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Matthew Warchus at the Old Vic (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

Matthew Warchus at the Old Vic (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

Fiennes and Spall lead Old Vic season

First Published 20 April 2015, Last Updated 21 April 2015

Ralph Fiennes, Timothy Spall and Rob Brydon will all take to the stage of The Old Vic for Matthew Warchus’ first season as Artistic Director of the famous London venue.

Fiennes, who can currently be seen in Man And Superman at the National Theatre, will star in David Hare’s new adaptation of Ibsen’s The Master Builder early in 2016.

He will be followed by Mr Turner star Spall, who makes a rare foray onto the London stage to star in Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker.

Both will be directed by Warchus.

Gavin And Stacey star Brydon, who will also be part of the newly announced Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company season, leads Warchus’ first show, a new play by Tamsin Oglesby titled Future Conditional that runs from 1 September.

The play will also feature 23 young performers taking on the roles of students, parents and government officials in the story of today’s education system viewed through myriad eyes.

Future Conditional is followed by Eugene O’Neill’s expressionist tale of transatlantic labourer Yank, The Hairy Ape (from 17 October), which will be directed by the acclaimed Richard Jones, who recently won the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera for his work with ENO.

Christmas sees the return of a family show to The Old Vic as David Greig (Charlie And The Chocolate Factory) adapts Dr Seuss’ environmentally aware tale The Lorax (from 2 December) for the stage in a production promising ‘theatrical invention, songs and zany humour’.

The much anticipated reunion of the Matilda The Musical creative team, minus book writer Dennis Kelly, is also due to take place towards the end of Warchus’ first season, as the musical adaptation of time-repeating comedy Groundhog Day is brought to the stage.

Warchus’ inaugural season will branch out, bringing other forms of entertainment back to The Old Vic. Drew McOnie, who is currently choreographing the Lyric Hammersmith’s revival of Bugsy Malone, will create a dance thriller version of Jekyll And Hyde, while a mixture of variety nights will be held on Sundays, opening the stage to comedians, musicians, magicians and more.

If announcing an entire year’s worth of productions was not exciting enough, Warchus’ commitment to new work is very clear from the outset of his Old Vic life. Matilda colleague Kelly is adapting Sophocles’ Theban trilogy for a future season, David Nicholls is adapting At Freddie’s and a new adaptation of Bergman’s Fanny And Alexander is in the pipeline. Richard Bean, Mark Watson and Diana Nneka Atuona are also under commission.

Warchus’ Old Vic has also launched a groundbreaking musical theatre commissioning programme in partnership with commercial producers Scott Rudin and Sonia Friedman, committed to bringing a number of new musicals to the stage over the next five years. Following Groundhog Day, the first may be inspired by Dennis The Menace with a book by Caroline Bird.

Prior to the autumn start of Warchus’ first season, the Old Vic will host the final production of outgoing Artistic Director Kevin Spacey’s tenure at the helm of the iconic venue. The Maria Friedman-directed production of Cole Porter’s feel-good musical High Society runs from 30 April to 22 August.

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