Anna Chancellor will star in Rory Mullarkey’s new play The Wolf From The Door as part of the Royal Court’s autumn season, which Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone promises will be “all about revolution, active resistance and how we can make change happen”.
Other highlights of the season, which Featherstone described as “a cry against apathy [and] our inability to have any effect on democracy” at today’s press conference, include a new collaboration from John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, and a family adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Twits.
The Wolf From The Door kicks off the season in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs from 10 September (press night 15 September) to 1 November. Four Weddings And A Funeral actress Chancellor, who was nominated for an Olivier Award earlier this year for her performance in Private Lives, will take on the role of Catherine in the production. The 2014 Pinter Commission, which is directed by James Macdonald, imagines a wild road trip across Middle England where Lady Catherine and her protégée Leo enlist every tearoom, hot yoga class and WI group to change the country forever.
The production will run alongside the deliberately misspelled Teh Internet Is Serious Business in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs. Written by Tim Price and directed by Hamish Pirie, the show tells a fictional tale based on the true story of Anonymous and LulzSec, the collective swarm that took on the most powerful capitalist forces from the comfort of their bedrooms. Following the story of a 16-year-old school boy and an 18-year-old recluse who meet online and pick a fight with the FBI, Teh Internet Is Serious Business will play from 17 September (press night 23 September) to 25 October.
Fresh from his success with the current West End production of 1984, Duncan Macmillan will join forces with climate scientist Chris Rapley to present 2071 in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from 5 November (press night 6 November) to 15 November.
Directed by Katie Mitchell, who previously worked with scientist Stephen Emmott on 2012’s Ten Billion, 2071 places science centre stage and asks what do we owe future generations and how can we protect our children and grandchildren?
From 12 November (press nights 19 and 20 November) to 20 December, Molly Davies’ God Bless The Child will play in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs. Set in a primary school, the Featherstone-directed production, which is inspired by Davies’ experience of working in the classroom, tells the story of class 4N as they try to fight against the new world of rules and regulations intended to pacify them.
For the festive season Let The Right One In duo Thorne and Tiffany will reunite to present Hope in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from 26 November to 10 January. An urgent political play attacking the squeeze on local government, Hope charts the story of council leaders Mark and Hilary as they’re about to discover how to save 22 million pounds.
Moving into the New Year, Diana Nneka Atouna’s Alfred Fagon Award-winning drama Liberian Girl will play in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs from 7 January (press night 13 January) to 31 January.
The first play by Nneka Atouna, Liberian Girl tells a teenage girl’s story of survival and is based on the Civil War in Liberia that claimed 200,000 lives and saw 15,000 children recruited into Small Boys Units between 1989 and 2003.
Matthew Dunster’s production of Liberian Girl will be followed by Zinnie Harris’ How To Hold Your Breath, which plays in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from 4 February (press night 10 February) to 21 March. Directed by Featherstone, the play takes an epic look at the cost of true principles and how we live now through the story of a seemingly innocent one night stand.
Completing the season is a mischievous adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Twits. Adapted by Enda Walsh and directed by Tiffany, the much-loved tale about a horrible couple and their family of monkeys will play from 7 April (press night 14 April) to 31 May in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs. The production, which Featherstone describes as “wild and anarchic”, will contribute to the Royal Court’s interest in attracting a younger audience to the venue.
Also announced today was a project that sees six Royal Court playwrights team up with six journalists from The Guardian to make a 90-second filmed theatrical event in response to the question ‘Is there such a thing as identity?’ in a week. The Sloane Square venue will also establish a three-year residency in Pimlico and Tottenham, where writers, directors and producers will work with the local communities to create work, develop workshops and present shows.
At today’s press conference, Featherstone paraphrased the words of actor and director George Devine to encapsulate the Royal Court’s place in theatre. She said: “For the Royal Court to remain relevant, it has to be constantly aware of the changing contexts and truths in society and in our lives. If the Royal Court did that single thing and enabled the playwrights to be at the forefront of that it would always be an important place in our very competitive environment.”
Featherstone follows her first year at the helm of the venue, which she described as an “extraordinary adventure”, with plays that are “provocative, diverse and timely”. Talking about the upcoming season, she said: “We didn’t set out to create a season of work with a theme but could not ignore the message coming from our playwrights. Individually they are asking the necessary questions of humanity, government and society and collectively they have made their response to the moment we are in very clear.”