The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre is delighted to welcome Ian McDiarmid in the world première of Julian Barnes’ The Lemon Table (9 – 13 Nov) directed by Michael Grandage and produced by Wiltshire Creative, Malvern Theatres, Sheffield Theatres and HOME in association with MGC.


A play in two parts, The Lemon Table celebrates a love of music, live performance, and life itself. In the first half we are introduced to an obsessive concert goer who goes to unorthodox lengths to enjoy his evening. In the other, the concert’s composer reflects on the music he has created – his successes, his failures, and the life he has lived. A darkly funny and beautifully written evening that celebrates our return to live performance and the artists that make it.


Tony and Olivier award-winning actor and director Ian McDiarmid is best known for his roles in a host of acclaimed Shakespeare productions as well as his portrayal of Emperor Palpatine across four films in the Star Wars franchise.


Julian Barnes, author of The Lemon Table, has written several books of stories and essays, including the 2011 Man Booker Prize winning novel The Sense of an Ending and the acclaimed The Noise of Time.


The Lemon Table sees McDiarmid and Grandage renew their long-term creative collaboration, having previously worked together on productions including The Doctor’s Dilemma (Almeida Theatre and UK tour), The Jew of Malta (Almeida Theatre and UK tour), Henry IV (Donmar Warehouse and UK tour), and John Gabriel Borkman (Donmar Warehouse).


Ian McDiarmid said, “Two connected stories from Julian Barnes’ The Lemon Table, his witty and touching reflections on mortality and the workings of love, seem positively to invite the engagement and tensions of live performance. It’s a delight to be working once again with Michael Grandage and, at this particular time, to be embarking on a tour of the English regions with the enthusiastic support of a cohort of producers and venues.”

Tickets for The Lemon Table are available now at:

Alternatively, phone the box office on 01483 44 00 00 (Mon to Sat, 10am to 5pm).