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Lenny Henry stars in Donmar Warehouse 2017 spring season

Published 16 November 2016

The Donmar Warehouse has today announced its new 2017 Spring Season, the ‘Power Season’, starring Lenny Henry in his debut at the venue.

Playwright Steve Waters will return to the Donmar, following his acclaimed play Temple last year, with a searing new drama, Limehouse. Set in 1981, the play imagines in a fictionalised account what happened when the ‘Gang of Four’ met to break from the Labour party and form the SDP. The production is directed by the Olivier Award-winning Polly Findlay, who makes her Donmar debut. 

Following this, Lenny Henry will also make his Donmar debut as Arturo Ui, in Bertolt Brecht’s satirical masterpiece The Resistible Rise Of Arturo Ui, given a new translation by Bruce Norris and directed by Simon Evans.

The season will then close with The Public Administration And Constitutional Affairs Committee Takes Oral Evidence On Whitehall’s Relationship With Kids Company, a new musical with book and lyrics edited from the transcript of a House of Commons Select Committee evidence session by Hadley Fraser and Donmar Artistic Director Josie Rourke. The music is by composer Tom Deering, with direction by Adam Penford. 

The Donmar will continue its YOUNG+FREE ticket scheme into 2017, after a successful launch during the Donmar’s Shakespeare Trilogy at King’s Cross this autumn. The scheme will offer free tickets to those 25 and under, every night across the spring season. YOUNG+FREE is made possible by the generosity of the public through PAY IT FORWARD. In addition, to ensure constant affordable access to the Donmar for everyone, tickets from £10 will be released every Monday at 10am during each production’s run.

Today, the Donmar Warehouse, Clean Break theatre company and York St John’s University’s Prison Partnership Project receive The Longford Prize for work carried out over the last 4 years in women’s prisons and the Donmar’s all-female Shakespeare Trilogy. The Longford Prize recognises the contribution of an individual, group or organisation working in the area of penal or social reform in showing outstanding qualities in the following areas: humanity, courage, persistence and originality – more information can be found at the Prize’s website.

Artistic Director Josie Rourke said. “[Executive Producer] Kate Pakenham and I want the Donmar to step up to what’s happening, and so we have worked with a seriously great group of artists to create the Power Season.

“Here is a new musical and two plays that concern themselves with truth and accountability; democracy and demagoguery; passion, despair and the rebirth of hope. Throughout this season, characters fight for, rise to and exercise their power. In creating the Power Season, we’re trusting that theatre will deploy its power to speak with swift and urgent clarity into the present.”

“Launching the Power Season is Limehouse, a new play from our political history that speaks to our political present…  As the second play in the Power Season, Lenny Henry will then make his Donmar debut in Bertolt Brecht’s satirical masterpiece, The Resistible Rise Of Arturo Ui. The play is a timely comic parable about the rise of a demagogue, and will be given a new translation by Pulitzer-, Olivier- and Tony-award winning American playwright, Bruce Norris.”

“Finally in the Power Season, I have teamed up with Hadley Fraser, an actor I have had the immense pleasure of directing in several shows at the Donmar, including my current production of Saint Joan, along with the dazzling young composer Tom Deering. These two young artists are part of musical theatre’s future.”

Kwame Kwei-Armah, currently directing One Night In Miami… at the venue, will join the venue as an Associate Director.

More information about the season can be found at the venue’s website.

"I want the Donmar to step up to what’s happening, and so we have worked with a seriously great group of artists to create the Power Season."

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