A man is hit in the face with a chocolate cake


Tue 3 - Sat 7 October 2017
Tickets £19 - £34*

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Everyone creates their own coping strategies or rules for living. But what happens when an extended family gathers for a traditional Christmas dinner, and each of them rigidly follows those rules?

Christmas Day will never be the same again. As the drinks flow and the obligatory games intensify, family resentments rise and relationships are pulled apart with a bang – like oh so many Christmas crackers.

Award-winning director Simon Godwin directs this new production of Sam Holcroft’s brilliant and darkly funny play, following a critically acclaimed run at the National Theatre in 2015.

Rules For Living is brought to the stage by English Touring Theatre, Rose Theatre Kingston and Royal & Derngate Northampton, the producing team who won the 2016 UK Theatre Award for Best Touring Production for The Herbal Bed.

Celebrate summer and pre-order a delicious Ploughman's Supper to enjoy before the show, inspired by your favourite picnic foods. Click here for more information.

Pre-show talks (booking essential on 01223 503333)
Post-show talks
Running Time

Approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes including an interval


Tuesday - Saturday, 7.45pm
and Saturday, 2.30pm: £19/£24/£29/£34*
Thursday, 2.30pm: £19/£24/£29*

*All ticket prices include a £3 per-ticket booking fee.

Assisted Performances:

Captioned performance, Thursday 5th October, 7:45PM
Audio Described performance, Saturday 7th October, 2:30PM

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Simon Godwin (Director)
Sam Holcroft (Writer)


  • Family playing card game
  • Man and woman kissing on the floor
  • Woman hugging
  • Man with a colander for a hat
  • Woman in green dress
  • Family laughing


  • 'A hilarious Ayckbourn-style family comedy'

  • 'A sharp, sardonic domestic comedy that puts family through the Christmas wringer'

  • 'Ingenious and insightful'