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Dear England play review | A touching tribute to English football in London’s Prince Edward Theatre

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Step onto the hallowed turf of English football with Dear England, a compelling play in London's Prince Edward Theatre. This heartfelt theatrical production explores the world of the beautiful game, taking the audience on a journey through the triumphs, trials, and passion that define English football. Join the talented cast as they unravel the stories that have left an indelible mark on the nation's sporting legacy in this riveting tribute to the sport.

What is Dear England about?

Dear England is a remarkable play that beautifully captures the transformation of English football under the guidance of Gareth Southgate, manager of the English First Team. The production elevates Southgate's journey into an uplifting theatrical experience that rivals any England victory. The narrative explores how Southgate influenced and changed the notions of masculinity within the sport and the England team. This theatrical spectacle pays homage to the enduring spirit of the game and the profound impact it has on a nation, blending Southgate's story with the emotions that stir every football fan's soul.

Dear England: Cast, creative team, and set

Dear England cast

The play stars Joseph Fiennes (The Handmaid’s Tale, Shakespeare in Love) as England football manager Gareth Southgate. Dervla Kirwan (Ballykissangel) stars as Pippa Grange, sports psychologist and Head of People and Team Development. The cast also includes Denzel Baidoo as Bukayo Saka, Josh Barrow as Jordan Pickford, Gunnar Cauthery as Gary Lineker, Will Close as Harry Kane, Crystal Condie as Alex Scott, Lloyd Hutchinson as Sam Allardyce, Albert Magashi as Jadon Sancho, Kel Matsena as Raheem Sterling, Will Fletcher as Jordan Henderson, Darragh Hand as Marcus Rashford, John Hodgkinson as Greg Clarke, Lewis Shepherd as Dele Alli, Griffin Stevens as Harry Maguire, Paul Thornley as Mike Webster, Tony Turner as Greg Dyke, Ryan Whittle as Eric Dier.

Creative team

Directed by Rupert Goold (Patriots, Tammy Faye), this new play by award-winning writer James Graham (Best of Enemies, Tammy Faye, Sherwood), is about the England men’s football team managed by Gareth Southgate and promises to be a captivating examination into the complex psychology of the much loved beautiful game.


Es Devlin's remarkable set design for Dear England commands the Olivier stage with its expansive presence, featuring two enormous halos of light. One hovers above, while the other graces the often revolving floor. This immersive design transports the audience to iconic football settings, from Wembley to St George's Park, and even across the globe to Russia, Qatar, and beyond.

Dear England review: Final verdict

Dear England is an exceptional theatrical experience that celebrates the spirit of English football under the guidance of Gareth Southgate. Directed by Rupert Goold, it moves seamlessly from the National Theatre to the West End's grand stage. Featuring Joseph Fiennes as Southgate, the play explores the deep psychological and emotional complexities of the sport and its impact on the nation. With a blend of wit and insight, it captures the essence of the English football journey. Es Devlin's impressive set design adds depth and authenticity to the storytelling. While not without its flaws, Dear England is a rare gem that instils pride in being oneself. Audiences who appreciate football, sharp storytelling, and outstanding ensemble casts will find this a memorable and moving theatrical experience.

How to buy Dear England tickets?

Looking for budget-friendly tickets for the show? Book your tickets online! Enjoy last-minute availability, choose your seats using the Prince Edward Theatre seating plan guide, and skip the queues by booking at your convenience.

Dear England review: What the critics think

"James Graham’s ode to the beautiful game feels even more epic in its new home" (Prince Edward Theatre London) "This is a rare and special thing – a play that dares to let us feel not so bad about being us."
Claire Allfree, The Telegraph

"The director Rupert Goold, never one to leave his showmanship in the locker room, has rarely married storytelling with spectacle with more of a flourish.” "Will Close’s Harry Kane is exquisitely inarticulate yet demonstrably decent.”
Dominic Maxwell, The Times

"Joseph Fiennes mesmerises as Gareth Southgate"
Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph

"This is a thrilling piece of work, popular and political as Graham always intends his plays to be, and – appropriately – a consummate team effort."
Nick Curtis, The Evening Standard

"He shoots; he scores. James Graham’s fast-moving portrait of Gareth Southgate’s reign as the England football manager is a joyous example of populist theatre. There’s anguish, joy and a surprisingly generous helping of humour."
Clive Davis, The Times

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