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National stages Boo novel

First Published 10 May 2013, Last Updated 13 May 2013

Rufus Norris will direct a new stage adaptation of Katherine Boo’s acclaimed novel Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death And Hope In A Mumbai Undercity at the National Theatre next year.

Adapted for the stage by playwright David Hare, Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death And Hope In A Mumbai Undercity offers an intimate non-fictional account of life in the slums of Annawadi, bringing together the tale of Abdul, a Muslim teenager who sees potential in the rubbish surrounding him, and Asha, a woman with deep scars from her childhood who imagines a bright future for her daughter, with the wider stories of religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy that rock the city.

Described by The Daily Mail’s Baz Bamigboye as a “true-life Slumdog Millionaire play”, The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death And Hope In A Mumbai Undercity is set to open in the National’s Olivier theatre in autumn 2014.

Director Norris, who recently enjoyed success with his West End production of Cabaret, is well known to the South Bank venue having directed the critically acclaimed musical London Road, 2009’s Death And The King’s Horseman, current production Table, which was the first show to open in the National’s new temporary venue The Shed, and The Amen Corner, which will open in the Olivier theatre next month.

An Associate Director of the National Theatre, Hare has seen many of his plays produced at the acclaimed venue. Since 1987, when Plenty became the first of his plays to be staged at the NT, many of his works including Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges, The Absence Of War, Gethsemane and The Power Of Yes have made their way to the South Bank venue’s stages.

The announcement of the playwright’s forthcoming adaptation comes following the recent success of another National Theatre hit that is based on an award-winning novel. Marianne Elliott’s Olivier Award-winning production of Mark Haddon’s hugely popular novel The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time has recently extended its booking period at the Apollo theatre to October 2014.


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