Romantics Anonymous production photos

Miss live theatre? Want to watch new work? Need a musical in your life? You can catch Emma Rice’s brand new show Romantics Anonymous on Wednesday night streamed direct from Oxford Playhouse.

Romantics Anonymous is a delicious love story featuring Angélique – a gifted chocolate maker crippled by social anxiety, and Jean-René the boss of a failing chocolate factory, and it’s now on a digital tour.

Based on the original film Les Emotifs Anonymes and now directed by Emma, (who brought Malory Towers and Wise Children to the Oxford Playhouse before the pandemic struck), this beautiful new musical was currently meant to be on a tour of USA.

But their loss is our gain and instead we will all benefit from this fully staged live streamed epic coming direct from Bristol Old Vic in all its glory.


“It’s hard to describe how exciting this is,” Emma says. “When I imagine being in the theatre again, singing, dancing, laughing and even touching, my heart skips a beat!

“And I have great affection for Oxford Playhouse. It has also been a great champion of Wise Children (Emma’s Bristol based theatre company), co-producing our first show and presenting our second, so it made sense that they’d be part of the story of our third show too!”

Theatre director Emma Rice. photographed at her office in Bristol.

Oxford has a special place in Emma’s heart, having been born here, and her father worked for Oxford University Press. “It is somewhere I have great affection for. Sadly I lost my beloved Dad during lockdown, so have been mourning the loss of him greatly.

“Sad times, but I find myself grateful for many things, not least this chance to bring some light and joy back to the world, the people around me and, indeed, to my own heart.

“It feels like we are navigating an untrodden path – but one that leads to the familiar things we love and miss.

“Of course it is also a serious and daunting task with lots of planning to be done as the safety of the company is our utmost priority.

Funny, tender and painfully awkward, Romantics Anonymous is a delicious love story about breaking the mould and finding the courage to be happy.

So what attracted Emma to adapting the film for the stage? “Oh! Les Emotifs Anonymes (written by Jean-Pierre Améris and Philippe Blasband) had me from the start! It is such a tender and intoxicating love story, filled with anxieties and worries that all of us can relate to.

“It is quirky and surprising, but it is also refreshingly modern. It suggests that anything is possible if you bend the rules, dare to take a risk and allow yourself to love. It is romantic indeed, and just the feelgood story we all need in these difficult times.”

As for the new digital tour, Emma says: “Romantics Anonymous will create the buzz of a live experience, because it is one! The actors are singing and dancing as you watch – if something goes wrong, we will all see it and enjoy it! There will be no airbrushing or editing.

“It is truly live, and the audience will feel that energy and excitement. They will also feel like it is a shared experience; that others are watching at the same time – just like going to the theatre used to be. Also, if people book through their local theatre, a proportion of the ticket price goes to the venue, giving them much needed financial support. 

Want to know what to expect? Read our review of Malory Towers here:

Romantics Anonymous production photos

Emma must be enormously sad about the demise of our theatres during the pandemic? “Theatres miss audiences, actors, the box office they bring and the buzz they provide. This live broadcast can’t answer all the problems theatres are facing, but it does give some wonderful answers and more than a little hope,” she says.

“So I hope the audience will take away a big helping of joy, a sense of community rare in these isolated times and afterwards will be humming the tunes, and have a skip in their step and a heart that is full to the brim with love, kindness and hope – is that too much to ask?

“It is also one of the most talented casts I have ever had the privilege of working with, so the audience is in for a real treat!

Starring Marc Antolin, Carly Bawden, Me’sha Bryan, Harry Hepple, Laura Jane Matthewson, Sandra Marvin, Philip Cox, Gareth Snook and Omari Douglas with lyrics by Christopher Dimond and music by Michael Kooman.

Romantics Anonymous – Live StreamOxford PlayhouseWednesday 23 September

Tickets at:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here