting in touch with the film’s writer, Bill Humble, Room 5064 were delighted to find Virtuoso had already been adapted into a stage play, and that this was also one of Humble’s favourite pieces. 

Employing Brookside and Coronation Street actress Sue Jenkins as Director, the play premiered to enthusiastic audiences in summer 2017. 

Gareth adds: “The Manchester connections and sheer strength of the script made this a sure-fire winner in my eyes. Ogdon’s story is inextricably linked with the city, yet unlike the stories of Joy Division, Factory, the Stone Roses and Oasis, his story remains relatively unknown.

Philip, Sue and Bill were a delight to work with and I’ll never forget the afternoon we had rehearsing with Philip and Bill watching. Their tales of meeting John Ogdon and making the film were magical, and I hope we did them, and John justice.”


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