The Two Popes


18 October 2022

22 October 2022
Oxford Playhouse
Beaumont Street

18 October 2022 to 22 October 2022

Beaumont Street
Oxford, OX1 2LW
01865 305300
View Venue Website

The Two Popes. Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

The Two Popes

By Anthony McCarten

From the writer of the Academy Award-winning Bohemian Rhapsody, Darkest Hour, and The Theory of Everything comes the play that sparked a major motion picture.

Nine years ago, Pope Benedict XVI stunned the world by resigning, the first Pope in 700 years to do so. What drove this archconservative to break with sacred tradition and make way for a one-time tango club bouncer, a football-loving reformer with the common touch, to become Pope Francis, one of the most powerful men on earth?

Starring Anton Lesser (Game of Thrones, The Crown, Endeavour) and Nicholas Woodeson (Baptiste, The Death of Stalin, The Danish Girl), this gripping and entertaining new play from Anthony McCarten premiered at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, in 2019 and was adapted into the multi-award-winning film for which McCarten was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Academy, Golden Globe, and BAFTA Awards.

Directed by James Dacre (2020 Olivier Award nominated Our Lady of Kibeho) with original music by Grammy and BRIT Award-winning composer Anne Dudley.

The Two Popes is a fascinating and humorous story that shines a light on one of the world’s most secretive institutions. At its heart lies a timeless question: in moments of crisis, should we follow the rules or our conscience?

Rose Theatre, in association with Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham and Oxford Playhouse, presents a Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Anthology Theatre co-production in association with Tara Finney Productions.


From £10.00

Please see important ticketing information below.

Ticketing information

Age guidance: 10+

Duration: 145 minutes with interval

Dates & times:
Tuesday 18 October at 7.30pm
Wednesday 19 October at 7.30pm (Captioned, post-show talk)
Thursday 20 October at 2.30pm (Reduced capacity in circle) & 7.30pm
Friday 21 October at 8.00pm
Saturday 22 October at 2.30pm (Audio described) & 7.30pm

Midweek Matinee:
Recognising that some audience members may not feel comfortable returning to a full capacity seating auditorium, the midweek matinee performance on Thursday 20 October at 2.30pm will be sold to a reduced capacity in the Circle.

Praise for The Two Popes

“A compelling new play”

Sunday Times

“Lesser and Woodeson are, quite simply, divine. A double-headed acting masterclass”


“Rhapsodically Intense”

The Daily Telegraph

“Directed with exemplary clarity”

The Guardian

“Timely, masterly and unmissable”

Reviews Hub