facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11
Are you missing theatre as much as we are? Support us now with Theatre Tokens and see your favourite shows when they reopen. #IMissTheatre

Hot summer season at the National

First Published 17 April 2008, Last Updated 21 April 2008

Ian Rickson is to direct Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse in the National’s Lyttelton theatre this July. Other highlights in the summer season, announced today, include Thea Sharrock’s production of The Emperor Jones, a new version of Victoria Benedictsson’s The Enchantment and a new play by Matt Charman.

Rickson, who recently departed the Royal Court where he had been Artistic Director since 1998, returns to the National to direct Pinter’s darkly comic play The Hothouse, which opens on 18 July (previews from 11 July). Set in a menacing state institution, The Hothouse is a sinister portrayal of government control. Pinter wrote it in 1958, just before The Caretaker, but did not allow it to be published nor performed until many years later. It received its stage premiere at the Hampstead in 1980, transferring to the Ambassadors, and was revived at the Comedy in 1995, when Pinter himself starred in the lead role.

This new production stars Stephen Moore, recently seen in the National’s production of The History Boys in the West End (which is embarking on another UK tour this autumn), frequent National collaborator Paul Ritter, who is currently in The Reporter in the Cottesloe, Lia Williams, whose credits include Mappa Mundi at the National and As You Like It in the RSC’s 2005/06 London season, plus Leo Bill, Finbar Lynch and Henry Woolf.

In the Olivier, The Emperor Jones, by Eugene O’Neill, opens on 28 August (previews from 22 August), in repertoire with Marianne Elliott’s production of Saint Joan, which was previously announced. Both are part of the Travelex £10 season.

The Emperor Jones is directed by Thea Sharrock, director of recent West End hits A Voyage Round My Father and Equus, and former Artistic Director of the Gate, where this production of The Emperor Jones ran in 2005. Sharrock now reconceives her production for the National, with Paterson Joseph – who also stars in Saint Joan – reprising his performance in the title role.

Southern American ex-convict Brutus Jones, aided by his double-crossing British ally Smithers, connives his way into an uncompromising dictatorship over a remote island in the West Indies. Faced with a terrifying people’s revolt, the delusional 'Emperor' escapes to the forest, but in the searing heat Jones is driven to make his way through every lead bullet in his gun, right down to the silver one he is saving for himself.

Two new productions are to premiere in the Cottesloe. Firstly, opening on 20 June (previews from 13 June), is a new play by NT writer-in-residence Matt Charman, The Five Wives Of Maurice Pinder. A provocative look at married life and the alternatives, the story centres on Rowena, young, nervous and pregnant, who is welcomed into the family fold of Maurice, his three wives and teenage son. Soon, her presence has the family questioning the nature of their delicate balance.

The cast includes Sorcha Cusack (The Playboy Of The Western World at the National in 2001), Larry Lamb (Fool For Love at the Apollo), Adam Gillen, Carla Henry, Clare Holman, Martina Laird, Tessa Peake-Jones and Steve John Shepherd.

The second new play in the Cottesloe is The Enchantment, by 19th century Swedish novelist and playwright Victoria Benedictsson, in a new version by Clare Bayley, opening on 1 August (previews from 24 July).

Set in Paris, artist and philanderer Gustave Alland visits Louise Strindberg, who is convalescing in her brother’s studio, and casts her effortlessly under his spell. In a vain attempt to escape she exiles herself to Sweden, but a letter propels her back to Paris and into his arms.

The Enchantment is directed by Paul Miller, Artistic Associate at the Bush. His credits include Elling and Total Eclipse, which are currently running at the Bush and the Menier Chocolate Factory respectively.

The National’s summer plans include the annual Watch This Space free outdoor festival, which takes place on the square outside the National, this year from 6 July – 16 September. A full schedule of events will be released shortly.

Booking for all new productions opens on 24 May.

CB

Share

Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.