NEWS: National Theatre announces 15 productions of new plays & fresh adaptations by leading writers

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The National Theatre has announces 15 productions of new plays and fresh adaptations by leading writers.

Olivier Theatre 

My Brilliant Friend

12 November 2019 to 18 January 2020 (Press day is 26 November). Plays in rep, with further performances to be announced
Following a sell-out run at Rose Theatre Kingston, the two-part adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend by April De Angelis is reworked for the Olivier stage by Melly Still (Coram Boy). Niamh Cusack and Catherine McCormack reprise their roles as Lenu and Lila alongside returning cast members Justin Avoth, Adam Burton, Martin Hyder, Ira Mandela Siobhan, Victoria Moseley, Emily Mytton, Jonah Russell, Badria Timimi, Emily Wachter and Toby Wharton.

The Visit

In February the award-winning writer of Angels in America and Caroline, Or ChangeTony Kushner, offers a post-war American context for his new version of Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s The Visit, or The Old Lady Comes To Call, directed by Jeremy Herrin. Lesley Manville will play Claire Zachanassian, with the cast also including Richard Durden, Sara Kestelman, Joseph Mydell and Nicholas Woodeson.

Jack Absolute Flies Again

Written by Richard Bean and Oliver Chris, based on Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Rivals, and directed by Thea Sharrock, opens in the Olivier Theatre in April. In the year of the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, this classic restoration comedy is relocated to World War II. Oliver Chris makes his NT playwriting debut.


Lyricist, novelist, poet and playwright, Kate Tempest makes her NT debut in June as the writer of Paradisea reimagining of Philoctetes by Sophocles. Lesley Sharp will play Philoctetes with further cast to be announced. Paradise is directed by Ian Rickson who collaborates with Tempest.

Lyttelton Theatre 

Three Sisters

3 December 2019 to 4 January 2020 (Press day is 10 December). Plays in rep, with further performances to be announced
Opening in December in the Lyttelton, Chekhov’s iconic characters are transported to 1960s Nigeria in this new version by Inua Ellams. Theatre Royal Stratford East artistic director Nadia Fall returns to the NT to direct. Cast includes Ronke Adekoluejo, Jude Akuwudike, Ken Nwosu, Racheal Ofori, Sule Rimi and Natalie SimpsonThree Sisters is a co-production with Fuel, originally commissioned by Metta Theatre.

The Welkin

Lucy Kirkwood brings her new play, The Welkin, to the Lyttelton Theatre in January. Maxine Peake returns to the NT for the first time since 2002 in a production directed by James Macdonald. The cast also includes Natasha Cottriall, Cecilia Noble, Dawn Sievewright and Ria Zmitrowicz with further cast to be announced.


A new play by Moira Buffini, Manor will open in April. Nancy Carroll leads the cast, directed by Fiona Buffini.

The Seven Streams Of The River Ota

Returns to the National Theatre where it first played in 1996 to mark 75 years since the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. The acclaimed seven-hour saga by Ex Machina, directed by Robert Lepage, The Seven Streams of the River Ota plays at the National Theatre in March 2020 as part of a world tour.

Dorfman Theatre 

Faith, Hope and Charity

9 September to 12 October 2019 (Press day is 17 September)
Artist in Residence Alexander Zeldin returns to the NT with his new play, Faith, Hope and Charity in September, the third piece in his trilogy of plays that tell the stories of people forced to the margins. The cast includes Nick Holder, Dayo Koleosho, Susan Lynch, Cecilia Noble, Bobby Stallwood, Hind Swareldahab and Alan Williams.

The Antipodes

21 October to 23 November 2019 (Press day is 30 October)
Pulitzer Prize-winner Annie Baker returns to the National Theatre with her latest playThe Antipodes. Cast includes Matt Bardock, Arthur Darvill, Imogen Doel, Hadley Fraser, Conleth Hill, Sinéad Matthews, Stuart McQuarrie and Bill Milner. Directed by Baker and Chloe Lamford.

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

3 December 2019 to 25 January 2020 (Press night is 11 December)
Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane will play in the Dorfman over Christmas, adapted by Joel Horwood and directed by Katy Rudd. Cast includes Josie Walker and Samuel Blenkin, with further cast to be announced.

Death Of England

A new play by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams will open in the Dorfman in early February. Featuring Rafe Spall, Death of England is directed by Dyer, marking his NT writing and directing debut — and making him the first Black British artist to have acted, written and directed at the NT.

All Of Us

Francesca Martinez makes her NT debut in March with All Of Us. Her first play, it will be directed by Ian Rickson.

Welcome To Iran

Following its run at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, Welcome To Iran, a new play written and directed by Nadia Fall, will play a limited run in the Dorfman opening in May.

Public Acts 

Following Pericles in the Olivier Theatre last summer, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch artistic director Douglas Rintoul will direct this year’s Public Acts production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, a musical adaptation at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch from 24 to 27 August. This version of As You Like It is by Laurie Woolery and Shaina Taub, featuring music and lyrics by Taub. The production will be Pericles director Emily Lim.

In August 2020, Cast, Doncaster, one of the NT’s Theatre Nation Partner venues, will host the third Public Acts production, with a new version of The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht, adapted for this project by Chris Bush and directed by Public Acts associate James Blakey.

National Theatre Collection

In partnership with Bloomsbury Publishing and ProQuest, this new service draws on 10 years of NT Live broadcasts, alongside high quality archive recordings never previously seen outside of the NT’s Archive. The National Theatre Collection will make the best of British theatre available to libraries, schools, universities and the education sector around the world.

The service will go live in September with 15 plays, growing to 30 titles by March 2020, and will feature a wide range of works regularly studied at secondary/high school and degree level.

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time

TIME Schools tour returns in September, playing at schools in the NT’s Theatre Nation Partnership areas and in London.

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Press Releases on Twitter
Press Releases
MyTheatreMates publishes a selection of daily press releases sent to us by publicists of the relevant show or theatre. We are not responsible for any inaccuracies contained within these materials.