The Turn of the Screw

With its dark, evocative score, Britten’s The Turn of the Screw is one of the most unnerving of all operas. Told in flashback from a psychiatric ward, a young governess is terrorised by unseen forces in a remote country house. The setting is Bronte-esque, but the menace is pure Hitchcock.

A young, inexperienced governess is invited to a bleak country house, home to two orphaned children, both deeply troubled, possibly possessed. Her anxiety mounts. There are strangled cries in the night, a figure on the tower, a face at the window. But are they just figments of her imagination, or malign presences threatening the charges in her care? She can’t be sure – and nor can we – as the tension builds towards a nerve-shredding climax.

Britten’s innovative score is a masterpiece of twentieth century opera. With 13 virtuosic instruments, this most eminent British opera composer creates an eerie palette of orchestral colours, with both acts divided into 8 scenes.

A ‘screw’ theme connects all the interludes and this tightens in intensity as the mood grows darker and darker. Particularly effective is the opera’s use of nursery rhymes to raise the tension – a technique adopted by many horror films.

Directed and designed by Isabella Bywater, the production features Ailish Tynan in the role of the Governess. Central to the opera’s eerie subject, the roles of Miss Jessel and Peter Quint are sung by former ENO Harewood artist Eleanor Dennis and Robert Murray. The production is conducted by Duncan Ward – and Charlotte Corderoy on 29 and 31 Oct, who both make their ENO debut.

Libretto by Myfanwy Piper (based on the 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James).

Assisted performances
BSL signed: Sunday 13 October 2024 at 2.30pm

Important Information

Sung in English with the words displayed above the stage (Surtitles)

Age Restrictions

Ages 12+.

Performance Times

Now taking bookings for performances from Fri 11th October 2024 until Thu 31st October 2024.

Show times for each day are below.















London Coliseum Details

Buses Icon Bus routes: St. Martin's Lane 24, 29, 176 / 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 87, 91, 139

Night Buses Icon Night buses: St. Martin's Lane 24, 176, N5, N20, N29, N41, N279 / 6, 23, 139, N9, N15, N11, N13, N21, N26, N44, N47, N87, N89, N91, N155, N343, N551

Rail Icon Nearest rail: Charing Cross

London Underground Icon Tube lines: Piccadilly, Northern

London Underground Icon Nearest tube: Leicester Square

Directions Icon Directions from Leicester Square :

(3mins) Take Cranbourn Street until St Martin’s Lane, where you head right until you reach the theatre.

Parking Icon Car park: Q-Park: Chinatown (5mins) / Other: St Martin's Lane Hotel (1min)

Congestion Zone Icon In congestion zone?: Yes

Facilities at London Coliseum

Air conditioned


Disabled toilets

Infrared hearing loop


Wheelchair accessible

London Coliseum Location

St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4ES
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Please note: The location shown on the map is an approximate location of the theatre. In the majority of cases the theatre will be marked on the map so please make sure you locate the exact location yourself. If the theatre is not shown on the map please make sure you locate the correct road name and take account of the directions.

The Turn of the Screw

London Coliseum, London

Running until: Thu 31st October 2024

Running time: 2hr 10min. Incl 1 interval.