National Theatre artistic director Rufus Norris announced the flagship institution’s 2018 plans at a press conference held today. Amongst the highlights of programming in the three auditoria at the NT’s South Bank home are:
- Sam Mendes directs the UK premiere of Stefano Massini’s epic The Lehman Trilogy adapted by Ben Power
- A broad programme including three world premieres, and classics reimagined by Polly Stenham and Patrick Marber
- Indhu Rubasingham directs the world premiere of Francis Turnly’s play The Great Wave, a co-production with the Tricycle Theatre
- World premiere of David Hare’s new play (his 18th for the NT) I’m not Running, directed by Neil Armfield
- Natasha Gordon’s debut play Nine Night premieres at the National Theatre, directed by Roy Alexander Weise
- Laura Wade makes her National Theatre debut with Home, I’m Darling, a co-production with Theatr Clwyd
- Sophie Okonedo joins Ralph Fiennes in Antony and Cleopatra, directed by Simon Godwin
- Leading actors returning to the NT include Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Kirby, Cecilia Noble, Katherine Parkinson and Indira Varma, with Colin Morgan making his NT debut
See our separate story for the NT’s news beyond the South Bank.
Ian Rickson directs Brian Friel‘s Translations, a powerful account of language and nationhood. Set in rural Donegal, the turbulent relationship between England and Ireland plays out in one quiet community. Cast includes Colin Morgan with designs by Rae Smith, lighting by Neil Austin and music by Stephen Warbeck. Translations is a Travelex show with hundreds of tickets available at £15 for every performance, opening in May 2018.
Patrick Marber adapts and directs Ionesco‘s glorious dark comedy Exit the King. Surrounded by his court, an unpredictable, belligerent and magnetic king – once all-powerful – rages against the inevitability of his own decline. Designed by Anthony Ward, lighting Hugh Vanstone and music and sound Adam Cork. Cast includes Rhys Ifans as the King and Indira Varma as his Queen. Exit the King is a Travelex show with hundreds of tickets available at £15 for every performance, opening in July 2018.
Simon Godwin directs Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo as the iconic lovers in a new production of Antony and Cleopatra opening in September 2018. Set design by Hildegard Bechtler, costume design by Wojciech Dziedzic, lighting by Tim Lutkin, music by Michael Bruce and sound by Christopher Shutt. The production will be broadcast worldwide as part of the NT Live season. Production supported by Mary M. Miner, Shawn M Donnelley & Christopher M Kelly and Monica G-S & Ali E Wambold.
Shakespeare’s late romance Pericles is remixed in Chris Bush‘s vivid new adaptation. Directed by Emily Lim, choreographed by Imogen Knight with music composed by James Fortune, Pericles marks the first Public Acts production featuring a large community ensemble and small cast of professional actors who will bring this epic story of love, loss, family and community to the Olivier theatre in August 2018.
Thirty years after the rediscovery of Absolute Hell, Joe Hill-Gibbins returns to the NT to direct Rodney Ackland‘s plunge into post-war Soho, full of despair, longing and a need to escape. Set design is by Lizzie Clachan with costumes designed by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting by Jon Clark and sound by Paul Arditti. Opening in April 2018, cast to be announced.
In Julie, Polly Stenham updates Strindberg’s tragedy Miss Julie to contemporary London. Upstairs, the party is dying but still Julie dances. Downstairs, Jean and Kristin listen and wait. Carrie Cracknell directs Vanessa Kirby in this new version designed by Tom Scutt, opening in June 2018. Julie is a Travelex show with hundreds of tickets available for every performance at £15.
The Lehman Trilogy, by Stefano Massini a hit across Europe, is staged at the NT in a new English adaptation by Ben Power, directed by Sam Mendes, a co-production with Neal Street Productions. 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 soon 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. This is the story of a family and a company that changed the world. Stefano Massini’s vast and poetic play unfolds over three parts in a single evening, opening in July 2018, cast to be announced.
David Hare’s new play I’m not Running, directed by Neil Armfield opening in autumn 2018. Pauline Gibson has unintentionally become a national treasure by staying out of party politics, while one of her close friends from university, Jack Gould, is making his way to the top of the Labour Party. The 20 year span of their adult lives and their contrasting fortunes raise sharp questions about how to do good in the new century. After the world wide success of his production of Cloudstreet which visited the National in 1999 and 2001, Neil Armfield directs his first NT production, cast to be announced.
Artistic Director of the Tricycle Theatre Indhu Rubasingham returns to the National Theatre to direct The Great Wave – in a co-production with the Tricycle, an epic play by Francis Turnly. Developed, while on a Channel 4 playwriting bursary at the Tricycle, the play is set in Japan and North Korea and tells the story of two sisters, Hanako and Reiko, who are struck by a gigantic wave. Reiko survives while Hanako is, seemingly, lost to the sea. Their mother, however, can’t shake the feeling her daughter is still alive. Designed by Tom Piper, video projection by Luke Halls, lighting design by Oliver Fenwick, movement direction by Polly Bennett, music by David Shrubsole, and sound design by Alex Caplen. Opening at the NT in March 2018, cast to be announced.
Natasha Gordon’s debut play Nine Night is a funny and touching exploration of the rituals of family. The nine nights extended wake is an important custom in West Indian families. But for Gloria’s children and grandchildren, marking her death with a party that lasts a week and a half is a test that forces them to confront themselves and each other. Roy Alexander Weise directs, designed by Rajha Shakiry. Castincludes Cecilia Noble, opening in April 2018.
Ned Bennett’s highly praised production for the Orange Tree Theatre of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ provocative and hilarious satire An Octoroon transfers to the National Theatre in June 2018 in a co-production. Cast to be announced.
Laura Wade makes her NT and Theatr Clwyd debuts with Home, I’m Darling, a new comedy about sex, cake and the quest to be a perfect 50s housewife. Cast includes Katherine Parkinson with further cast to be announced. A National Theatre co-production with Theatr Clwyd, directed by Clwyd artistic directorTamara Harvey, also making her NT debut, and designed by Anna Fleischle. The production opens at Theatr Clwyd in June and in the Dorfman theatre the following month.
Justin Audibert directs a new production of The Winter’s Tale for primary schools, opening in the Dorfman theatre in February 2018. This exciting new version of the play, adapted by Justin and the company, is the perfect introduction to Shakespeare for younger audiences, designed by Lucy Sierra with music by Jonathan Girling. Shakespeare for younger audiences is supported by: The Ingram Trust, Archie Sherman Charitable Trust. The National Theatre’s Partner for Learning is Bank of America Merrill Lynch.