Separate Tables

Full-Length Play, Drama  /  8w, 3m

These two one acts, presented together, depict the hijinks and heartbreak following the residents of a shabby genteel hotel on England's coast. This is 1950s theatre at its finest: chatty, formal and with deliciously oblique subtext.

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    8w, 3m
  • Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
  • Suggested Use
    • Scene work
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Appropriate for all audiences
  • Nominee: Five Tony Awards, including Best Play


These two plays are set in a shabby genteel hotel on England's south coast. Except for the two leads in each (which may be doubled) the same characters appear in both. In Table by the Window, a down-at-the-heels journalist is confronted by his ex-wife, a former model who provoked him to the violent act that sent him to prison, destroying his future. Still in love, they nevertheless go through another terrible scene and it is the hotel manager, Miss Cooper, who helps repair their broken lives. In Table Number Seven, a 'self-made' army colonel without any true background and education to which he lays claim, finds solace with a spinster over the objections of her ruthless, domineering mother. When a sordid scandal threatens to drive them apart, Miss Cooper again comes to the rescue.
After an out-of-town tryout in Manchester, Separate Tables premiered at the St James's Theatre in London in 1954. It had its New York premiere at The Music Box in 1956. 

Table by the Window

Lady Matheson
Mrs. Railton-Bell
Mr. Fowler
Mrs. Shankland
Miss Cooper
Mr. Malcolm
Mr. Stratton
Miss Tanner

Table Number Seven

Mrs. Stratton
Mr. Stratton
Major Pollock
Mr. Fowler
Miss Cooper
Mrs. Railton-Bell
Miss Railton-Bell
Lady Matheson
Miss Meacham

  • Time Period 1950s
  • Setting The Beauregard private hotel, Bournemouth, during winter.
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Additional Features Physical Comedy
  • Duration 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Cautions
    • Mild Adult Themes


"Rattigan is the theatrical patron saint of repressed feeling, wells of loneliness, situational chat and unspoken desire." - The Guardian
"A triumph." - New York Post

"To his skill as a craftsman, Mr. Rattigan has added understanding and forgiveness. The finest thing he's written." - The New York Times
"Rattigan has created a rich gallery of minor characters." - The Guardian
"Although Mr. Rattigan's literary style is light, his awareness of the dreary lives of his minor characters is poignant." - The New York Times
"Table Number Seven
is a masterpiece in miniature." - The New York Times
"Certainly this is the most penetrating inquiry into the human spirit that Mr. Rattigan has yet written." - The New York Times


  • Separate Tables at the Salisbury Playhouse youtube thumbnail

    Separate Tables at the Salisbury Playhouse

  • Separate Tables 1958 Film Trailer youtube thumbnail

    Separate Tables 1958 Film Trailer

Licensing & Materials

  • Minimum Fee: £70 per performance plus VAT when applicable.
    This title may have restrictions in place for London based productions. Please submit a licence request to confirm specific availability.


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Terence Rattigan

Born in London on the 10th June 1911, Terence Rattigan (1911–1977) was educated at Harrow (Scholar) from 1925 to 1930 and Trinity College, Oxford (History Scholarship) BA to 1933. He served as a flight Lieutenant in the Central Command, RAF from 1940 to 1945. In 1934 he had b ...

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