Posts

,

Bill Deamer: ‘We are not doing a carbon copy; that was that production of Follies and this is a new production of Follies.’

Follies

Choreographer Bill Deamer enters the room. ‘Hello!’ he says cheerily.

Bill Deamer is one of Britain’s leading song and dance men for theatre, film and TV. Last year he bagged himself an Olivier nomination for Best Theatre Choreographer for Follies

Now Dominic Cooke’s production of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s masterpiece, is back at the National Theatre. We are talking in the interview room backstage at the National Theatre and Deamer has just been giving notes to the cast of Follies. ‘We now have to let them take the show and run with it,’ he says.

The 2019 Follies Company with Bill Deamer

The 2019 Follies Company with Bill Deamer

It’s tricky, Deamer explains, to reimagine a critically acclaimed musical for the Olivier stage with new cast members in just over a month, yet they have cleared that obstacle with breath-taking ease. ‘We’ve only had four weeks rehearsal whereas we had 9 originally. What you can’t do when you recast is assume the energy is going to be the same.’

It’s not only the cast that has changed since the 2017 production, however. The ensemble brings glorious new touches to the big number choreography; particularly the Mirror Mirror number, in which Dawn Hope leads the cast through a show-stopping musical theatre extravaganza.

FOLLIES 2.0

FOLLIES 2.0

Rehearsals must have been full-on? ‘To learn and create and become the Follies company in four weeks was a tall order, Deamer says. ‘The actors are different, we are not doing a carbon copy; that was that production of Follies and this is a new production of Follies. We’ve looked at certain concepts and developed them even more. The ghosts and how they are in contact with and interact with their older selves have all been developed.’

‘There’s a moment at the beginning of the show, during the Overture and all of a sudden the ghosts realise that they are back and they all gesture to the front,’ he continues. ‘There’s so much power in it, it gives me Gooseflesh talking about it.’

During a recent preview an audience member took a photograph of Joanna Riding performing as her voice cracked during the last lines of Losing My Mind. Follies’ Associate Director, Josh Seymour tweeted his dismay.

He winces when I mention it. ‘Good job Imelda wasn’t there!’ he says. ‘I can’t believe that during one of the most sensitive parts of the show somebody actually pulls a camera out to take a photograph – with a flash on. It’s absurd. Why do people do it? It’s so rude – it is disrespectful to the actors and it disrespectful to the audience.’

Should they have been ejected? ‘Yes.’ Deamer says bemused.

Were they? ‘No. It was such a subtle part of the show it would have disturbed things more to chuck them out,’ he says.

‘I think we all talk about audience etiquette and audience behaviour but it is not made clear enough – when you are recording for TV you hand your phones in. Maybe that is the way to go? I just don’t know.’

We discuss the mythical Follies 2018 Cast Recording that has just finally been released. ‘I’ve heard all of the various productions of Follies that have been recorded and they all have their merits. I think the quality of all of the vocals are quite extraordinary – Stephen Sondheim’s music and Jonathan Tunick’s arrangement just come to life.’

Alexander Hanson and Joanna Riding credit: Johan-Persson

Alexander Hanson and Joanna Riding credit: Johan-Persson

Does he have a favourite? ‘I have to say that Too Many Mornings breaks my heart; the woodwind, the obo – that wonderful sound. There is something in it that just moves me completely. Hearing Phillip (Quast) and Imelda (Staunton) sing it together is quite extraordinary,’ Deamer says.

The ghosts of those former cast certainly loom over the return of Follies; there are some big tap-shoes to fill. Now though, replacing Staunton as Sally is Joanna Riding and Alexander Hanson takes on the role of Ben. ‘Joanna and Alex are so completely different from their predecessors,’ Deamer says.

‘Jo is so different from Imelda – you couldn’t say that one is better than another; they are completely different. Alex brings such pathos to Ben. I have my amazing memories of working with Imelda and Phillip and now I have my memories of working with Jo and Alex.’

Dawn Hope Stella and the company National Theatre credit: Johan Persson

Dawn Hope Stella and the company National Theatre credit: Johan Persson

‘They are quite wonderful because Dominic and I have worked hard with them and it is all based as it was originally: the director, the designer, the choreographer and the music, we all work as one. So, we had that strength in the rehearsal room.’

Deamer has been a consistently working choreographer for over twenty-five years. His first Olivier nomination was for the critically acclaimed production of The Boy Friend that opened at Regents Park Open Air Theatre in 2006. He has beavered away across theatre, film and television winning an Olivier Award as Best Choreographer in 2013 for Top Hat, as a musical theatre and Charleston specialist for Strictly Come Dancing.

Bill Deamer and Carl Woodward

Bill Deamer and Carl Woodward

He never stops.

The last thing Deamer wants is to be thought of as, he stresses, a one-style  choreographer. ‘People assume I just do the old-fashioned stuff- which drives me insane. Actually, it is not old fashioned, it is classic. I’ve got Saturday Night Fever out on tour at the moment. I have a production of Evita that’s toured for 11 years around Europe out on the road.’

‘I’m a fully trained dancer and a musical theatre choreographer,’ he shrugs. ‘I trained in classical dance and ballet and jazz and indeed if anyone knows my work on TV with Strictly. For me, pigeonholing any artist is just nonsense.’

Dominic Cooke (Director) and Bill Deamer (Choreographer) in rehearsal for Follies at

Dominic Cooke (Director) and Bill Deamer (Choreographer) in rehearsal for Follies 

What advice does he have for aspiring choreographers? ‘The first thing that I say to any performer is: learn your craft. Get your technique – without that you will not survive. Too many dancers are jack of all trades and master of none and quite simply, it isn’t going to work.’

Our time has come to an end and it’s time for Bill to go.

‘I’m very luck to do what I do – I have worked for it and I’ve learnt my trade. It is wonderful to work with such brilliantly diverse people and create theatre – it feels like such a privilege to be able to work on the various projects that I do; when it doesn’t, I won’t do it,’ he concludes. The words are spoken without a hint of mawkishness, only sincerity. It is all he knows.

Follies is at the Oliver, London until 11 May.

The National Theatre to tour Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste of Honey around the UK

National Theatre
  • A Taste Of Honey is directed by Bijan Sheibani and designed by Hildegard Bechtler
  • Jodie Prenger will play Helen
  • A Taste Of Honey will tour to nine venues from September, opening at the Lowry, Salford

The National Theatre today announced a UK tour of Bijan Sheibani’s production of A Taste of HoneyShelagh Delaney’s remarkable taboo-breaking 1950s play, which was first produced in the Lyttelton Theatre in 2014, designed by Hildegard Bechtler and reconceived in an exciting new production, featuring a live on stage band, for the tour.

Jodie Prenger (Oliver!One Man, Two GuvnorsAbigail’s Party UK tour) plays Helen, with further casting to be announced.

Written by Shelagh Delaney when she was nineteen, A Taste of Honey offers an explosive celebration of the vulnerabilities and strengths of the female spirit in a deprived and restless world.

When her mother Helen runs off with a car salesman, feisty teenager Jo takes up with Jimmy, a sailor who promises to marry her, before he heads for the seas leaving her pregnant and alone.  Art student Geoff moves in and assumes the role of surrogate parent until, misguidedly, he sends for Helen and their unconventional setup unravels.

An exhilarating depiction of working-class life in post-war SalfordA Taste of Honey will open there at The Lowry from 13 – 21 September, with a press night on Friday 20 September.

The tour will also visit the Kings Theatre, Edinburgh (24 – 28 September); the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (1 – 5 October); Richmond Theatre (7 – 12 October); Grand Opera House, Belfast (15 – 19 October); Leicester Curve (22 – 26 October); Theatre Royal, Bath (28 October – 2 November); Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton (5 – 9 November); and the Norwich Theatre Royal (12 – 16 November). Tickets will go on sale in venues from mid-February, check theatre websites for specific details.

The sound designer will be Ian Dickinson for Autograph, the composer will be Paul Englishby, the movement director will be Aline David.

Shelagh Delaney wrote her first play, A Taste of Honey in ten days after seeing Rattigan’s Variation of a Theme in Manchester. She sent the script to Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop and the play opened at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East in 1958 before transferring to the West End. It was later made into a feature film with Rita Tushingham, Dora Bryan and Murray Melvin and the Broadway transfer featured Joan Plowright and Angela Landsury. Delaney’s other work includes The Lion in Love. For television she wrote The House That Jack Built and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Bijan Sheibani is an award winning theatre and opera director. His work for the National Theatre includes Barber Shop ChroniclesA Taste of HoneyEmil and the DetectivesThe Kitchen, and Our Class (Olivier Nomination for Best Director). Other theatre includes Dance Nation and The House of Bernarda Alba (Almeida Theatre); Circle Mirror Transformation (Home, Manchester); The Brothers Size (Young Vic, Olivier Nomination);Giving (Hampstead Theatre); Moonlight (Donmar Warehouse); Gone Too Far (Royal Court Theatre, Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre). He was artistic director of Actors Touring Company from 2007 to 2010, and an associate director at the National Theatre from 2010 to 2015.

Jodie Prenger’s work for the NT includes One Man, Two Guvnors for the NT in the West End; Nancy in Oliver! (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane); Lady of the Lake in Spamalot (Playhouse Theatre and UK Tour); Calamity Jane in Calamity Jane (UK Tour); Tell Me on a Sunday (UK Tour); Miss Hannigan in Annie (New Theatre, Oxford); Shirley in Shirley Valentine (UK Tour); Kelly in Fat Friends The Musical (UK Tour) and Beverly in Abigail’s Party (UK tour). Television includes Years and Years, Citizen KhanWizards vs AliensCandy Cabs and Waterloo Road. She won the Theatregoers’ Choice Whats On Stage Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical.

Hildegard Bechtler is an Olivier Award-winning theatre and opera designer whose designs for the NT include ConsentSunset at the Villa ThaliaWasteA Taste of HoneyScenes from an ExecutionAfter the DanceHarper ReganThe Hour We Knew Nothing of Each OtherThe HothouseThérèse RaquinExilesPrimoIphigenia at AulisThe Merchant of VeniceRichard II, and King Lear. For the RSC she has designed The Crucible and Electra. In London’s West End her designs include Oresteia (also Almeida Theatre), Top HatPassion PlayOld TimesThe Sunshine BoysArcadiaThe Lady from DubuqueBy the Bog of CatsThe Master BuilderFootfallsHedda GablerThe MisanthropeThe Goat or Who is Sylvia?The Crucible. On Broadway she has designed PrimoArcadia, and The Seagull.

A Taste of Honey is produced on tour by the National Theatre.

,

First Look: Rehearsal images released for Follies

Relaxed performance of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ announced

Relaxed Performance of the National Theatre’s multi award-winning production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time will take place at the Piccadilly Theatre on Saturday 6 April at 2.30 pm, to coincide with World Autism Awareness Week.

Relaxed performances are specifically designed to welcome people who will benefit from a more relaxed environment, including people on the autism spectrum, or with sensory and communication difficulties, or a learning disability.  At this performance there will be a relaxed attitude to noise and movement in the auditorium and some small changes made to the light and sound effects.  These performances have previously been described as ‘the opposite of the quiet carriage on the train.’

It follows the success of previous National Theatre Relaxed performances for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TIme including in the Cottesloe at the National Theatre (2012), on Broadway (2014), in the West End (2016) and on tour in Salford (2014), Southampton (2015), Birmingham (2017), Melbourne (2018) and Singapore (2018).

Lighting and special effects will be adapted for the performance, such as removing strobes and flashing lights and reducing very loud noises; and audience movement and interaction will be welcome. Parts of the Piccadilly Theatre foyer will be available as a quiet space to relax for those who need to leave and re-enter the auditorium during the show.  After the performance, the audience will be welcome to stay for a ‘Question and Answer’ session with the actors who will be in costume but out of character. There will be trained and welcoming staff around the theatre for the duration of the performance.

A visual story and supporting video will be available to download from the website from early March: curiousonstage.com. These materials were created in consultation with the Youth Patrons from the charity Ambitious About Autism.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, based on Mark Haddon’s award-winning novel, has been adapted by Simon Stephensand directed by Marianne, is the winner of seven Olivier Awards in 2013, including Best New Play, Best Director, Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design.

The show tells the story of Christopher John Francis Boone, who is fifteen years old. He stands besides Mrs Shears’ dead dog, which has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in a book he is writing to solve the mystery of who killed Wellington. He has an extraordinary brain and is exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.

Sam Newton (Alternate Christopher) plays Christopher Boone, the fifteen-year old maths genius with behavioural problems. The cast is completed by Julie Hale, as his teacher, Siobhan, Emma Beatie (Judy), Lynette Clarke (Ensemble), Eliza Collings (Ensemble), Kieran Garland (Understudy), Emma-Jane Goodwin (Understudy), Lucas Hare (Ensemble), Joshua Jenkins (Christopher) Gemma Knight Jones (Ensemble), Stuart Laing (Ed), Sean McKenzie (Ensemble), Joe Rising (Understudy), Craig Stein (Ensemble) and Rose Riley (Understudy).

The production is designed by Bunny Christie, with lighting designer Paule Constable, and video design by Finn Ross. Movement is by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Ian Dickinson for Autograph. The associate director is Katy Rudd.

It is produced by the National Theatre, Ambassador Theatre Group, Gavin Kalin Productions and Glass Half Full Productions.

Suitable for ages 11 years +

Relaxed Performance Information

Address: Piccadilly Theatre, 16 Denman Street, London W1D 7DY

Tickets: £30

Tickets for the relaxed performance are bookable by telephone only via the National Theatre on 020 7452 3000 or via ATG Tickets on 0800 912 6971.*

*Calls cost 7p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge.

,

FOLLIES IS ON FU*KING ITUNES

Follies

As you well know, the National Theatre executed a surprise, everyone-get-out-of-bed-right-now, fucking-hell-what’s-happening-are-we-all-dead-and-is-this-what-the-afterlife-feels-like album release.

Stephen Sondheim’s FOLLIES – 2018 National Theatre Cast Recording is here.

It’s all very exciting.

My thanks for your thoughts at this time and for those who contributed to the trolling of our Royal National Theatre.

But how did I feel at the end of this emotional 12 month dual carriageway?

One word: Overjoyed.

  1. Prologue – 10/10
  2. Beautiful Girls 10/10
  3. Don’t Look At Me 10/10
  4. Waiting For The Girls Upstairs 10/10
  5. Rain On The Roof / Ah, Paris! / Broadway Baby (Medley) 10/10
  6. The Road You Didn’t Take 10/10
  7. In Buddy’s Eyes 10/10
  8. Who’s That Woman? 10/10
  9. I’m Still Here 10/10
  10. Too Many Mornings 10/10
  11. The Right Girl 8/10 (a bit of a racket)
  12. One More Kiss 10/10
  13. Could I Leave You? 10/10
  14. Loveland 8/10 (semi-annoying)
  15. You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow / Love Will See Us Through (Medley) 10/10
  16. Buddy’s Blues 10/10
  17. Losing My Mind 9/10 (Imelda lite)
  18. The Story Of Lucy and Jessie 10/10
  19. Live, Laugh, Love 10/10
  20. End of Show 10/10

Anyway, FOLLIES returns to the National Theatre with previews from 12 February 2019, with many of the original cast including Tracie Bennett, Janie Dee and Peter Forbes returning to their roles. Alexander Hanson and Joanna Riding will join the cast in the roles of Ben and Sally. More information and tickets can be found here: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/follies

CD pre-orders will be available ‘soon’ let’s hope it isn’t another year.

Any questions? No? Good. You can buy FOLLIES on Itunes  or stream it right now

Warner Classics and National Theatre Present Follies 2018 National Theatre cast recording

Follies Cast Recording

WARNER CLASSICS and the NATIONAL THEATRE announced the digital download and streaming release of Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical FOLLIES – 2018 National Theatre Cast Recording this Friday, January 18th.

The critically-acclaimed musical tells the story of the former performers of Weismann’s Follies, reunited for the first time in their theatre which is to be demolished the next day. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves. The show includes musical hits such as I’m Still HereBroadway Baby and Losing My Mind.

Following its 2018 Olivier Award wins for Best Musical Revival and Best Costume Design and a sold out run at the National Theatre, the original cast and orchestra behind FOLLIES release its much-anticipated London Cast Recording. FOLLIES returns to the National Theatre’s Olivier Theatre on February 12th 2019.

Director of FOLLIES and Associate of the National Theatre Dominic Cooke said: “Directing FOLLIES has been a privilege. It is a heart-breaking, universal piece and the National Theatre committed epic resources to realise it. The original company gave detailed, powerful performances and I’m delighted that we managed to record them for listeners to appreciate Stephen Sondheim’s peerless score, just as I’m working with an equally brilliant cast on the Olivier revival opening next month.”

FOLLIES – 2018 National Theatre Cast Recording was recorded at RAK Studios in London with world-renowned producer Nigel Wright, conducted by Olivier NomineeNigel Lilley and mixed by SMP Studios, Buckinghamshire. The soundtrack cast includes Julie Armstrong, Norma Attallah, Josephine Barstow, Jeremy Batt, Tracie Bennett, Di Botcher, Billy Boyle, Janie Dee, Anouska Eaton, Liz Ewing, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Peter Forbes, Emily Goodenough, Bruce Graham, Adrian Grove, Fred Haig, Aimee Hodnett, Dawn Hope, Liz Izen, Alison Langer, Emily Langham, Sarah-Marie Maxwell, Ian McLarnon, Leisha Mollyneux, Gemma Page, Kate Parr, Philip Quast, Edwin Ray, Gary Raymond, Adam Rhys-Charles, Jordan Shaw, Imelda Staunton, Zizi Strallen, Barnaby Thompson, Christine Tucker, Michael Vinsen and Alex Young.

FOLLIES Track Listing

  1. Prologue
  2. Beautiful Girls
  3. Don’t Look At Me
  4. Waiting For The Girls Upstairs
  5. Rain On The Roof / Ah, Paris! / Broadway Baby (Medley)
  6. The Road You Didn’t Take
  7. In Buddy’s Eyes
  8. Who’s That Woman?
  9. I’m Still Here
  10. Too Many Mornings
  11. The Right Girl
  12. One More Kiss
  13. Could I Leave You?
  14. Loveland
  15. You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow / Love Will See Us Through (Medley)
  16. Buddy’s Blues
  17. Losing My Mind
  18. The Story Of Lucy and Jessie
  19. Live, Laugh, Love
  20. End of Show

FOLLIES – 2018 National Theatre Cast Recording is available across digital download and streaming accounts now. Download and streaming link can be found HERE. CD pre-orders will be available soon.

“I love this show’s beautiful reflection on the lives of these characters and the choices they made.  I’m thrilled we were able to capture this original National Theatre cast last year, and I look forward to fans of Stephen Sondheim, the show and the cast enjoying this recording for many years to come.” stated Kevin Gore, President of Arts Music for Warner Music Group.

FOLLIES returns to the National Theatre with previews from 12 February 2019, with many of the original cast including Tracie BennettJanie Dee and Peter Forbesreturning to their roles. Alexander Hanson and Joanna Riding will join the cast in the roles of Ben and Sally. More information and tickets can be found here: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/follies

National Theatre: February – July 2019

Barber Shop Chronicles

Inua Ellams’ Barber Shop Chronicles will play at the Roundhouse, Camden for a limited run from July as part of a UK tour

Gershwyn Eustache Jnr, Leah Harvey and Aisling Loftus lead the cast of Small Island, adapted by Helen Edmundson from Andrea Levy’s prize-winning novel, directed by Rufus Norris in the Olivier Theatre

Justine Mitchell joins Roger Allam in Rutherford and Son by Githa Sowerby, directed by Polly Findlay

Phoebe Fox takes the title role of ANNA in Ella Hickson and Ben and Max Ringham’s tense thriller directed by Natalie Abrahami

Further casting released for Peter Gynt, directed by Jonathan Kent, written by David Hare, after Henrik Ibsen

War Horse will return to London as part of the 2019 UK and international tour, playing at a new venue, Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, for a limited run in October

Olivier Theatre

SMALL ISLAND

adapted by Helen Edmundson

based on the novel by Andrea Levy

Previews from 17 April, press night 1 May, in repertoire until 10 August

Andrea Levy’s epic, Orange Prize-winning novel bursts into new life on the Olivier Stage. A cast of 40 tell a story which journeys from Jamaica to Britain through the Second World War to 1948, the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury.

Adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson Small Island follows the intricately connected stories of two couples. Hortense yearns for a new life away from rural Jamaica, Gilbert dreams of becoming a lawyer, and Queenie longs to escape her Lincolnshire roots. Hope and humanity meet stubborn reality as the play traces the tangled history of Jamaica and the UK.

Initial casting includes Leah Harvey as Hortense, Aisling Loftus as Queenie and Gershwyn Eustache Jnr as Gilbert.

They will perform alongside: CJ Beckford, Jacqueline Boatswain, Phoebe Frances Brown, Chereen Buckley, Cavan Clarke, Shiloh Coke, Beatie Edney, Adam Ewan, David Fielder, Amy Forrest, John Hastings, Stephanie Jacob, Sandra James-Young, Natey Jones, Trevor Laird, Johann Myersand Andrew Rothney.

Directed by Rufus Norris, set and costume design by Katrina Lindsay, projection design by Jon Driscoll, lighting design by Paul Anderson, composerBenjamin Kwasi Burrell, sound design by Ian Dickinson, movement direction by Coral Messam and fight direction by Kate Waters.

Production supported by Areté Foundation / Betsy & Ed Cohen.

Hundreds of £15 tickets available for every performance.

Broadcast as part of the NT Live Season on 27 June.

PETER GYNT

by David Hare

after Henrik Ibsen

a co-production with Edinburgh International Festival

Previews from Thursday 27 June, press night 9 July, playing until 8 October with additional performance to be announced

Playing at Edinburgh International Festival in August

Peter Gynt has always set his heart on being special, on being a unique individual, on being unlike anyone else. When he steals the bride from a local wedding, he sets off on a lifetime journey which will take him to Florida, to Egypt, to a mountain of trolls, and finally, only when death approaches, back to his home in Scotland.

In this radical new version David Hare kidnaps Ibsen’s most famous hero and runs away with him into the 21st century. James McArdle takes the title role in this epic story of transformation, following his acclaimed performances in Platonov and Angels in America. He is reunited with David Hare and Jonathan Kent, the partnership behind the triumphant Young Chekhov at Chichester Festival Theatre and the National Theatre.

Cast also includes Caroline DeygaJonathan Coy and Ann Louise Ross with further cast to be announced.

Directed by Jonathan Kent, set and costume design by Richard Hudson, lighting design by Mark Henderson, sound design by Christopher Shutt and movement direction by Polly Bennett.

Lyttelton Theatre

RUTHERFORD AND SON

by Githa Sowerby

Previews from 16 May, press night 28 May, performances until 19 June with additional performances to be announced

In a Northern industrial town, John Rutherford rules both factory and family with an iron will. But even as the furnaces burn relentlessly at the Glassworks, at home his children begin to turn against him.

Githa Sowerby’s astonishing play was inspired by her own experience of growing up in a family-run factory in Gateshead. Writing in 1912, when female voices were seldom heard on British stages, she now claims her place alongside Ibsen and Bernard Shaw with this searing depiction of class, gender and generational warfare.

Roger Allam (Les Miserables, The Thick of It) returns to the National for the first time in a decade to play Rutherford in this new production directed byPolly Findlay (Beginning). Justine Mitchell joins Roger Allam in the role of Janet Rutherford.

Set and costume design by Lizzie Clachan, lighting design by Charles Balfour, movement direction by Polly Bennett, sound design by Paul Arditti, and music by Kerry Andrew.

Dorfman Theatre

ANNA

created by Ella Hickson, Ben and Max Ringham

Previews from May 11, press night 21 May, playing until 15 June

Anna and Hans are married, in love and moving up in the world – but it is a world ruled by suspicion. Who can be trusted when everyone is listening? Can we ever escape our past?

Phoebe Fox (Twelfth Night, A View from the Bridge) performs the role of Anna and is cast alongside Nathalie Armin, Max Bennett, Jamie Bradley, Georgia Landers and Dwane Walcott.

Created by Ella Hickson (The Writer), Ben and Max Ringham with story by Ella Hickson and composition and sound design by Ben and Max Ringham,Natalie Abrahami (Machinal) directs this tense new thriller which uses individual audio headsets to give the audience intimate access to events as they unfold over one evening.

Set and costume design by Vicki Mortimer, lighting design by Jon Clark and movement direction by Anna Morrissey.

Productions currently on sale

Olivier Theatre

FOLLIES

book by James Goldman

music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Previews from 12 February, press night 22 February, in repertory until 11 May

After a sold-out run, Follies, winner of the 2018 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival and best costume design returns in 2019.

Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical includes such classic songs as ‘Broadway Baby’, ‘I’m Still Here’ and ‘Losing My Mind’.

Featuring a cast of 40 and an orchestra of 21, Follies is directed by Dominic CookeJanie Dee and Peter Forbes return to reprise their roles, Alexander Hanson and Joanna Riding join the cast as Ben and Sally. Cast also includes Julie Armstrong, Lindsay Atherton, Josephine Barstow, Rosanna Bates, Jeremy Batt, Tracie Bennett, Billy Boyle, Kaye Brown, Anouska Eaton, Liz Ewing, Vanessa Fisher, Caroline Fitzgerald, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Bruce Graham, Adrian Grove, Alyn Hawke, Harry Hepple, Aimee Hodnett, Dawn Hope, Liz Izen, Jasmine Kerr, Alison Langer, Felicity Lott, Sarah-Marie Maxwell, Ian McIntosh, Ian McLarnon, Claire Moore, Tom Partridge, Gary Raymond, Michael Remick, Rohan Richards, Lisa Ritchie, Myra Sands, Gemma Sutton, Monica Swayne, Christine Tucker and Liam Wrate.

Designed by Vicki Mortimer, choreography by Bill Deamer, music supervisor Nicholas Skilbeck, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick with Josh Clayton, music director Nigel Lilley, lighting design by Paule Constable and sound design by Paul Groothuis.

Supported by the Follies production syndicate.

Lyttelton Theatre

TARTUFFE

by Molière

in a new version by John Donnelly

Previews from 9 Februarypress night 21 February, in repertoire until 30 April

A ferocious new version of Molière’s comic masterpiece by John Donnelly, directed by Blanche McIntyre (The Writer) who makes her NT debut.

Orgon is the man who has everything. Money, power, a beautiful home and family. But lately he’s been questioning the point of it all. When he invites the irresistible Tartuffe into his seemingly perfect household, the stranger unleashes a whirlwind of deception and seduction that threatens everything.

With Orgon under Tartuffe’s spell, can his family outwit this charismatic trickster? Are Tartuffe’s wild claims truth or fiction? This mysterious stranger may not be quite the villain he appears.

Kevin Doyle as Orgon and Denis O’Hare as Tartuffe are joined by Adeyinka Akinrinade, Kitty Archer, Nathan Armarkwei-Laryea, Fayez Bakhsh, Kathy Kiera Clarke, Hari Dhillon, Matthew Duckett, Susan Engel, Henry Everett, Will Kelly, Geoffrey Lumb, Penelope McGhie, Kevin Murphy, Enyi Okoronkwo, Roisin Rae, Dominik Tiefenthaler and Olivia Williams.

With set and costume design by Robert Jones, lighting design by Oliver Fenwick, composition and sound design by Ben and Max Ringham and physical comedy direction

Toby Park.

Hundreds of £15 tickets for every performance.

TOP GIRLS

by Caryl Churchill

Previews from 26 March, press night 3 April, playing until 22 June with additional

performances to be announced

Marlene is the first woman to head the Top Girls employment agency. But she has no plans to stop there. With Maggie in at Number 10 and a spirit of optimism consuming the country, Marlene knows that the future belongs to women like her.

For the first time, the National Theatre stages Caryl Churchill’s (Far Away, A Number and Escaped Alone) wildly innovative play about a country divided by its own ambitions. Lyndsey Turner (Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, Chimerica) directs.

Cast includes: Lucy Black, Jessica Brindle, Lucy Ellinson, Amanda Hadingue, Liv Hill, Ebony Jonelle, Katherine Kingsley, Wendy Kweh, Amanda Lawrence, Charlotte Lucas, Ashley McGuire, Siobhán Redmond, Ashna Rabheru, Roisin Rae, Nadia Williams and Naomi Yang.

With set design by Ian MacNeil, costume design by Merle Hensel, lighting design by Jack Knowles and sound design by Christopher Shutt. The composer is Cassie Kinoshi.

Dorfman Theatre

DOWNSTATE

a new play by Bruce Norris

a co-production with Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Previews from 12 March, press night 20 March, playing until 27 April

In downstate Illinois, four men convicted of sex crimes against minors share a group home where they live out their lives in the shadow of the offences they committed. A man shows up to confront his childhood abuser – but does he want closure or retribution?

This provocative new play zeroes in on the limits of our compassion and what happens when society deems anyone beyond forgiveness.

By Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of Clybourne Park and The Low Road Bruce Norris and directed by Tony Award-winner Pam MacKinnon.

The American and British cast includes Steppenwolf ensemble members Glenn Davis, K. Todd Freeman, Francis Guinan and Tim Hopper, together withAimee Lou Wood, Cecilia Noble, Eddie Torres and Matilda Ziegler.

With scenic design by Todd Rosenthal, costume design by Clint Ramos, lighting design by Adam Silverman and sound design by Carolyn Downing.

The New American Work Programme is supported by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Lawton W Fitt & James I McLaren Foundation and Kathleen J Yoh.

WHEN WE HAVE SUFFICIENTLY TORTURED EACH OTHER

12 Variations on Samuel Richardson’s Pamela

a new play by Martin Crimp

Press night on 23 January, playing until 2 March

A new play by Martin Crimp (Attempts on Her Life, In the Republic of Happiness). Directed by Katie Mitchell (Waves, Cleansed) with a cast including Cate Blanchettwho makes her National Theatre debut alongside Stephen Dillane returning to the National Theatre for the first time since The Coast of Utopiain 2002.

Martin Crimp’s play breaks through the surface of contemporary debate to explore the messy, often violent nature of desire, and the fluid, complicated roles that men and women play.

Using Richardson’s novel as a provocation, six characters act out a dangerous game of sexual domination and resistance.

The cast also includes Babirye Bukilwa, Jessica Gunning, Emma Hindle and Craig Miller.

With set design by Vicki Mortimer, costume design by Sussie Juhlin-Wallén, lighting design by James Farncombe, sound design and composition byMelanie Wilson, composition of song (Scene IX) by Roald van Oosten and fight direction by Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown of Rc-Annie Ltd.

A limited number of Day Tickets for £18/£15 are available in person on the day of the performance.

In the West End

NINE NIGHT

a new play by Natasha Gordon

Trafalgar Studios

until 23 February

Natasha Gordon’s critically acclaimed debut play, Nine Night, is now playing at Trafalgar Studios in a co-production with Trafalgar Theatre Productions until 23 February.

Directed by Roy Alexander Weise (The Mountaintop), Nine Night is a touching and exuberantly funny exploration of the rituals of family. Gloria is gravely sick. When her time comes, the celebration begins; the traditional Jamaican Nine Night Wake. But for Gloria’s children and grandchildren, marking her death with a party that lasts over a week is a test. Nine rum-fuelled nights of music, food, storytelling and laughter – and an endless parade of mourners.

The cast includes Oliver Alvin-WilsonKarl CollinsNatasha Gordon, Michelle GreenidgeJade Hackett, Adele James, Hattie Ladbury, Kevin Mathurin, Rebekah Murrell, Cecilia Noble and Rebecca Todd.

The production is designed by Rajha Shakiry, with lighting design by Paule Constable, sound design by George Dennis, movement direction by Shelley Maxwell, fight direction by Bret Yount, company voice work and dialect coaching by Hazel Holder. The Resident Director is Jade Lewis.

HOME, I’M DARLING

a new play by Laura Wade

a co-production with Theatre Clwyd and Fiery Angel

Duke of York’s Theatre

26 January – 13 April, opening night 5 February

Following a sold-out run at the National Theatre, Laura Wade’s new play transfers to the West End for 11 weeks only. Home, I’m Darling begins performances at the Duke of York’s Theatre on 26 January, with an opening night on Tuesday 5 February. The production will then tour to the Theatre RoyalBath, and The Lowry, Salford, before returning to Theatr Clwyd following a sold-out run in July 2018.

Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd, Humans) reprises her acclaimed role as Judy in Laura Wade’s fizzing comedy about one woman’s quest to be the perfect 1950’s housewife. She is joined by Sara Gregory as Alex and Richard Harrington as Johnny (for the West End run, with tour casting for the role of Johnny to be announced), reprising the roles they played at Theatr Clwyd and the National Theatre in 2018. Charlie Allen, Susan BrownEllie Burrow,Siubhan HarrisonJane MacFarlane and Hywel Morgan complete the cast.

The set and costume designer is Anna Fleischle, with lighting design by Lucy Carter, sound design by Tom Gibbons, choreography by Charlotte Broom, associate lighting design by Sean Gleason, and Hannah Noone as Resident Director.

Home, I’m Darling in the West End is supported by American Express, the National Theatre’s preferred Card Partner.

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME

based on the novel by Mark Haddon

adapted by Simon Stephens

Piccadilly Theatre

until 27 April

The internationally acclaimed smash-hit National Theatre production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is now playing for a strictly limited run at the Piccadilly theatre until 27 April.

Winner of seven Olivier Awards and five Tony Awards including ‘Best Play’ The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is adapted by Simon Stephens from Mark Haddon’s best-selling book, and directed by Marianne Elliott.

The production is designed by Bunny Christie, with lighting design by Paule Constable, video design by Finn Ross, movement by Scott Graham andSteven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Ian Dickinson for Autograph. The Associate Director is Katy Rudd, the Resident Director is Kim Pierce.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in the West End is supported by American Express, the National Theatre’s preferred Card Partner.

For more information, visit www.curiousonstage.com

THE LEHMAN TRILOGY

by Stefano Massini

adapted by Ben Power

a co-production with Neal Street Productions

Piccadilly Theatre

From 11 May, opening night 22 May

Following a sold-out run at the National Theatre, this acclaimed co-production with Neal Street Productions transfers to the Piccadilly Theatre in May.

The story of a family and a company that changed the world, told in three parts on a single evening. Sam Mendes directs Simon Russell BealeAdam Godley and Ben Miles who play the Lehman brothers, their sons and grandsons.

On a cold September morning in 1844 a young man from Bavaria stands on a New York dockside. Dreaming of a new life in the new world. He is joined by his two brothers and an American epic begins.163 years later, the firm they establish – Lehman Brothers – spectacularly collapses into bankruptcy, and triggers the largest financial crisis in history.

The set designer is Es Devlin, video designer is Luke Halls, costume designer is Katrina Lindsay, lighting designer is Jon Clark, composer and sound designer is Nick Powell, music director is Candida Caldicot, with movement by Polly Bennett. The Associate Director is Zoe Ford Burnett.

Media Sponsors of The Lehman Trilogy: Wall Street Journal and Financial News.

National Theatre on tour

WAR HORSE

based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford

presented in association with the award-winning Handspring Puppet Company

Having visited 11 countries around the world and playing to nearly 8 million people over the past 11 years, including a recent sold-out return to the National Theatre, the NT’s acclaimed play War Horse is now on a UK and international tour throughout 2019.

As part of the tour, War Horse will return to London for a strictly limited run at an exciting new venue Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, located steps away from Wembley Stadium from 18 October – 23 November.

Troubadour Theatres, who specialise in the creation of temporary and semi-permanent theatre venues including Kings Cross Theatre, will open Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre this summer. The six week run of War Horse will include a programme of activity which engages with schools and the local community in Brent in the lead up to the yearlong Brent Borough of Culture collaborative project in 2020.

War Horse will also tour to Glasgow SEC (until 2 February); Sunderland Empire (6 – 23 February), Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (27 February – 16 March), Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent (27 March – 6 April), Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin (10 – 27 April), Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong (from 10 May), Civic Theatre, Auckland (from 21 June), Liverpool Empire Theatre (31 July – 17 August), New Theatre, Oxford (22 August – 7 September) andCurve, Leicester (18 September – 12 October), with further international dates to be announced.

War Horse is directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, designed by Rae Smith, with puppet direction, design and fabrication by Basil Jones andAdrian Kohler for Handspring Puppet Company, lighting by Paule Constable, and movement and horse choreography by Toby Sedgwick, with video design by Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer for 59 Productions, songmaker John Tams, music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Christopher Shutt.

Katie Henry is the UK & International Tour Director and Craig Leo is the Associate Puppetry Director. Charlotte Peters is the Associate Director andMatthew Forbes is the Associate Puppetry Director. They are joined by Resident Director, Charlie Kenber and Resident Puppetry Director, Gareth Aled.

War Horse is produced on tour by the National Theatre.

For more information, visit warhorseonstage.com

War Horse at Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre is supported by American Express, the National Theatre’s preferred Card Partner.

 

MACBETH
by William Shakespeare

Macbeth continues its 18-venue tour of the UK and Ireland until March. Directed by Rufus Norris with set designs by Rae Smith, this epic new production propels Shakespeare’s classic title into a post-apocalyptic world of anarchy and uncertainty.

The tour will continue at the following venues: Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin (until 19 January); Theatre Royal, Nottingham (22 – 26 January); New Theatre, Hull (5 – 9 February); Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (12 – 16 February); Theatre Royal, Glasgow (19 – 23 February); Mayflower Theatre, Southampton (26 February – 2 March); Grand Opera House, Belfast (5 – 9 March); Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton (12 – 16 March); and Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff (19 – 23 March).

Set design is by Rae Smith, costume design by Moritz Junge, tour lighting design by Paul Pyant, music by Orlando Gough and Marc Tritschler, sound design by Paul Arditti, tour movement direction by Cydney Uffindell-Phillips, with original movement direction by Imogen Knight.  The associate Director is Liz Stevenson, associate set design by Aaron Marsden, associate tour lighting design by Ed Locke, associate sound design by Mike Winship. Fight direction by Kev McCurdy and company voice by Jeannette Nelson.

Macbeth is produced on tour by the National Theatre.

Macbeth on tour in partnership with Lloyds Bank Private Banking. Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England’s cross-border touring programme, The Thompson Family Charitable Trust, Jacqueline & Richard Worswick and The Royal National Theatre Foundation.

 

BARBER SHOP CHRONICLES

by Inua Ellams

a National Theatre, Fuel and Leeds Playhouse co-production in association with the Roundhouse
18 July – 24 August, with an opening night on 22 July

Following two sell-out runs at the National Theatre and a world tour, Inua Ellams’ acclaimed Barber Shop Chronicles returns to London this summer for strictly-limited season at the Roundhouse, London’s most iconic in-the-round performance space.

Newsroom, political platform, local hotspot, confession box, preacher-pulpit and football stadium. For generations, African men have gathered in barber shops to discuss the world. These are places where the banter can be barbed and the truth is always telling.

Directed by Bijan Sheibani and designed by Rae SmithBarber Shop Chronicles is a heart-warming, hilarious and insightful new play, that leaps from barber shop in Peckham to Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos, and Accra over the course of a single day.

Barber Shop Chronicles will also visit the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester (12 -23 March); Curve, Leicester (3 – 6 April); Bristol Old Vic (2 – 18 May); Sheffield Crucible (22 May – 1 June). Casting to be announced.

Barber Shop Chronicles features lighting design by Jack Knowles, movement direction by Aline David and sound design by Gareth Fry.

Co-commissioned by Fuel and the National Theatre. Development funded by Arts Council England with the support of Fuel, National Theatre, Leeds Playhouse, The Binks Trust, British Council ZA, Òran Mór and A Play, a Pie and a Pint.

The tour has received National Lottery funding through Arts Council England’s Project Grants programme.

Barbershop Chronicles at the Roundhouse is supported by American Express, the National Theatre’s preferred Card Partner.

 

International

Following its sold-out run at the National Theatre, Network continues its run on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre, now extended due to demand until 28 April. Based on the Paddy Chayefsky Academy Award-winning film, writer Lee Hall and director Ivo van Hove bring his masterwork to Broadway with Olivier Award-winning Bryan Cranston as Howard Beale. Production supported by Northern Trust and by Marcia Grand in memory of Richard Grand.

The Lehman Trilogy opens in New York at the Park Avenue Armory on 22 March running until 20 April, before returning to London for its run at the Piccadilly Theatre in May. Adam GodleyBen Miles, and Simon Russell Beale reprise their critically acclaimed portrayals of the Lehman brothers, their sons, and grandsons spanning nearly two centuries and told in three parts on a single evening, directed by Sam Mendes.

Hadestown, the acclaimed new musical by Anaïs Mitchell, developed with and directed by Rachel Chavkin, heads to Broadway this Spring, opening at the Walter Kerr Theatre, New York, on 22 March.

After acclaimed runs in New York and London, the West Coast Premiere of the Good Chance Theatre, National Theatre and Young Vic production of The Jungle by Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, will take place at San Francisco’s Curran this spring.

 

Learning

Justin Audibert’s production of The Winter’s Tale for primary schools returns to the Dorfman Theatre from 6 to 21 February, following a run of performances at Stratford Circus Arts Centre where every Year 6 pupil in Newham will have the opportunity to see the production as part of the Every Child a Theatre-goer programme in partnership with London Borough of Newham. The production will then tour to Greater London primary schools. This exciting new version of the play, adapted by Justin and directed by Ruth Mary Johnson, is the perfect introduction to Shakespeare for younger audiences.

Set and costume designed by Lucy Sierra, with music design by Jonathan Girling, lighting design by Paul Knott and sound design by Mike Winship, puppetry is designed by Sam Wyer, movement is by Lucy Cullingford and Maria Clarke.

The cast includes Joseph AdelakunEbony FeareTom GilesTerique JarrettChristina ModestouAisha ToussaintWreh-asha Walton and Stanton Wright.

The National Theatre’s Partner for Learning is Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Primary schools touring is supported by: The Mohn Westlake Foundation, The Ingram Trust, Archie Sherman Charitable Trust, The Behrens Foundation, Cleopatra Trust, Allan & Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust, Jill and David Leuw, Mulberry Trust, Newcomen Collett Foundation, The Royal Victoria Hall Foundation, St Olave’s Foundation Fund, The Topinambour Trust and The Winter’s Tale Appeal.

 

National Theatre Live

David Hare’s new political drama I’m Not Running directed by Neil Armfield with Siân Brooke, Josh McGuire and Alex Hassell will be broadcast live from the Lyttelton Theatre on 31 January.

Arthur Miller’s classic family drama All My Sons with Sally Field, Bill Pullman, Jenna Coleman and Colin Morgan, directed by Jeremy Herrin, will be broadcast live on Tuesday 14 May from the Old Vic.

Small Island, an adaptation by Helen Edmundson from Andrea Levy’s Orange Prize-winning best-selling novel, will be broadcast on 27 June. Directed byRufus Norris.

Sky Arts is the sponsor of NT Live in the UK.

The Duchess of Sussex announced as new Royal Patron of the National Theatre

National Theatre

The National Theatre has announced that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex has become its Royal Patron. The patronage reflects Her Royal Highness’s belief in using the arts to bring people from different backgrounds and communities together.

Her Majesty The Queen has passed on the Royal Patronage to The Duchess of Sussex having held the role for the last 45 years and has been associated with the organisation since its earliest days at the Old Vic in the 1960s.  Her Majesty last visited the National Theatre in 2013, as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, where she officially opened the building after major redevelopment and watched some rehearsals before being reunited with Joey from War Horse.

The Duchess has spent decades championing the arts and feels that she can use her position to focus attention on and make a particular difference to the sector. Whilst Her Royal Highness spent ten years working in television, her training is in theatre. As well as a double major in theatre and international relations from Northwestern University, which is renowned for its drama programme, Her Royal Highness volunteered at a performing arts after school programme for children in underprivileged school districts in Los Angeles.

Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre said: “I would like to thank The Queen for Her Majesty’s long and unwavering support and service to the National Theatre. We were honoured when The Queen became our Patron in 1974 and have celebrated many moments together including, in recent years, the Diamond Jubilee and the marking of our 50th anniversary. It is a privilege to welcome The Duchess of Sussex as our new Patron. The Duchess shares our deeply-held conviction that theatre has the power to bring together people from all communities and walks of life. I very much look forward to working closely with Her Royal Highness in the years to come”.

Her Royal Highness met with Rufus Norris last year and conducted a private visit to the theatre. The Duchess is expected to carry out a public visit to the NT in the coming weeks