Artistic Director Edward Hall is continuing his revitalisation of the Hampstead theatre with a forthcoming season that features new plays by Simon Stephens, Steve Thompson, Nicholas Wright and Richard Nelson.
Hall, whose tenure at the North London venue began last year with a programme that included work by Athol Fugard and Mike Leigh, has also lined up the heavyweight talents of directors Richard Eyre, Roger Michell and Katie Mitchell for the new season.
Hall himself directs the first world premiere in the new programme, No Naughty Bits (8 September to 15 October), by Whipping It Up and Damages playwright Thompson.
Based on a real event, No Naughty Bits tells of what happened when a series of Monty Python skits were aired on American network television for the first time, with all the naughty bits cut out. Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin take on the networks and the American courts as they try to explain English humour and keep the rude bits in.
No Naughty Bits is followed by Wright’s new play The Last Of The Duchess (20 October to 26 November), based on a book by Caroline Blackwood, about the last years in the life of Wallis Simpson and her relationship with formidable French attorney Maitre Suzanne Blum.
The Last Of The Duchess is directed by Eyre, who previously directed Wright’s plays The Reporter and Vincent In Brixton, which won the 2003 Best New Play Olivier Award.
Playwright Stephens (Punk Rock, Motortown, Harper Regan) brings his darkly comic new play The Trial Of Ubu to Hampstead theatre from 18 January to 18 February 2012. The play, which explores the legitimacy of international law in the face of defendants utterly opposed to the morality it represents, sees Stephens reunite with director Katie Mitchell, who is directing his Wastwater at the Royal Court later this month. Mitchell’s often controversial work includes The City at the Royal Court and The Seagull, Attempts On Her Life and …Some Trace Of Her at the National Theatre.
The quartet of new plays concludes with Nelson’s Farewell To The Theatre, directed by Michell from 1 March to 7 April 2012. A portrait of Shakespearean actor-manager Harley Granville-Barker, Nelson’s play is set in 1916 Massachusetts when the world-weary impresario is struggling to rediscover his love of theatre.
Playwright Nelson is the author of works including James Joyce’s The Dead and Goodnight Children Everywhere, which won the 2000 Best New Play Olivier Award. Director Michell’s recent work includes The Female Of The Species in the West End, Betrayal at the Donmar Warehouse and Landscape With Weapon at the National Theatre.
Sandwiched between the new productions, Melly Still and Tim Supple’s Beasts And Beauties, a collection of grisly fairytales which proved popular last festive season, will return to Hampstead this Christmas from 1 December to 7 January.
Currently playing at Hampstead theatre is Leigh’s Ecstasy, which closes on 9 April. A residency by the Royal Shakespeare Company and two productions by Hall’s theatre company Propeller see the theatre through to the autumn.