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Richard Eyre at the 2014 Olivier Awards with MasterCard (Photo: Alastair Muir)

Richard Eyre at the 2014 Olivier Awards with MasterCard (Photo: Alastair Muir)

Eyre and Icke bring classics to Almeida

First Published 4 September 2015, Last Updated 4 September 2015

Acclaimed directors Richard Eyre and Robert Icke will return to London’s Almeida Theatre this winter to direct new productions of Ibsen’s Little Eyolf and Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya.

The pair previously scored successes at the lauded Islington venue with the Olivier Award-winning Ghosts (Eyre) and Oresteia (Icke), which has recently transferred to the West End’s Trafalgar Studios.

Eyre’s new version of Little Eyolf, which runs from 19 November, will star Lydia Leonard, who recently received a Tony Award nomination for her performance as Anne Boleyn in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies.

Leonard is joined in the production by Jolyon Coy, who previously worked with Eyre on the BBC’s The Hollow Crown season, Peaky Blinders’ Sam Hazeldine, Shakespeare In Love’s Eve Ponsonby and Eileen Walsh (Lippy, Young Vic).

Little Eyolf tells the story of Alfred Allmers, who decides to set aside his writing to dedicate himself to raising his son. But a single event changes his life irrevocably.

Icke’s new version of Uncle Vanya, which runs from 5 February, stars Paul Rhys making his Almeida Theatre debut in the title role.

The star of TV series The Assets and Borgia, who previously won the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Performance in a Shakespearean Role for his performance in the National Theatre and Complicite’s Measure For Measure, will lead the cast of Chekhov’s late masterpiece which examines human behaviour in all its wonderful contradiction.

Following his ground-breaking work bringing new perspective to 1984 and Oresteia, theatregoers will be hoping for a scintillating new version of Chekhov’s much-loved classic from Almeida Associate Director Icke.

Speaking about the season, Almeida Theatre Artistic Director Rupert Goold said: “We follow our Almeida Greeks with a double-header of late nineteenth-century masterpieces by two of the world’s most important and influential playwrights. Written less than five years apart, these plays offer startlingly fresh reflections on our lives and our theatre – and how we can understand them.”

The new season of more modern classics follows the Almeida’s summer/autumn Greeks season, which featured Icke’s hit Oresteia, the Ben Whishaw and Bertie Carvel-led Bakkhai currently playing, and the final production, Medea, which runs from 25 September.

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