National theatre announces two new productions and reveals casting for upcoming shows

National Theatre

Lyndsey Turner directs Lucy Kirkwood and Dave Malloy’s new musical version of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, in a co-production with the Roald Dahl Story Company

– Jamie Lloyd directs The Effect by Lucy Prebble with a cast that includes Paapa Essiedu and Taylor Russell, in association with The Jamie Lloyd Company

– Hiran Abeysekera and Paul Bazely are cast in the revival of Anupama Chandrasekhar’s The Father and the Assassin, directed by Indhu Rubasingham

The National Theatre today announces two new productions, Roald Dahl’s The Witches, in a co-production with the Roald Dahl Story Company, and The Effect, in association with The Jamie Lloyd Company. The Witches will play in the Olivier theatre from November in a new musical version of the iconic story by Lucy Kirkwood and Dave Malloy, directed by Lyndsey Turner, whilst The Effect by Lucy Prebble will play in the Lyttelton theatre from August, directed by Jamie Lloyd. Also announced today is casting for the revival of The Father and the Assassin by Anupama Chandrasekhar, which will play in the Olivier theatre from September, directed by Indhu RubasinghamTickets for all three productions go on sale to the public on Thursday 27 April.

Director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris said:

‘I’m thrilled that the National Theatre and Roald Dahl Story Company are coming together for the first time to bring one of Dahl’s most enduring stories to the Olivier stage. This extraordinary, exciting production of The Witches with Lucy Kirkwood’s brilliant, witty book and Lyndsey Turner’s ambitious vision is the culmination of many years of development at the National Theatre’s exceptional New Work Department. With Dave Malloy at the musical helm, I couldn’t be more excited to be bringing this ambitious new piece of music theatre to the stage.

‘To have Jamie Lloyd returning to the National Theatre with his production of Lucy Prebble’s The Effect – a timelessly prescient play from this singular writer – is a particular joy, not least because of the two wonderful lead actors Paapa Essiedu and Taylor Russell. It’s also a great delight to welcome Hiran Abeysekera back to the NT for the first time since Behind the Beautiful Forevers, to lead a brilliant company in Indhu Rubasingham’s revival of Anupama Chandrasekhar’s hit play The Father and the Assassin.’

Roald Dahl’s The Witches

The Witches is a rip-roaring musical version of Roald Dahl’s timeless tale, filled with wit, daring and heart.

Everything you know about witches is wrong. Forget the pointy hats and broomsticks: they’re the most dangerous creatures on earth. And now they’ve come up with their most evil plan yet.

The only thing standing in their way is Luke and his Gran. But he’s ten and she’s got a dodgy heart. Time is short, danger is everywhere, and they’ve got just one chance to stop the witches from squalloping every stinking little child in England.

One of Dahl’s most loved stories, The Witches is a brilliant blend of his trademark humour and hair-raising action, featuring one of his most iconic characters, the Grand High Witch. A firm fan favourite across the generations, the book has sold over 11 million copies since it was first published.

Cast includes three-time Olivier-nominated Katherine Kingsley (The Larkins) as the Grand High Witch and BAFTA Award-winner Daniel Rigby (One Man, Two Guvnors) as Mr Stringer, alongside Julie ArmstrongChrissie Bhima, Zoe BirkettDaniele CoombeMolly-May GardinerTiffany GravesTania MathurinJacob MaynardLaura Medforth and Ben Redfern.

Directed by Lyndsey Turner (The Crucible) with book and lyrics by Olivier Award-winner Lucy Kirkwood (Mosquitoes) and music and lyrics by Tony Award-nominee Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812). The set and costume designer is Lizzie Clachan with choreographer Stephen Mear, music supervisor Nigel Lilley, music director Cat Beveridge, lighting designer Bruno Poet, co-sound designers Alexander Caplen and Ian Dickinson, video designer Ash J Woodward, illusions by Chris Fisher and Will Houstoun, casting director Bryony Jarvis-Taylor, associate director Séimí Campbell, staff director Priya Patel Appleby, associate set designer Shankho Chaudhuri, associate costume designer Johanna Coe, associate choreographer Jo Morris, associate music director Natalie Pound and children’s and assistant music director Sarah Morrison.

The Witches will play in the Olivier theatre from 7 November and is recommended for ages 8+.

The Effect

In the Lyttelton theatre from August, Jamie Lloyd (Cyrano de Bergerac) directs The EffectLucy Prebble’s (Succession) funny and intimate examination of love and ethics.

Hearts and minds racing, Connie and Tristan are falling for each other fast. But is their sudden and intoxicating chemistry real, or a side effect of a new antidepressant? As two young volunteers in a clinical drug trial, their romance poses startling dilemmas for the supervising doctors.

Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You) is cast as Tristan and Taylor Russell (Bones and All) as Connie, with further casting to be announced. 

Directed by Jamie Lloyd with set and costume designer Soutra Gilmour, lighting designer Jon Clark, composer Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, sound designer George Dennis, movement directors Sarah Golding and Yukiko Masui (SAY), , fight director Kate Waters, intimacy co-ordinator Ingrid Mackinnon and casting director Alastair Coomer CDG.

The Effect will play in the Lyttelton theatre from 1 August.

The Father and the Assassin

Director Indhu Rubasingham reunites with writer Anupama Chandrasekhar for this essential exploration of oppression and extremism.

Mahatma Gandhi: lawyer, champion of non-violence, beloved leader. Nathuram Godse: journalist, nationalist – and the man who murdered Gandhi. This gripping play traces Godse’s life over 30 years during India’s fight for independence: from a devout follower of Gandhi, through to his radicalisation and their tragic final encounter in Delhi in 1948.

The cast includes Olivier Award-winner Hiran Abeysekera (Life of Pi) as Nathuram Godse with Paul Bazely reprising his role as Mahatma Gandhi. The cast also includes Azan AhmedRavi AujlaAyesha DharkerRavin J GanatraRaj GhatakHalema HussainNadeem IslamTony JayawardenaNicholas KhanRaj KheraHari MackinnonSid Sagar and Akshay Shah.

Directed by Indhu Rubasingham with set and costume designer Rajha Shakiry, lighting designer Oliver Fenwick, movement director Lucy Cullingford, composer Siddhartha Khosla, additional music by David Shrubsole, sound designer Alexander Caplen, fight directors Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown of Rc-Annie Ltd, casting director Alastair Coomer CDG and associate set and costume designer Khadija Raza.

The Father and the Assassin will play in the Olivier theatre 8 September–14 October.

Tickets for The WitchesThe Effect and The Father and the Assassin go on sale to the public on Thursday 27 April. Also going on sale via the National Theatre website are tickets to the previously announced A Strange Loop at the Barbican.

A Strange Loop

The Broadway musical sensation, A Strange Loop, a co-production with Howard Panter for Trafalgar Theatre ProductionsBarbara Whitman and Wessex Grove in association with the Barbican, is transferring from New York to London this summer.

Having co-produced A Strange Loop on Broadway, some of the most influential names in entertainment – Alan Cumming, Ilana Glazer, Jennifer Hudson, Mindy Kaling and Billy Porter – reunite to produce the smash-hit musical in London when it opens at the Barbican Theatre on 17 June for a strictly limited, one-time-only 12-week season.

Nominated for 11 Tony Awards and winner of every Best Musical award in New York, Michael R. Jackson’s critically acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning, blisteringly funny masterwork exposes the heart and soul of Usher – a young, gay, Black writer who hates his day job, writing a musical about a young, gay, Black writer who’s writing a musical about a young, gay, Black writer…a strange loop. Usher grapples with desires, identity and instincts he both loves and loathes, all brought to life on stage by a hilarious, straight-talking ensemble. Casting is to be announced.

Michael R. Jackson is a playwright, composer, and lyricist who is a rising star in the world of contemporary writing and quickly gaining recognition as one of the most innovative voices in American theatre. His latest new musical, White Girl in Danger, is currently running, Off-Broadway, at the Tony Kiser Theatre in New York.

Directed by Stephen Brackett, choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly, with Rona Siddiqui as music supervisor, orchestrations by Charlie Rosen, scenic design by Arnulfo Maldonado, costume design by Montana Levi Blanco, lighting design by Jen Schriever and sound design by Drew Levy.

Tickets are available from £20. For further information, please visit

The Odyssey: The Underworld

Celebrating five years of Public Acts, the National Theatre’s multi-location production of The Odyssey is being told in five locations in England. This epic story of resilience and hope began its journey in Stoke-on-Trent and Doncaster, with the next episodes coming to Trowbridge Town Hall on 22–23 April and The Fire Station in Sunderland on 28–29 April.

The culmination of The Odyssey’s journey, The Underworld, will be staged as a full-scale musical production at the National Theatre on 26–28 August 2023. This fifth and final production will feature community performers from all four previous episodes, as well as members recruited through Public Acts founding community partners, founding theatre partner Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, and Trybe House Theatre in London.

The Underworld is written by Olivier-award winning playwright Chris Bush with music composed by Jim Fortune and directed by Director of Public Acts Emily Lim. Set designed by Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey, movement directed by Dan Canham, costume designed by Fly Davis, music supervised and directed by Tarek Merchant, lighting designed by Joshua Pharo, sound designed by Paul Arditti and casting by Bryony Jarvis-Taylor.