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Full casting announced for the world premiere of Mosquitoes at the National Theatre

Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes

Alice is a scientist. She lives in Geneva. As the Large Hadron particle collider starts up in 2008, she is on the brink of the most exciting work of her life, searching for the Higgs Boson.  Jenny is her sister. She lives in Luton. She spends a lot of time Googling.  When tragedy throws them together, the collision threatens all with chaos.

Mosquitoes by Lucy Kirkwood will have its world premiere in the Dorfman Theatre in July with Rufus Norris directing. The cast is Amanda Boxer, Olivia Colman (Jenny), Cait Davis, Vanessa Emme, Yoli Fuller, Paul Hilton, Joseph Quinn, Sofia Stuart and Olivia Williams (Alice).  Designed by Katrina Lindsay, lighting design by Paule Constable, music by Adam Cork, sound design by Paul Arditti and video design by Finn Ross & Ian William Galloway.

MOSQUITOES by Lucy Kirkwood                                                                           

Directed by Rufus Norris

Dorfman Theatre

Previews from 18 July, press night 25 July, final performance 28 September.

Related talks and events:

Semiconductor – creating scientific art Fri 21 July, 6pm
Lucy Kirkwood and Rufus Norris Thu 7 Sep, 6pm

On Screen: Particle Fever Mon 11 Sep, 5.30pm
Designing Mosquitoes Mon 25 Sep, 10.30am
Making Mosquitoes with designer Katrina Lindsay Mon 25 Sep, 5.45pm

Oslo wins ‘Best Play’ at the 2017 Tony Awards

Oslo
Oslo

Oslo

The Lincoln Center Theater’s critically acclaimed production of OSLO, a gripping new play by J T Rogers, directed by Bartlett Sher, was awarded ‘Best Play’ at last night’s 2017 Tony Awards ® in New York.

Winner of every ‘Best Play’ award on Broadway this season, this joins the Best Play awards already given by New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle , Drama League, Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards.
Oslo will have its UK premiere at the NT’s Lyttelton Theatre from 5 – 23 September (limited ticket availability) and transfers to the Harold Pinter Theatre in London’s West End from 30 September to 30 December 2017 in association with ATG.

In 1993, in front of the world’s press, the leaders of Israel and Palestine shook hands on the lawn of the White House.  Few watching would have guessed that the negotiations leading up to this iconic moment started secretly in a castle in the middle of a forest outside Oslo.

Oslo tells the true story of how one young couple, Norwegian diplomat Mona Juul and her husband, social scientist Terje Rød-Larsen planned and orchestrated top-secret, high-level meetings between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which culminated in the signing of the historic 1993 Oslo Accords.  Featuring dozens of characters and set in locations across the globe, Oslo is both a political thriller and the personal story of a small band of women and men struggling together – and fighting each other – as they seek to change the world(Mona Juul is currently the Norwegian Ambassador to the UK – the first woman to occupy the role)

NT Director Rufus Norris said: ‘The National Theatre is privileged to have the opportunity to present Lincoln Center Theater’s production of J T Rogers’ extraordinary play, told with passion and humour, about a significant period in our recent political history.  We are delighted to be able to share it with our audiences here at the National Theatre on the South Bank, and in the West End.’

Director Bartlett Sher added:  ‘Oslo is an exploration of the power of responsible political discourse.  As theatre, it brings impossible foes into direct contact with very high stakes.  And as a history play, it gave us a chance to explore an important conflict between Israel and Palestine.  We can’t imagine a better place to engage in this conversation than the National Theatre.’

Playwright JT Rodgers said: ‘I’m thrilled to return again to the National Theatre, which launched my playwriting career. It’s a privilege to be bringing Oslo to this powerhouse of UK creativity, and direct into London’s West End.’

Oslo is written by J T Rogers and directed by Bartlett Sher, with sets by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting by Donald Holder, sound by Peter John Still and projections by 59 Productions.

JT Rogers’ previous plays for the National Theatre are: Blood and Gifts, which premiered at the Lyttelton Theatre in 2010 and The Overwhelming, a co-production between the National Theatre and Out of Joint.  His other plays include Madagascar (Theatre503 in London and Melbourne Theatre Company) and White People (Off-Broadway; Starry Night Productions). He was one of the authors of the Olivier nominated The Great Game: Afghanistan at the Tricycle Theatre. His plays have been seen across the U.S., and in Canada, Germany and Israel.

Bartlett Sher’s makes his directorial debut for the National Theatre with Oslo.  His previous work in the UK includes Women on the verge of a Breakdown at the Playhouse in 2015, Two Boys for the ENO and South Pacific for the Barbican in 2011 and TFANA’s Cymbeline, at the RSC’s The Other Place in 2001.  His previous work for Lincoln Center Theater includes:  The King and I, Golden Boy, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Awake and Sing!, The Light in the Piazza (Tony nominations); South Pacific (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle awards; also London, Australia); Blood and Gifts; Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (London). Broadway: Fiddler on the Roof (Broadway Theatre), The Bridges of Madison County (Schoenfeld). Off-Broadway: Prayer for My Enemy (Playwrights Horizons), Waste (Best Play Obie Award), Don Juan, Pericles (TFANA, BAM). Upcoming productions include Adam Guettel’s new musical Millions and My Fair Lady for LCT.

The New York press on Oslo at the Lincoln Center Theater:

Crackling theater.  A vivid, thoughtful and astonishingly lucid account of a byzantine chapter in international poltics.’  – Ben Brantley, New York Times

‘A fascinating true story.  This riveting production is alive with intrigue, humor, and bristling intelligence.’  – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

Oslo is produced in association with Ambassador Theatre Group  / Scott Delman.

OSLO Listings Information

National Theatre, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PX

Dates:  5 – 26 September 2017

Performances:            Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday at 2.00pm

There will be a Platform event with Mona Juul, Mona Juul and the Oslo Accords in the Lyttleton Theatre on 15 September at 6pm.

Harold Pinter Theatre, Panton St, London SW1Y 4DN

Dates:  30 September – 30 December 2017

Performances: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday at 2.00pm

Tickets for the National Theatre performances can be purchased from the NT Box Office.

Tickets for the Harold Pinter Theatre performances can be purchased from the NT and Harold Pinter box offices.

Box Office Information

National Theatre Box Office:

Tickets from £15

Tickets and access bookings:  020 7452 3000

Groups: 020 7452 3010 Option 2 (for NT performances)

Groups: 020 7452 3010 Option 1 (for West End performances)

Online at www.nationaltheatre.org.uk    

(National Theatre: No fee for online bookings; A £2.50 transaction fee applies to individual tickets purchased by phone.)

Harold Pinter Theatre Box Office

Tickets from £18

Tickets:  0845 871 7615 (calls cost 7p per minute) *

Access: 0800 912 6971

Groups: http://www.atgtickets.com/group-bookings-enquiry-form/

Website: OsloThePlay.com

Bookings made online or over the phone are subject to a £3.50 fee.

#OsloPlay

@OsloPlay 

Will Young and Louise Redknapp lead the cast in Rufus Norris’ production of CABARET – UK tour this autumn

Will Young Photo by Cameron NcNee
Will Young Photo by Cameron NcNee

Will Young Photo by Cameron NcNee

Internationally renowned singer/songwriter, Will Young, reprises his Olivier Award-nominated performance as the enigmatic Emcee alongside musician and presenter Louise Redknapp, who makes her stage debut as Sally Bowles in Rufus Norris’ multi-award winning production of CABARET.

Cabaret will embark on a UK tour this autumn, opening at the New Wimbledon Theatre on Thursday 21st September 2017 and playing theatres in Blackpool, Cardiff, Leeds, Milton Keynes, Salford, Edinburgh, Bromley and Brighton.

Ever since winning the inaugural series of Pop Idol in 2001, WILL YOUNG has been one of the UK’s most popular and successful music artists. He holds the record for the fastest selling debut single in British chart history, and has enjoyed a phenomenal career in music with four No1 albums, as well as acting alongside Dame Judi Dench in the film Mrs Henderson Presents. Will made his West End debut in Cabaret and will be reprising his award winning performance.

Louise Redknapp

Louise Redknapp

LOUISE REDKNAPP rose to fame as a member of the girl group Eternal. She left the band to carve out a successful solo career achieving an impressive twelve Top 20 singles, including the hits Nakedand Stuck in the Middle and selling over 5 million records with 5 albums. Since then she has rarely left our television screens and most recently wowed the nation with her dancing skills finishing ‘runner up’ in the 2016 series of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing.

CABARET features show-stopping choreography, dazzling costumes and some of the most iconic songs in musical theatre including ‘Money Makes The World Go Round’, ‘Two Ladies’ ‘Maybe This Time’ and of course ‘Cabaret’. The production turns Weimar Berlin of 1931 into a sassy, sizzling haven of decadence, and at its dark heart is the legendary and notorious Emcee, who performs nightly at the infamous Kit Kat Klub.

Since its Broadway premiere in 1966 and the famous movie version with Liza Minnelli and Oscar winner Joel Grey, CABARET has won a staggering number of stage and screen awards including 8 Oscar’s, 7 BAFTA’s and 13 Tony’s. Norris’ production has enjoyed two smash hit West End runs and has picked up 2 Olivier Awards.

Rufus Norris is Director of the National Theatre and a multi-award winning theatre and opera director. For the National Theatre, he has directed The Threepenny Opera, wonder.land, Everyman, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, The Amen Corner, Table, London Road (Critics Circle Award), Death and the King’s Horseman, Market Boy. Other theatre includes Vernon God Little (Young Vic), Les Liasons Dangerouses (Broadway – five Tony Award nominations), Festen (West End and Broadway) The Country Girl (Apollo) and Afore Night Came at the Young Vic (Evening Standard Award). Film credits include London Road and Broken.

Choreography is by the Olivier Award-winning Javier De Frutos. In 1990, he formed The Javier De Frutos Dance Company. His work includes The Hypochondriac Bird and Affliction of Loneliness.Recently he joined forces with Sadler’s Wells and The Pet Shop Boys to create a brand new dance work based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story, The Most Incredible Thing.

Cabaret will play at the New Theatre Wimbledon, Blackpool Opera House, Cardiff New Theatre, Leeds Grand Theatre, Milton Keynes Theatre, The Lowry in Salford, Edinburgh Playhouse, Churchill Theatre Bromley and Brighton Theatre Royal.

CABARET – TOUR DATES 2017

 Thursday 21 – 30 September                                                Box Office: 0844 871 7646

New Wimbledon Theatre                                                      Website: ATGTICKETS.COM/Wimbledon

 Tuesday 3 – 7 October                                                            Box Office: 0844 856 1111

Blackpool Opera House                                                          Website: wgbpl.co.uk                                     

 Tuesday 17 – 21 October                                                       Box Office: 029 2087 8889

Cardiff New Theatre                                                              Website: newtheatrecardiff.co.uk

Tuesday 24 – 28 October                                                       Box Office:  0844 848 2700

Leeds Grand Theatre                                                             Website: leedsgrandtheatre.com

Tuesday 31 October – 4 November                                      Box Office: 0844 871 7652

Milton Keynes Theatre                                                          Website: ATGTICKETS.COM/MiltonKeynes  

Tuesday 7 – 11 November                                                     Box Office: 0843 208 6000

Salford, The Lowry                                                                 Website: thelowry.com  

Tuesday 14 – 18 November                                                   Box Office:  0844 871 3014

Edinburgh Playhouse                                                             Website: ATGTICKETS.COM/Edinburgh

Tuesday 21 – 25 November                                                   Box Office: 020 3285 6000

Churchill Theatre Bromley                                                    Website: churchilltheatre.co.uk

Tuesday 5 – 9 December                                                       Box Office:  0844 871 7650

Brighton Theatre Royal                                                         Website: ATGTICKETS.COM/Brighton

 

National Theatre launches new podcast series

National Theatre Podcast
National Theatre Podcast

National Theatre Podcast

The National Theatre today launches the first episode in a 10 part podcast series.

This new podcast series seeks to interact with the social and cultural questions of our time, using theatre as a springboard for discussion and debate. Each podcast is focused on the productions, creations, people and stories that make up the National Theatre today, delving into the medium of theatre and exploring its purpose in the world. The series is available free from the NT website and on iTunes.

The NT’s inaugural podcast asks ‘How can theatre respond to Brexit?’ This episode goes behind the scenes to look at the development and staging of Rufus Norris’s latest verbatim production, My Country; a work in progress. The episode unlocks the approach to this first-of-its kind listening project; the gatherers who collated the verbatim material post-referendum and the reaction from audiences in a post-Brexit landscape. Ed Miliband MP shares his thoughts on My Country; a work in progress and discusses the divisions in the country following the referendum vote, seeking answers on what Britain’s future will be after Brexit.

Emma Keith, Head of Broadcast at the National Theatre, said: “The NT continuously seeks to open up theatre and its processes and ensure we are as accessible as possible to audiences globally.  The NT’s podcast series is a further opportunity to explore theatre through a platform that can be freely accessed by anyone, wherever they are in the world. Our stages are filled with work that reflects today’s society, and the NT podcast series is an opportunity to deepen audiences’ relationship with that work and start a discussion that explores how the arts intersect with the issues that affect all of us, across the UK and around the world.”

Commenting on the production My Country; a work in progress and the NT podcast, Ed Miliband said: “My Country was a fantastic play and I would encourage the whole country to go and see it. It expertly and movingly allowed the audience to understand the motivations and concerns of both remainers and leavers, no matter which side of the divide they were on. The NT podcast is a great way of going beyond the theatre’s walls to speak to the country. Art plays such an important role in reflecting our society and helping to educate and understand the world we live in. I am sure the series will be a resounding success.”

The NT’s second podcast, to be released on 2nd June, investigates the work of the Synergy Theatre project. Synergy has been renowned in the UK for effectively using theatre to rehabilitate prisoners and ex-offenders, using the transformative nature of the arts to embed meaningful change in people’s lives. In this episode, we hear directly from Synergy’s team and ex-offenders they’ve worked with to understand the value of the arts in the criminal justice system.

In episode three, Dame Harriet Walter reflects on her career frequently playing men on stage and reinventing traditional male roles as women. The podcast investigates the rise in gender-fluid casting in mainstream theatre, and takes a look at the rise of powerful women on the political stage to understand how womanhood is performed in theatre today.

It’s often the pinnacle of an actor’s career, but where can you go after playing King Lear? In episode four we hear from Lears past and present to see what one of the greatest stage roles of all time tells us about the complex relationship between acting and ageing.

Following the NT’s 25-year anniversary production of Angels in America, episode five of the podcast series explores the history of LGBTQ+ stories on stage. The podcast explores the views of leading theatre-makers and explores what has – and hasn’t – changed in that important time.

Future episodes look at public art and performance, theatre for young people, the relationship between actor and audience, and how productions recover from the unexpected live on stage.

The episodes will be released regularly and available at: nationaltheatre.org.uk/podcast

Subscribe now via iTunes

Join the conversation with #NTpodcast

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The UK Premiere of Oslo, The Lincoln Center Theater Production opens at the National Theatre before transferring to the Harold Pinter Theatre, in London’s West End

Oslo
Bartlett Sher

Bartlett Sher

Having this week been nominated for a total of 7 TONY Awards including ‘Best Play’ and ‘Best Director’ adding to the ‘Best Play’ nominations by the Drama League Awards, Drama Desk Awards and Outer Critics Circle Awards, public booking opens today for OSLO.

The Lincoln Center Theater’s acclaimed production of a gripping new play by J.T. Rogers, directed by Bartlett Sher has its UK premiere at the National Theatre in September prior to a West End run at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

OSLO has a strictly limited run at the NT’s Lyttelton Theatre from 5 to 23 September, and will transfer to the Harold Pinter Theatre from 30 September to 30 December in association with ATG.  Press night 12 September at the National Theatre.

OSLO tells the true story of how one young couple, Norwegian diplomat Mona Juul and her husband, social scientist Terje Rød-Larsen planned and orchestrated top-secret, high-level meetings between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which culminated in the signing of the historic 1993 Oslo Accords.  Featuring dozens of characters and set in locations across the globe, Oslo is both a political thriller and the personal story of a small band of women and men struggling together – and fighting each other – as they seek to change the world.

J.T. Rogers

J.T. Rogers © Rebecca Ashley

NT Director Rufus Norris said: ‘The National Theatre is privileged to have the opportunity to present Lincoln Center Theater’s production of J.T. Rogers’ extraordinary play, told with passion and humour, about a significant period in our recent political history.  We are delighted to be able to share it with our audiences here at the National Theatre on the South Bank, and in the West End.’

Director Bartlett Sher added:  ‘Oslo is an exploration of the power of responsible political discourse.  As theatre, it brings impossible foes into direct contact with very high stakes.  And as a history play, it gave us a chance to explore an important conflict between Israel and Palestine.  We can’t imagine a better place to engage in this conversation than the National Theatre.’

Playwright J.T. Rogers said: ‘I’m thrilled to return again to the National Theatre, which launched my playwriting career. It’s a privilege to be bringing OSLO to this powerhouse of UK creativity, and direct into London’s West End.’

Lincoln Center Theater’s world premiere production of OSLO played to sell-out houses at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in New York in 2016, and is currently running on Broadway at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater.

OSLO is written by J.T. Rogers and directed by Bartlett Sher, with sets by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting by Donald Holder, sound byPeter John Still and projections by 59 Productions.

J.T. Rogers’ previous plays for the NT are: Blood and Gifts, which premiered at the Lyttelton Theatre in 2010 and The Overwhelming, a co-production between the National Theatre and Out of Joint.  His other plays include Madagascar (Theatre503 in London and Melbourne Theatre Company) and White People (Off-Broadway; Starry Night Productions). He was one of the authors of the Olivier nominated The Great Game: Afghanistan at the Tricycle Theatre. His plays have been seen across the U.S., and in Canada, Germany and Israel.

Bartlett Sher makes his directorial debut for the NT with OSLO.  His previous work in the UK includes Women on the verge of a Breakdown at the Playhouse in 2015, Two Boys for the ENO and South Pacific for the Barbican in 2011 and TFANA’s Cymbeline, at the RSC’s The Other Place in 2001.  His previous work for Lincoln Center Theater includes:  The King and I, Golden Boy, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Awake and Sing!, The Light in the Piazza (Tony nominations); South Pacific (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle awards; also London, Australia); Blood and Gifts; Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (London). Broadway: Fiddler on the Roof (Broadway Theatre), The Bridges of Madison County (Schoenfeld). Off-Broadway: Prayer for My Enemy (Playwrights Horizons), Waste (Best Play Obie Award), Don Juan, Pericles (TFANA, BAM). Upcoming productions include Adam Guettel’s new musical Millions and My Fair Lady for LCT.

New York press on OSLO at the Lincoln Center Theater:

‘Can we make peace with enemies?  Oslo gives us hope.’  –  Daily News

‘Hands down the best new play of the season.’  – The Washington Post

‘A fascinating true story.  This riveting production is alive with intrigue, humor, and bristling intelligence.’  – The Hollywood Reporter

A big play, as expansive and ambitious as any in recent Broadway history.’ – New York Times

OSLO Listings Information

National Theatre, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PX

Dates:  5 – 23 September 2017

Performances: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday at 2.00pm

 

Harold Pinter Theatre, Panton St, London SW1Y 4DN

Dates:  30 September – 30 December 2017

Performances: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday at 2.00pm

Tickets for the National Theatre performances can be purchased from the NT Box Office.

Tickets for the Harold Pinter Theatre performances can be purchased from the NT and Harold Pinter box offices.

 

Box Office Information

National Theatre Box Office:

Tickets from £15

Tickets and access bookings:  020 7452 3000

Groups: 020 7452 3010 Option 2 (for NT performances)

Groups: 020 7452 3010 Option 1 (for West End performances)

Online at www.nationaltheatre.org.uk    

(National Theatre: No fee for online bookings; A £2.50 transaction fee applies to individual tickets purchased by phone.)

 

Harold Pinter Theatre Box Office

Tickets from £18

Tickets:  0845 871 7615 (calls cost 7p per minute) *

Access: 0800 912 6971

Groups: http://www.atgtickets.com/group-bookings-enquiry-form/

Website: OsloThePlay.com

Bookings made online or over the phone are subject to a £3.50 fee.

Home presents the National Theatre’s My Country; A Work in Progress, directed by Rufus Norris, in the words of people across the UK and Poet Carol Ann Duffy

My Country a work in progress
My Country a work in progress

My Country a work in progress

★★★★★ “My Country therapeutically unkinks your brain and lets you hear at the end a more reverberant and ionised silent. It’s a political intervention; not a retreat into aesthetics. Roll on the next instalment.” – The Independent

★★★★ “Compassionate, funny, and insightful.” – What’s On Stage

The National Theatre has collaborated with eight UK arts organisations to create a new play inspired by the recent EU Referendum, presented on stage at HOME as part of a UK tour following its current run at the NT’s Dorfman Theatre in London.

Rufus Norris and Carol Ann Duffy

Rufus Norris and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy

In the days following the Brexit vote, a team of interviewers spoke to people around the country – from Leicester to Derry/Londonderry and Merthyr Tydfil to Glasgow, aged 9 to 87, to hear their views. In a series of interviews, they heard opinions that were honest, emotional, funny and sometimes extreme.  These testimonials are interwoven with speeches from political leaders to create a new play by Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate, and directed by National Theatre Artistic Director Rufus Norris.

Britannia (played by Penny Layden) calls a meeting to listen to her people:  Caledonia (played by Stuart McQuarrie),  Cymru (played by Christian Patterson), East Midlands (played by Seema Bowri), North East (played by Laura Elphinstone),  Northern Ireland (played by Cavan Clarke), and South West (played by Adam Ewan).

Artistic Director of the National Theatre, Rufus Norris, said: “One of my ambitions for the National Theatre is to make it truly national and through collaboration, embrace the creativity and opinion around the UK.  The Brexit vote unleashed a host of questions about our country, way beyond the issue of Britain’s role in Europe. It articulated a deep disaffection.  Those elements provoked a need and opportunity to create a piece of theatre that responds to that palpable sense of frustration and disillusionment.  Art has always responded to what is happening now and it’s what I hope we achieve with My Country.”

Walter Meierjohann, Artistic Director: Theatre, HOME, commented: “As someone who was born on the Continent and lived the majority of his life there, I was incredibly disappointed by the outcome of the referendum last June. I was delighted, however, how Rufus Norris and the National Theatre responded artistically – by actually creating a piece of theatre which listened to the voices of people from all around England. I am very proud to present My Country here at HOME – and I am sure that the play will initiate debate amongst audiences, something which is very much needed.”

HOME’s previous collaborations with the National Theatre includes the world premiere of A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer, a Complicite Associates and National Theatre co-production in association with HOME, directed by Bryony Kimmings (September 2016). HOME have also been asked to curate a weekend of the National Theatre’s free outdoorRiver Stage festival between 4-6 August; and following a critically acclaimed, sold-out season at the National Theatre and in London’s West End, HOME will present Duncan Macmillan’s People, Places & Things this September.

My Country: a work in progress is created in collaboration with; Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, Curve, Leicester, Derry Playhouse, Live Theatre, National Theatre Wales, Sage Gateshead, Salisbury Playhouse and Strike A Light Festival in association with Cusack Projects Limited.

My Country; a work in progress: Performance Calendar

Tue 18 Apr                 19:30
Wed 19 Apr               14:00 / 19:30

Thu 20 Apr                 19:30
Fri 21 Apr                    19:30

Sat 22 Apr                  14:00 / 19:30

Tickets
£24.00 – £10.00 (conc. available)

@home_mcr

#My Country

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National Theatre gala raises over £1 million to fund greater access to the arts for children and young people across the country

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National Theatre Annual Review 2015–16: in summary

Rufus Norris

The National Theatre’s Annual Review for 2015–16 details Rufus Norris’ first year as Director of the National Theatre, with Lisa Burger as Executive Director. A full version of the Annual Report is available online, with key highlights below.

SUMMARY

What We Made

  • Last year we made 27 new productions for the four theatres at our London home. The broad and exciting programme included re-imagined classics, modern masterpieces and new writing.
  • We staged 35 productions in total, employing 508 actors and 131 musicians. We gave 3,134 performances across the UK and around the world.

Where We Went

  • In 2015–16 our work was seen in more places than at any point in our history.
  • Through touring productions, collaboration with 63 theatre companies around the country, NT Live broadcasts, and our Learning programme, we reached more of the UK than ever before. Among the year’s highlights was the successful completion of a 31 city nationwide tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
  • Internationally, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Timebecame the longest-running play on Broadway in over a decade, winning 5 Tony Awards. War Horse played in Belgium and the Netherlands, and on 4th September War Horse opened in Beijing before touring to 5 other Chinese cities.

Who Saw Our Work

  • Our global paying audience was 4 million and our audience in the UK was 2.5 million. 57% of our UK ticket-bookers came from outside London.
  • Audience attendance was 88% at the NT, and attendances were 787,000 – a seven-year high.
  • On the South Bank, the number of bookers under 35 years old went up by 75%, and the average age of all bookers dropped to 51, closer to the national average age of 47. 30% of bookers were first-timers.
  • Through live theatre, broadcast and digital, and from theatre to learning, our work reached a global audience of 7.6 million.

Learning

  • In September 2015 we launched National Theatre On Demand In Schools, allowing students to stream the NT’s productions of Hamlet, Othello and Frankenstein to classrooms, for free. To date, more than 1 in 3 UK state secondary schools have signed up.
  • This year saw the 21st anniversary of Connections, our nationwide youth theatre festival, enabling over 7,000 young people to perform at one of 45 partner theatres across the UK.
  • In total there were 181,000 engagements with the Learning department across the year.
  • In addition 102,861 young people saw our productions at the NT and in the West End with their school or college.

Finance

  • We earned £6.4m from our commercial transfers and generated a surplus on unrestricted operations after designations of £5.5m. This surplus was used to increase our reserves in anticipation of a significant decline in commercial income following the closure of War Horse in the West End.
  • 60% of our income came from ticket sales for live theatre and our Arts Council grant represented 15% of total income.
  • Fundraising was up by 17% and in real terms our Arts Council grant has decreased by 25% since 2010.

Programme highlights:

  • In the Olivier, the programme included Carol Ann Duffy’s adaptation of Everyman, As You Like It, directed by Polly Findlay, land a co-production with Manchester International Festival and Théâtre du Châtelet, and Les Blancs directed by Yaël Farber.
  • In the Lyttelton, the year included Stephen Adly Guirgis’ award-winning The Motherf**ker with the Hat, Jane Eyre, a co-production with Bristol Old Vic which will tour the UK in 2017, and the Olivier award-winning Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom by August Wilson.
  • In the Dorfman, our co-production of People, Places & Things transferred triumphantly to the West End and Denise Gough won the award for Best Actress at both the Olivier Awards 2016 and the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards 2015. We co-produced Husbands and Sons with Manchester Royal Exchange, and Katie Mitchell returned to the NT to direct Cleansed, the first Sarah Kane play to be staged at the National.
  • The final year of the Temporary Theatre began with Alexander Zeldin’s Beyond Caring, a collaboration with The Yard, and productions included Islington Community Theatre’s Brainstorm, irreverent festive programming for young audiences with Joel Horwood and Arthur Darvill’s adaptation of I Want My Hat Back, and Graeae’s The Solid Life of Sugar Water.
  • Jeremy Deller and Rufus Norris worked together in 2015-16 to create we’re here because we’re here, a modern memorial to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. It was produced by the NT and Birmingham Repertory Theatre in collaboration with 27 partner organisations, including the three national companies working together for the first time. The project involved 1,400 volunteers; 2 million people saw the soldiers on the streets of the UK, it trended on Twitter for 14 hours and there were 221 million impressions on social media.
  • 5m people saw an NT Live broadcast. There were 11 productions – 6 from the NT and 5 from partner theatres: the Royal Court, Donmar Warehouse, Young Vic and the Barbican, with Sonia Friedman. In the UK there were 700 participating venues and an audience of 700,000. Worldwide there were 2,000 venues in 55 countries.
  • On 12 March, after 8 glorious years, War Horse completed its West End run. War Horse will begin a major UK tour in September 2017 and continues to delight audiences in China where it opened in Beijing on September 4 2015, before touring to 5 other Chinese cities. To date over 7 million people have seen War Horse
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time continued to run in London and on Broadway, and it completed a 31-city tour of UK and Ireland. In total, over 950,000 people saw Curious Incident last year.

Click the link to download –> national-theatre-summary-annual-review-2015-2016 

To view the full annual report, please click here

Click here to book your tickets for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night -Time

Rufus Norris announces new work for the National Theatre in 2017 

Rufus Norris
Rufus Norris

Rufus Norris

New work by Inua Ellams, Yaёl Farber, DC Moore, Lindsey Ferrentino and Nina Raine is announced today by Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre. Four world premieres and two European premieres are further announced as forthcoming productions for the National Theatre in 2017.

Acclaimed writer and director Yaёl Farber returns to the National with the European premiere of Salomé and co-productions with Headlong, Fuel, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Out of Joint and Improbable are among the collaborations with theatre companies from across the UK.

Leading actors will include Imelda Staunton, Olivia Colman, Philip Quast, Nathan Lane, Andrew Garfield, Denise Gough, Russell Tovey, James McArdle, Susan Brown, Janie Dee, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Daniel Rigby, Tamara Lawrence, Doon Mackichan, Daniel Ezra and Olwen Fouere.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time continues its West End run at the Gielgud Theatre and begins a second major tour of the UK and Ireland from January 2017. Sally Cookson’s adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece Jane Eyre, a co-production between the NT and Bristol Old Vic, begins a tour of the UK in April 2017 and War Horse begins its second major tour of the UK on 15 September 2017.

NT Live announcements include Amadeus, with Lucian Msamati, broadcast live from the NT on 2 February 2017Saint Joan, with Gemma Arterton, broadcast live from the Donmar Warehouse on 16 February 2017 and Hedda Gabler, with Ruth Wilson, broadcast live from the NT on 9 March 2017.

Olivier Theatre 

Follies, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Goldman, comes to the NT for the first time in 2017. NT Associate Director Dominic Cooke directs a cast including Imelda Staunton as Sally Durant Plummer, Janie Dee as Phyllis Rogers Stone and Philip Quast as Benjamin Stone. Director Dominic Cooke; Choreographer  Bill Deamer; Music Supervisor  Nicholas Skilbeck; Music Director Nigel Lilley; Lighting Designer Paule Constable; Sound Designer Paul Groothuis and Associate Choreographer Kylie Cruikshanks.

There are few stories that have more of a vexed relationship to the western canon than that of Salomé. This radical revision of the biblical tale, in which a figure buried by history gains her voice, marks Yaёl Farber’s return to the Olivier following her acclaimed production of Les Blancs in 2016. The world premiere of Salomé was produced by Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington DC, the NT production marks its European premiere and will be on stage in May 2017. This new production is part of the 2017 Travelex £15 ticket season. Cast includes Olwen Fouere. Director Yaёl Farber; Designer Susan Hilferty; Lighting Designer Tim Lutkin; Music and Sound Adam Cork; Movement Director Ami Shulman and Dramaturg Drew Lichtenberg.

Common, a world premiere by DC Moore, will be directed by Jeremy Herrin in the Olivier Theatre. Set in the early days of the Industrial Revolution, the common land of England is under threat. An epic new history play co-produced with Headlong, this new production is part of the 2017 Travelex £15 ticket season.

As previously announced, Tamsin Greig will return to the National to play ‘Malvolia’ in Twelfth Night, opening in the Olivier in February 2017: the first of two Shakespearean productions being directed by Simon Godwin, who will later direct Ralph Fiennes in Antony and Cleopatra in 2018. Further casting for Twelfth Night includes Daniel Rigby as Aguecheek, Tamara Lawrence as Viola, Doon Mackichan as Feste and Daniel Ezra as Sebastian. Director Simon Godwin; Designer Soutra Gilmour; Lighting Designer James Farncombe; Movement Director Shelley Maxwell; Music Michael Bruce; Sound Designer Christopher Shutt and Fight Director Kev McCurdy.

Lyttelton Theatre

Ugly Lies the Bone by Lindsey Ferrentino makes its European premiere at the NT in March 2017.  An American soldier is injured on tour in Afghanistan and returns to her family home. Through the use of virtual reality video game therapy, she builds a new world to escape her pain. Lindsey Ferrentino won the National Arts Club’s 2016 Kesselring Prize for Ugly Lies the Bone. Directed by Indhu Rubasingham, Set Designer  Es Devlin; Video Designer Luke Halls; Costume Designer Johanna Coe; Lighting Designer Oliver Fenwick; Music and Sound Ben & Max Ringham; Fight Directors, Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown of RC-Annie Ltd.

In May 2017, Marianne Elliott will direct Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, with Andrew Garfield returning to the National as Prior Walter. The company also includes Susan Brown, Nathan Lane, James McArdle, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Denise Gough and Russell Tovey. Millennium Approaches, the first of the two plays which form Angels in America, received its British premiere at the National’s Cottesloe Theatre in 1992, and was joined by Perestroika in a double-bill the following year. Director Marianne Elliott; Set  Designer Ian MacNeil; Costume Designer Nicky Gillibrand; Lighting Designer Paule Constable; Movement Director Robby GrahamPuppets and movement Finn Caldwell; Music Adrian Sutton; Sound Designer Ian Dickinson and Illusions Chris Fisher.

Dorfman Theatre

My Country; A Work in Progress – In the days after the European Referendum in June 2016, the National Theatre began a national listening project. From Londonderry to Leicester and Merthyr Tydfil to Glasgow, the National Theatre has created a verbatim archive of conversations from across the UK. Rufus Norris will collaborate with Carol Ann Duffy as he directs a performance based on the first round of material.

Consent by Nina Raine will receive its world premiere in a co-production with Out of Joint in the Dorfman Theatre in April 2017. The play explores questions of law, justice and forgiveness. Directed by Roger Michell.

Mosquitoes by Lucy Kirkwood will have its world premiere in the Dorfman Theatre in July 2017. Rufus Norris will direct this new play about families and particle physics, with a cast that includes Olivia Colman. Mosquitoes is presented by special arrangement with Manhattan Theatre Club, which commissioned the play with funds provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Designer Katrina Lindsay; Lighting Designer Paule Constable; Music Adam Cork and Sound Designer Paul Arditti. A recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New Plays Award.

Improbable and the National Theatre present: Lost Without Words, a theatrical experiment in the Dorfman Theatre in March 2017. Improbable have been improvising on stage all their lives then one day they had a mischievous fantasy: What would happen if they took older actors in their seventies and eighties, actors who had spent their lives on stage bringing life to a writer’s words, actors who now they are old appear in our theatres less and less – what would happen if we put those actors on stage without a script? What scenes would they create? What stories would unfold? What might they tell us about what awaits us all at the other end of life? Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson will direct with Colin Grenfell as Lighting Designer and music by Steve Edis. Lost Without Words is a co-production with Improbable.

Inua Ellams’ Barber Shop Chronicles will have its world premiere at the National Theatre in June 2017, before moving to West Yorkshire Playhouse in July. This new play unfolds in a succession of barber shops across Africa and the UK. The play is directed by Bijan Sheibani and is a co-production with Fuel and West Yorkshire Playhouse. Director Bijan Sheibani; Designer Rae Smith.

On stage in the Dorfman Theatre in January 2017, Project Arts Centre presents Dublin Oldschool, a new play by Emmet Kirwan. A play about brothers, Dublin and dance music, Dublin Oldschool snaps, crackles, raps and rhymes, with high octane performances by Emmet Kirwan and Ian Lloyd Anderson, directed by Phillip McMahon. Project Arts Centre in association with Soho Theatre, supported by Culture Ireland.

Brussels-based BRONKS is one of Belgium’s leading theatres for young audiences and in January 2017, following its acclaimed and sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe, BRONKS brings Us/Them to the NT. During a hostage drama at a school in Beslan terrorists chose a group of children as their victims. Us/Them is not a straightforward account, it is about the individual way that children cope with extreme situations. With humour and a matter-of-fact approach, it contrasts the views of children with those of adults. On stage in the Dorfman from 16 January – 18 February 2017. BRONKS and Richard Jordan Productions in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth, Big in Belgium and Summerhall.

The Dorfman Partner is Neptune Investment Management.

National Theatre throughout the UK, in the West End and internationally 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, adapted by Simon Stephens from Mark Haddon’s best-selling book and directed by Marianne Elliott enters its fifth year in London, continuing its run at the Gielgud Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue.  Joseph Ayre leads the West End cast as Christopher Boone, with tickets currently on sale until 22 April 2017.  Its official card partner is American Express.

A North American tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time began at Rochester’s Auditorium Theater in September 2016, and will go on to play more than 30 cities, including Washington DC, Chicago and Los Angeles.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time begins a second major tour of the UK and Ireland at The Lowry in Salford in January 2017 (with its national press night at the Lowry on Wednesday 25 January at 7.30pm), continuing its journey to Aylesbury, Edinburgh, Leeds, Canterbury, Bath, Southampton, Nottingham, Belfast, Dublin, Cardiff, Sheffield, Oxford, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Bristol, Plymouth, Birmingham, Southend, Llandudno, Liverpool, Bradford, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Norwich and finishing in Milton Keynes on 16 September 2017.   www.curiousonstage.com

Sally Cookson’s energetic and imaginative new adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece Jane Eyre,  a co-production between the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic,  begins a tour of the UK at the Lowry in Salford on 8 April (with its press night on 12 April at 7.30pm), continuing to Sheffield, Aylesbury, Plymouth, Southampton, Edinburgh, York, Woking, Glasgow, Canterbury, Cardiff, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Brighton, Leeds, Aberdeen, Birmingham  and finishing at the Theatre Royal in  Bath on 30 September 2017.   www.janeyereonstage.com

The National Theatre’s acclaimed production of War Horse based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel, and directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris begins its second major tour of the UK on 15 September 2017 at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, where it will run until 14 October 2017.   It continues to the Bristol Hippodrome (18 October – 11 November 2017), the Empire Theatre, Liverpool (15 November – 2 December 2017), New Theatre, Oxford (13 December 2017 – 6 January 2018), Brighton Centre (25 January – 10 February 2018), Bradford Alhambra Theatre  (14 February – 10 March 2018), the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall (14 March – 7 April 2018) and the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh (18 April – 12 May 2018), The Lowry, Salford (11-30 June 2018), the Milton Keynes Theatre (17 September-6 October 2018) and Plymouth Theatre Royal (29 August to 15 September 2018).   Further dates and venues will be announced.  www.warhorseonstage.com

The National Theatre’s Learning Programme goes from strength to strength in 2017, and one year on from the launch of On Demand in Schools, 2,200 schools are now signed up to the free service, with two-thirds of schools located outside of London and the South East. This includes schools in Derby, Dumfries, Derry, Morecambe, Machynlleth, Truro, Antrim, Ullswater, Poole, Cirencester and Northampton, alongside many more, representing a third of all state secondary schools in the UK.  The plays are supported by curriculum-linked learning resources to help teachers incorporate the productions into their teaching practice.

Schools can now watch recordings of six National Theatre productions in their classroom: Frankenstein, Hamlet, Othello, She Stoops to Conquer, The Comedy of Errors and the NT’s first title aimed at primary schools, Treasure Island. National Theatre On Demand In Schools is supported by Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Sidney E. Frank Foundation. Productions for primary schools are supported by Goldsmiths’ Company Charity.

From February 2017, the NT will stage two contemporary re-tellings of Shakespeare for younger audiences. Romeo and Juliet, in a version by Ben Power for primary school audiences aged 8 – 11 years, is a remount of the successful 2013 production, directed by Bijan Sheibani, and accompanied by a creative learning programme.  Macbeth will be adapted and directed by Justin Audibert for secondary school audiences aged 13 – 16 years. Both productions will tour to state schools across London and play in the Dorfman. Cast includes Tripti Tripuraneni, Nana Amoo-Gottfried, Jay Saighal, Madeleine Appiah, Ronak Pattani, Kayla Meikle and Ashley Gurlach.

Romeo and Juliet will also play at Stratford Circus as part of the London Borough of Newham’s Every Child a Theatregoer programme. Macbeth will tour to schools in Thurrock as part of the Royal Opera House’s Thurrock Trailblazers scheme. The productions are expected to be seen by over 12,000 young people across the tour. Booking for schools is now open via the website. Schools touring is supported by The Ingram Trust, Archie Sherman Charitable Trust, Behrens Foundation, The Ernest Cook Trust, Jill and David Leuw.

270 schools and youth theatre companies across the country have signed up in 2017 for Connections, the NT’s long standing youth theatre initiative. Each company will produce one of 10 newly commissioned plays and take their production to one of 28 major producing theatres partnering with the NT.

The plays are FOMO by Suhayla El-Bushra, Extremism by Anders Lustgarten, Musical Differences by Robin French, Status Update by Tim Etchells, The School Film by Patrick Marber, The Monstrum by Kellie Smith, The Snow Dragons by Lizzie Nunnery, Three by Harriet Braun, #YOLO by Matthew Bulgo, Zero For The Young Dudes! by Alistair McDowall. NT Connections is supported by Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Jacqueline and Richard Worswick, Susan Miller and Byron Grote, Hays Travel Foundation, Faithorn Farrell Timms, and supporters of the Connections Appeal.

The National Theatre’s New Work Department has announced Anupama Chandrasekar as Writer in Residence, succeeding Suhayla El-Bushra. Anupama took up the position in September 2016 and is the NT’s first international writer in residence, she joins the organisation from Chennai, India. The Writer in Residence programme is supported by Lookout Point.

National Theatre Live is the National Theatre’s ground-breaking initiative to bring theatre to cinemas. Recently celebrating our 50th broadcast, National Theatre Live has given 6 million people worldwide the chance to see quality theatre. The current season features productions from partner theatres and the National Theatre itself:

  • 15 December sees NT Live broadcast the acclaimed No Man’s Land live from the stage of the Wyndham’s Theatre, with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in Harold Pinter’s classic play, produced by Playful Productions.
  • On 2 February 2017 Lucian Msamati takes on the role of Salieri in Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, featuring live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia, broadcast direct from the NT.
  • Josie Rourke directs Gemma Arterton as Joan of Arc in Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan, broadcast live from the Donmar Warehouse on 16 February 2017.
  • Ruth Wilson plays the titular role in a new version of Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, directed by Ivo van Hove, broadcast live from the NT on 9 March 2017.

NT Live broadcasts in 2017 will also include Twelfth Night, Salomé and Angels in America with dates to be announced soon.

Find your nearest venue at ntlive.com  

SPONSORS 

Travelex £15 Tickets sponsored by 

Amadeus is generously supported by the Amadeus Production Syndicate

Hedda Gabler is generously supported by the Williams Charitable Trust

The National Theatre is working in partnership with American Express 

NT Future is supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch 

The National Theatre’s Partner for Connectivity is Cisco 

The National Theatre’s Outdoor Media Partner is Clear Channel 

The National Theatre’s Workshops Partner is Flints Theatrical Chandlers 

The National Theatre’s International Hotel Partner is Intercontinental Hotels Group

New writing at the National Theatre is supported by ITV plc

The Dorfman Partner is Neptune Investment Management 

The National Theatre’s Pouring Partner is Nyetimber 

The National Theatre’s partner for Lighting and Energy is Philips 

The official hotel partner of the National Theatre is Edwardian Hotels London

The National Theatre wishes to acknowledge its partner National Angels Limited 

The National Theatre is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

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David Eldridge, Playwright Interview: “If you don’t want to change people, even a tiny bit, through the experience of your writing then don’t write.”

 Playwright David Eldridge

David Eldridge ( Picture credit – Keith Pattison/Royal Court Theatre 2012)

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Questions: Carl Woodward
Answers: David Eldridge (Obviously)
David Eldridge is a prolific playwright. His work has been seen on our country’s biggest stages (The National, Donmar Warehouse, Hampstead theatre and The Royal Court to name a few.
He was busy marking essays but agreed to talk to me for a few minutes.
Just don’t get him started on cooking…

Hello! Where are you and what are you up to? 
Right now it’s 8.30am and I’m at home in north London. I’ve just had a bowl of porridge and I’m catching up on a few emails before I head to my office to crack on for the day. Not a writing day today though. I’ve a pile of plays to grade as I teach part-time at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Your work has been commissioned by the National, The Royal Court, Bush, Hampstead, Almeida theatres and many more. Do you ever pinch yourself? 
All the time. I always remember vividly a time in my early twenties when I was living at my mum and dad’s after Uni and working in the evening in the hotchpotch old extension at home. As I was writing I could hear the sound of my dad outside in the garden shed tapping heels in to women’s shoes at 10p or 20p a pair a time to earn a bit more extra money for him and mum and by extension me. I always think about that when I’m struggling with what I’m writing. I never want to be that writer that signs a card to a friend “David Eldridge”. In a sense Dominic Dromgoole is right about me in his book. I’m incredibly serious about what I do and totally committed. But there’s another part of me that could not give a fuck. Having a play on at one of those theatres is great but it’s always the audience that makes the play, wherever it’s on and much of a writer’s life is quite lonely and boring. I’d be quite happy cooking full time (I write now on a laptop on the kitchen table) and the best days are days spent cooking and writing. Last May I spent a Sunday when my girlfriend was away making a Dal Makhani (which has to be cooked very slowly and with real care) and writing. It was perfect. Being a parent is the most important and fulfilling thing in my life. What’s making a play compared to raising a child and trying to be a good dad?

 I was chatting to a writer recently and she said that a lot of the writing process is about when the planets align, when that perfect moment comes along. Do you work to that principal or do you have a knack to force the planets into alignment?
I can see a bit of truth in that. Just this autumn I had an unexpected gap partly because a film company couldn’t get together a meeting for a few weeks to give notes on a draft of a screenplay I’ve written. My fingers were itchy and I couldn’t sit still and I wrote a play I’d been wanting to write for ten years, but never found the right moment until then. On the other hand I think when we talk about planets aligning it makes me cringe a bit. No disrespect to the other writer but I believe more in screenwriter William Goldman’s approach “Writing is finally about one thing: going into a room alone and doing it. Putting words on paper that have never been there in quite that way before. And although you are physically by yourself, the haunting Demon never leaves you, that Demon being the knowledge of your own terrible limitations, your hopeless inadequacy, the impossibility of ever getting it right. No matter how diamond-bright your ideas are dancing in your brain, on paper they are earthbound.” Its work, writing. I think you get the first draft out. And then you rewrite until its ready to share. Managements never see anything less than my third draft. I think a lot of young and new writers are crazy to show managements their first drafts. Your third or fourth draft should be the managements first draft. It’s play-WRIGHT. Do the graft. That’s not to say you don’t collaborate and often you rewrite a lot more. But do your job first.

Which other writers would you recommend at the moment?
Oh God. There are so many brilliant playwrights, we’re very lucky in the UK. I think Penelope Skinner, debbie tucker green and Annie Baker are the bees knees. Anna Jordan and Chris Urch both wrote wonderful Bruntwood Award winning plays. Gary Owen has had a great year as has Jack Thorne, both of whom I admire hugely. How does Caryl Churchill still do it? I said to someone recently she’s “our Picasso, our Pankhurst, our Bowie, our Orbach” and I believe that. Robert Holman is a great playwright and fortunately not such a secret pleasure any more after the last few years. But my mind is full this morning of Leo Butler’s “Boy” which I saw last night. It’s fantastic and brave and true and unlike anything else. He’s not always had a great luck (his Royal Court downstairs debut premiered on 9/11) but this play is a reminder he’s one of our best and most thoughtful playwrights painting on a big canvass. Really Rufus Norris should commission him to write for one of the big spaces at the NT. While Rufus is at it he should try and persuade screenwriter Sarah Phelps to write for theatre again. She’s ace.

What would be the worst way to die?
My paternal great-grandmother was burned alive in a house fire. I don’t want to go that way and I don’t want any of my nearest and dearest to go that way.

Easy question: what’s the best play ever written?
Yeah, right do one mate. Seriously you’ve got to be kidding. I’m a play geek. You could get a dissertation length answer. For me, this morning it’s Shakespeare’s “King Lear”. I don’t think that can ever change for me because it’s the play that turned me on to theatre aged 17.
What word do people incorrectly use to describe your work?
Naturalistic.
It seems that you’re quite ambitious in terms of wanting your work to make an impression. 
If you don’t want to change people, even a tiny bit, through the experience of your writing then don’t write. If I was running a theatre I would not programme or commission writers that are merely wanking or getting the next play on the shelf.
If for some reason I had to ban you from making theatre is there something else you’d like to do?
Well I’d write for TV or film (as I am already) or write a novel which I want to write, or I might get to spend enough time on some of my poems so they’re good enough to actually show someone one day. But as I say I’d be happy cooking. I’d be happy being a full time dad.
Anything you’d like to add? 
Writing for performance is an odd endeavour as its all collaboration in the end. But you have to be independent (and absolutely not dependent on others) and do your job and know yourself and your work as much as possible to be the best you can be in that collaboration. A collaboration that often starts with you alone one morning, wasting time on social media in your PJ’s and ends several years later in a little theatre above a pub in W12 with an audience. You don’t make the best work if the writer gets lost along the way.
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