In a press conference held today at the National Theatre, artistic director Rufus Norris announced the flagship institution’s 2017 season which will include four world premieres – including a current work-in-progress on the state of Brexit Britain – two European premieres and new work by Inua Ellams, Yaёl Farber, DC Moore, Lindsey Ferrentino and Nina Raine. Exact dates for most productions are still to be announced.
There is also a high-profile revival of Sondheim musical classic Follies starring Philip Quast, Janie Dee and, returning to the National for an eighth time after her new year West End play turn in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Imelda Staunton. And, as previously announced, the major revival of Tony Kushner’s AIDS-era trilogy, Angels in America, with a cast including Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane.
Acclaimed writer and director Yaёl Farber returns to the National with the European premiere of Salomé, while co-productions with Headlong, Fuel, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Out of Joint and Improbable and are among the collaborations with theatre companies from across the UK.
Other leading actors so far cast across 2017 productions on the South Bank include Olivia Colman, Tamsin Greig, Denise Gough, Russell Tovey, James McArdle, Susan Brown, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Daniel Rigby, Tamara Lawrence, Doon Mackichan and Daniel Ezra.
In addition, 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 2017. Saint 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.
In the Olivier
Twelfth Night – 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.
Salomé – 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. Part of the 2017 Travelex £15 ticket season.
Common – The world premiere of DC Moore’s new play, directed by Jeremy Herrin (People, Places and Things, The Plough and the Stars). 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, part of the 2017 Travelex £15 ticket season.
Follies – With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Goldman, Follies comes to the NT for the first time later 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.
In the Lyttelton
Ugly Lies the Bone – In March 2017, Lindsey Ferrentino’s play receives its European premiere. 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.
Angels in America – As previously announced, in May 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 Graham; Puppets and movement Finn Caldwell; Music Adrian Sutton; Sound Designer Ian Dickinson and Illusions Chris Fisher.
In the Dorfman
Us/Them – Following its acclaimed and sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe, BRONKS brings Us/Them to the NT in January 2017. During a siege at a school in Beslan terrorists chose a group of children as their victims. Us/Them is not a straightforward account, instead it explores 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 the adults around them. Presented by BRONKS and Richard Jordan Productions in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth, Big in Belgium and Summerhall.
Dublin Oldschool – A play about brothers, Dublin and dance music, Emmet Kirwan’s Dublin Oldschool snaps, crackles, raps and rhymes. It features high octane performances by Emmet Kirwan and Ian Lloyd Anderson, and is directed by Phillip McMahon. Playing from January, presented by Project Arts Centre in association with Soho Theatre, supported by Culture Ireland.
Lost Without Words – A co-production with Improbable, opening in the Dorfman Theatre in March. This theatrical experiment sees Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson work with older actors in their seventies and eighties, who will improvise on stage without a script.
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 project 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 – The world premiere of Nina Raine’s new play, a co-production with Out of Joint, opening in April.Consent explores questions of law, justice and forgiveness. It’s directed by Roger Michell.
Barber Shop Chronicles – Inua Ellams’ new play has its world premiere at the National Theatre in June before moving to West Yorkshire Playhouse in July. Barber Shop Chronicles unfolds in a succession of barber shops across Africa and the UK. Directed by Bijan Sheibani, it’s a co-production with Fuel and West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Mosquitoes – Another world premiere in the Dorfman Theatre in July. Rufus Norris will direct Lucy Kirkwood’s new play about families and particle physics, with a cast that includes Olivia Colman. Mosquitoes is presented by special arrangement with Manhattan Theatre Club.
National Theatre Live
The following four productions will be broadcast by NT Live this year and in 2017:
- 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 will also broadcast Twelfth Night, Salomé and Angels in America. Dates to follow.