Private Lives

by Noël Coward
Grand Horizons - Poster


by Noël Coward


Honeymooning in 1920’s France with their new spouses, an ex-husband and wife find themselves sharing a balcony at the same hotel. Within days of being reunited, their fiery romance reignites, despite their new spouses. The two couples are pulled into a hilarious roundelay of affiliations and new partnerships are formed. Tony Award and Drama Desk Winner for Best Revival.

This fresh take on Noël Coward‘s (Blithe Spirit) iconic 1930 play, PRIVATE LIVES will run from June 2 to 25. Directed by award-winning director, educator and actor, Diego Arciniegas, this uproarious timeless romantic comedy, set in a sophisticated world of cocktails, glamour, and sparkling repartee follows the ups, downs, and all-arounds of passion and betrayal.

Performances are Wednesday & Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday & Saturday at 8:00pm, and matinees Saturday & Sunday at 3:00pm indoors at Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester MA.

JUNE 2 – 25

Grand Horizons - Calendar


7:30 pm, WED + THU
8:00 pm, FRI + SAT
3:00 pm, SAT + SUN

Preview Performances

June 2 + 3

Talk Backs

June 11 + 18

Champagne Opening

Sunday, June 4

Run Time

Around 2 hours w/ Intermission

Critical Praise for Noël Coward’s PRIVATE LIVES

“What an entertaining play it is!”

The Times of London

“Gorgeous, dazzling, fantastically funny.”

The New York Times

“A brilliant comedy. A very funny play.”


Meet the Creative Team

Bess Wohl - headshot

Sir Noël Peirce Coward / Playwright

Noël Coward was born in 1899 and made his professional stage debut as Prince Mussel in The Goldfish at the age of 12, leading to many child actor appearances over the next few years. His breakthrough in playwriting was the controversial The Vortex (1924), which featured themes of drugs and adultery and made his name as both actor and playwright in the West End and on Broadway.

During the frenzied 1920s and the more sedate 1930s, Coward wrote a string of successful plays, musicals and intimate revues including Fallen Angels (1925), Hay Fever (1925), Easy Virtue (1926), This Year of Grace (1928), and Bitter Sweet (1929). His professional partnership with childhood friend Gertrude Lawrence started with Private Lives (1931), and continued with Tonight at 8.30 (1936).

During World War II, he remained a successful playwright, screenwriter and director, as well as entertaining the troops and even acting as an unofficial spy for the Foreign Office. His plays during these years included Blithe Spirit, which ran for 1997 performances, outlasting the War (a West End record until The Mousetrap overtook it), This Happy Breed and Present Laughter (both 1943). His two wartime screenplays, In Which We Serve, which he co-directed with the young David Lean, and Brief Encounter, quickly became classics of British cinema. However, the post-war years were more difficult. Austerity Britain – the London critics determined – was out of tune with the brittle Coward wit. In response, Coward re-invented himself as a cabaret and TV star, particularly in America, and in 1955 he played a sell-out season in Las Vegas featuring many of his most famous songs, including “Mad About the Boy,” “I’ll See You Again” and “Mad Dogs and Englishmen.”

In the mid-1950s he settled in Jamaica and Switzerland, and enjoyed a renaissance in the early 1960s, becoming the first living playwright to be performed by the National Theatre when he directed Hay Fever there. Late in his career he was lauded for his roles in a number of films, including Our Man In Havana (1959) and his role as the iconic Mr. Bridger alongside Michael Caine in The Italian Job (1968). Writer, actor, director, film producer, painter, songwriter, cabaret artist as well as an author of a novel, verse, essays and autobiographies, he was called by close friends “The Master.”

His final West End appearance was Song at Twilight in 1966, which he wrote and starred in. He was knighted in 1970 and died peacefully in 1973 in his beloved Jamaica.

Robert Walsh - headshot

Diego Arciniegas / Director

Diego Arciniegas made his debut at Gloucester Stage Company playing La Patumiera in The Primary English Class (opposite the delightful Paula Plum) so long ago he doesn’t recall the date.  (It might have been the late eighties or early nineties!) He is delighted to make his directorial debut after so long a time.  A life-long fan of Noel Coward, Diego has played Nicky Lancaster in The Vortex at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Charles Condemine in Blythe Spirit at the Public Theatre in Lewiston, ME, and Leo Mercurey in Design for Living at the Publick Theatre Boston (in residency at the Boston Center for the Arts), where he served as Artistic Director from 2001 to 2011.  At the Publick, Diego directed a decade’s worth of classic and contemporary plays by Shakespeare, Stoppard, Shaw, Coward, and Checkhov (among others).  Of particular relevance was a production of Coward’s Hay fever in 2011.  Last fall, Diego played Charles Babbage, the inventor of the first computer, in Ada and the Engine at Central Square Theatre in Cambridge.

In addition to his theatrical endeavors, Diego has held an academic appointment at Wellesley College for over 25 years, teaching acting and rhetoric in the Theatre Studies Department, and, on occasion, Shakespeare in the English Department and Spanish Drama in the Spanish and Portuguese Department.  His essay, “Retracting Antonio: In Search of the Merchant of Venice,” was published in a collection of essays entitled Shakespeare’s Sense of Character (Yu Jin Ko, ed.), by Routlage Press, ISBN-13: 978-1409440666.

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA)
ºMember of Stage Directors & Choreographers Society (SDC)
† Represented by United Scenic Artists, Local USA-829 of the IATSE
PRIVATE LIVES is presented by special arrangement with Copyright agent: Alan Brodie Representation Ltd www.alanbrodie.com
First performance at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh on 18th August 1930