Alistair McGowan will return to the Park Theatre, where he starred as Jimmy Savile earlier this year, to lead the cast of amnesia drama 4000 Days as part of the Finsbury Park venue’s 2016 season.
Spanning the first five months of next year, the newly announced programme will also include a musical inspired by The Beggar’s Opera and new plays by Yes, Prime Minister’s Jonathan Lynn and Bruntwood Prize winner Gareth Farr. All three productions will receive their world premieres in the venue’s largest auditorium, Park200.
Actor and impressionist McGowan will kick off the season, leading the cast of Olivier Award-nominated writer Peter Quilter’s play 4000 Days (14 January to 13 February).
The story of a man who wakes from a coma to discover that 4000 days of his memory have been completely erased marks McGowan’s return to the venue following this summer’s An Audience With Jimmy Savile.
The Patriotic Traitor (17 February to 19 March) will follow. The extraordinary true story of Charles de Gaulle and Philippe Pétain, who loved each other like father and son but found themselves on opposing sides in World War II, will be brought to life in a production written and directed by BAFTA-winning comedy writer Lynn.
Don’t Sleep There Are Snakes (22 March to 23 April), the latest offering from acclaimed ensemble Simple8, will also get its world premiere next year. Written by Sebastian Armesto and Dudley Hinton, it charts the story of linguist and missionary Daniel Everett as he’s sent to the jungle to learn the language of a remote Amazonian tribe and convert them to Christianity.
Audiences are told to expect “reckless abandonment of political correctness and some top class tunes” from Dougal Irvine’s new musical The Buskers Opera (28 April to 5 June). Set in London on the night before the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, it charts the story of a group of performers – the 99percenters – as they gather to protest against the games.
Farr, the award-winning writer behind Britannia Waves The Rules, will present The Quiet House from 7 June to 8 July. An exploration of infertility and the taboo that surrounds it, the play follows an ordinary couple on an extraordinary journey as they enter the world of IVF treatment.
While theatregoers have four world premieres to look forward to in the Park200, the venue’s more intimate Park 90 will welcome a host of productions including tales about Nell Gwyn, Bill Clinton and Marilyn Monroe.
The Restoration Of Nell Gwyn (26 January to 20 February) will bring the story of King Charles II’s mistress to the stage in a production full of bawdy wit, Hello Norma Jeane (23 February to 19 March) charts the tale of an Essex grandmother set to reveal she’s Marilyn Monroe alive and well after faking her death, and Bill Clinton Hercules (17 May to 11 June), which plays in a double bill with 2008 Edinburgh Fringe hit Absolution, sees the former US President wanting to make a comeback.
Other highlights in the Park90 include Apartheid-era drama African Gothic (23 December to 23 January), Beacons (22 March to 16 April), a magical play about love, loss and midnight ice cream, SKET (19 April to 14 May), the story of six young adults and the minefield of technological advances, and Happy To Help (12 June to 9 July), a dark comedy about the supermarket industry.
Talking about the season, the Park’s Artistic Director Jez Bond said: “At Park Theatre we are committed to presenting world class theatre, and collaborating with the finest existing and emerging talent right in the heart of Finsbury Park. Our last season delivered phenomenal successes with sell out runs for new plays The Gathered Leaves and An Audience With Jimmy Savile, and I’m confident that this new season of work will challenge, entertain and stimulate audiences old and new.”
Bond also announced today that in addition to a new scheme – Park Young Patrons – encouraging young people to engage with the venue’s work, a dedicated box office will be introduced in the foyer to improve the ticket buying process at the venue.