On the day of the US presidential inauguration, the Almeida Theatre announces a new season and a major new digital film project exploring leadership in crisis and the power of words. Premieres of plays by Martin Crimp, Christopher Shinn and James Graham will be directed by, respectively, Lyndsey Turner, Ian Rickson and Almeida artistic director Rupert Goold with actors so far confirmed to take part in the season including Ben Whishaw, Vanessa Redgrave, Aisling Loftus and Matthew Needham.
Commenting on the rationale behind the new season, Rupert Goold said:
“At the end of 2016, as our new season materialised and we looked back on a year of mendacious politics, ambition and international polarisation, one recurring theme emerged: truth.
“Who owns the truth? What happens when the truth comes second to narrative – exploited for personal, commercial, political gain? How did facts suddenly become subjective? And is the truth explosive in the wrong hands?
“The Almeida’s new season interrogates the reality behind fiction – the line between truth and art, words and action, money and meaning. Coruscating, satirical and frighteningly prophetic, The Treatment, Ink and Against all deal with the slippery and seemingly subjective nature of truth. These plays speak to our societies’ anxiety and uncertainty about the world we’re living in now.
“In the wake of 2016’s political events and ahead of the vast wave of international elections in 2017 – beginning today alongside the inauguration of the new leader of the free world – Figures of Speech will unearth the world’s most vital speeches for a new audience. We want to remember what leadership sounds like. At the Almeida we believe what changes opinion, narrative, momentum, are words. Words carefully crafted and meticulously delivered by inspirational women and men, wherever a meaningful audience can be found.
“It is up to us who hear these words, and watch these plays, to discover the truth.”
Highlights of the new season include:
- THE TREATMENT, Martin Crimp’s contemporary satire, receives its first London revival after 24 years, directed by Lyndsey Turner.The cast includes Aisling Loftus as Anne and Matthew Needham as Simon. Running 24 April to 10 June 2017.
- INK, a new play by James Graham, directed by Almeida Artistic Director Rupert Goold, explores the birth of this country’s most influential paper, The Sun, and the mythical world of Fleet Street in the 1960s. Running 17 June to 5 August 2017.
- Ben Whishaw returns to the Almeida in AGAINST , a gripping new play about how we come to know ourselves honestly by Christopher Shinn, directed by Ian Rickson. Running 12 August to 30 September 2017.
- Figures of Speech – a major new digital film project which will interrogate the vitality of speech, rhetoric, and what visionary leadership sounds like – launches today at 12pm with Vanessa Redgrave reading Václav Havel’s ‘Words on Words’. Throughout 2017 Figures of Speech will put history’s greatest speeches back on the map through a series of films read by an army of actors and young leaders released online, in partnership with the Guardian.
- Performer and lip synch artist Dickie Beau will haunt the set of the Almeida’s Hamlet for two performances in March with his new show, RE-MEMBER ME.
- Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan’s Olivier Award-nominated production of 1984, seen by over 400,000 people worldwide, will tour Australia in 2017 playing major seasons in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Perth.