The Almeida Theatre has today announced a new season and a major new digital film project exploring leadership in crisis and the power of words, starring Ben Whishaw, Aisling Loftus and Matthew Needham.
The previously-announced Hamlet is set to take centre stage at the venue in early 2017, with Sherlock star Andrew Scott in the renowned eponymous role and direction from Robert Icke. The Shakespearean classic plays from Friday 17 to Saturday 8 April.
The new season thence opens with The Treatment, Martin Crimp’s contemporary satire, which receives its first London revival after 24 years. A New York film studio becomes a battleground for the rights to a young woman’s urgent story, and the truth becomes a dangerous commodity to exploit in a land where people are products and movies are money.
Directed by Olivier Award winner Lyndsey Turner (Chimerica at the Almeida), casting includes Aisling Loftus (War And Peace, Mr Selfridge) as Anne and Matthew Needham (Endeavour, Sherlock, and Imogen at Shakespeare’s Globe) as Simon, The Treatment plays from 24 April, with press night on 28 April, and continues at the venue until Saturday 10 June.
This is followed by Ink, a new play by James Graham (writer of This House, Finding Neverland and Coalition). Directed by Almeida Artistic Director Rupert Goold (Richard III, American Psycho), the drama explores the birth of this country’s most influential paper, The Sun.
Delving into the mythical world of Fleet Street in the 1960s and centring on a young and rebellious Rupert Murdoch pursuing, against all odds, the opportunity to give the people what they want, the production opens on Saturday 17 June (press night on 27 June), and plays until Saturday 5 August.
Stage and screen star Ben Whishaw, perhaps best known for his role as Q in the James Bond films, then makes an eagerly anticipated return to the Almeida in Against, a gripping new play about how we come to know ourselves honestly by Christopher Shinn (Teddy Ferrara), directed by Ian Rickson (Parlour Song).
Transporting audiences to the futuristic world of Luke, an aerospace billionaire, the show follows his efforts to change the world – but God is talking to him, and only violence stands in his way. Performances begin on Saturday 12 August, with press night on 23 August, and end on Saturday 30 September.
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.
Additionally, 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, on Sunday 19 and Sunday 26 March at 6pm. The show is an ode to the impermanence of personhood, procrastination, and the presence of absence on the haunted stage.
Meanwhile, 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.
Rupert Goold, Almeida Artistic Director 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.
“It is up to us who hear these words, and watch these plays, to discover the truth.”
Tickets for The Treatment and Ink go on sale to the public on Thursday 2 February, with priority booking open to Almeida Members at Designers’ Circle level and above on Tuesday 24 January. Tickets for Against will go on sale in May with a priority booking period for members ahead of public booking.
For more information on the season, visit the venue’s website.
"It is up to us who hear these words, and watch these plays, to discover the truth.”