Rupert Goold’s inaugural season as Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre will continue this spring with the UK premieres of two visions of the future penned by acclaimed playwrights Mike Bartlett and Anne Washburn.
Goold will reunite with Earthquakes In London playwright Bartlett to direct the controversial King Charles III from 3 April to 31 May, before Robert Icke directs the European premiere of American playwright Washburn’s dystopian drama Mr Burns from 5 June to 19 July.
Described as “a future history play”, King Charles III imagines the life of the future monarch, set as Prince Charles ascends the throne after a lifetime of waiting. Questioning exactly how the king should rule, Bartlett’s drama looks beneath the crown to explore the conscience of Britain’s most famous family and the unwritten rules of our democracy.
King Charles III will be the first time the Olivier Award-winning playwright’s work has been seen at the intimate Islington venue following a string of hits at the Royal Court Theatre including Cock, Love, Love, Love and Contractions, and his acclaimed work alongside Goold on Earthquakes In London and Decade.
Continuing the season’s theme of imagined futures, Mr Burns presents a vision of a post-apocalyptic America where the retelling of a much-loved episode of The Simpsons has been handed down by generations of survivors, reshaped over the years as it becomes mythology.
Questioning whether the stories we tell make us the people we are, Washburn’s drama was declared a hit when it opened in New York last autumn. The New York Times warned audiences should “get ready to reel”, commenting: “Anne Washburn’s downright brilliant Mr Burns has arrived to leave you dizzy with the scope and dazzle of its ideas.” Variety called it a “refreshingly original take on the fast-growing genre of the post-apocalyptic play”.
The production will continue the Almeida’s connection with Goold’s preview position as Artistic Director of Headlong Theatre, with the newly appointed Almeida Associate Director Icke returning to the theatre to direct following his work on Headlong’s current Almeida production, 1984.