A septet of stars, including Jude Law, Judi Dench and Daniel Radcliffe, will appear in a season of London work offering 100,000 tickets at just £10.
The first season programmed by the newly-formed Michael Grandage Company, which will also star Simon Russell Beale, Sheridan Smith, David Walliams and Ben Whishaw, runs at the Noël Coward theatre from December 2012 until February 2014.
The exciting season of five productions doesn’t stray too far from the principles that made Grandage such a success at the Donmar Warehouse, which he ran for a decade, and with his Donmar West End season, mixing classic work with the occasional piece of new writing and focussing on making the productions as accessible as possible.
Multi Olivier Award-winner Beale opens the season in a revival of Peter Nichols’ comedy Privates On Parade (1 December 2012 to 2 March 2013), playing the cross-dressing Captain Terri Dennis in the tale of an armed forces Song and Dance Unit in South East Asia. The comic turn follows a serious summer for the London stage regular, which will see him playing the title role in Timon Of Athens at the National Theatre.
Acting royalty Dench and star of The Hour Whishaw will play Alice Liddell Hargreaves and Peter Llewelyn Davies in Peter And Alice (9 March to 1 June), a new play by John Logan exploring a meeting between the real life inspirations for Alice In Wonderland and Peter Pan. The play is the first from Logan since his Tony Award-winning Red premiered at the Donmar Warehouse in 2009.
Harry Potter star Radcliffe returns to the London stage for the first time since appearing in Equus in 2007 to lead the cast of Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy The Cripple Of Inishmaan (8 June to 31 August). The Woman In Black actor will play the title character, a young man desperate to break away from the tedium of daily life, who hears about a Hollywood film being made on a neighbouring Irish island.
Double Olivier Award-winner Smith and Little Britain star Walliams will flex their comic muscles in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, playing queen of the fairies Titania and Bottom from 7 September to 16 November, while Hollywood star Law will reunite with Grandage for a second Shakespearean production, Henry V, which closes the season, running from 23 November 2013 to 15 February 2014.
Speaking about the season, Artistic Director Grandage, who will direct all five productions, and Executive Producer James Bierman, commented: “We are delighted to announce the inaugural season of work for the Michael Grandage Company – a programme comprised of new writing alongside the classical and 20th century repertoire. At its heart is a commitment to reach out to as wide an audience as possible with over 200 tickets for each performance at £10 and through our schools’ and access work we aim to appeal to new theatregoers and help build audiences for the future. This unique West End season brings together writers, actors and other artists in a single venture over 15 months dedicated to presenting work of the highest quality at affordable prices.”
In addition to renewing his commitment to making theatre affordable, which was previously seen when Grandage programmed 2009’s Donmar West End season at the Wyndham’s theatre with the same pricing structure as the intimate Donmar Warehouse, the season of work also picks up the passion for aiding young theatre professionals previously seen at the Donmar. Each show in the season will offer opportunities for young directors and designers to become involved as associates. More information about working with the company can be found at www.michaelgrandagecompany.com
The season of Grandage-directed shows opens at the Noël Coward theatre following a packed summer at the venue which features current epic production Gatz, which tells the story of The Great Gatsby over the course of eight hours, and the Royal Shakespeare Company transfers of Julius Caesar and Much Ado About Nothing.