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National Theatre announces star-studded 2012

Published 25 January 2012

The National Theatre has revealed its plans for 2012 with a stellar line-up including Adrian Lester, Julie Walters, Cillian Murphy and Rory Kinnear amongst the talent taking to one of the three stages at the prestigious venue.

Season highlights include adaptations of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time and The Count Of Monte Cristo, new plays The Last Of The Haussmans and This House, a production of Othello which will see the pairing of Lester in the title role and Kinnear as Iago, and a new outdoor festival for the summer months.

Two past NT productions that started life in the venue’s smallest space, the Cottesloe, will transfer to the Olivier theatre for limited runs, with John Hodge’s Collaborators opening the Olivier’s new season in May and the Critics’ Circle Award-winning musical London Road being revived in July.

Don Taylor’s new version of Sophocles’s Antigone will follow the revivals in the Olivier. The Greek myth, which will open on 30 May, will be directed by Polly Findlay who makes her Olivier directorial debut with the production. The season will continue in July when National Theatre Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner will direct Simon Russell Beale in Timon Of Athens as part of the World Shakespeare Festival.

November will see Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s Artistic Director Timothy Sheader make his NT debut with Richard Bean’s new adaptation of The Count Of Monte Cristo. The production, which Hytner, speaking today at the press conference, described as: “one of the greatest stories” will be given a contemporary twist for families, following in the footsteps of past NT family productions War Horse and His Dark Materials.

The Olivier’s high profile line-up will continue in spring 2013 when Antony Sher will be directed by former RSC Artistic Director Adrian Noble in the previously announced The Captain Of Köpenick, and Hytner will direct Lester and Kinnear in Shakespeare’s Othello.

Theatregoers will once again have the chance to watch plays in the Olivier for just £12 as 2012 marks the tenth Travelex Tickets season at the venue. Hytner also confirmed today the discount ticket scheme will run for at least another three years.

The Lyttelton theatre season will open on 18 April with Enda Walsh’s Misterman starring The Wind That Shakes The Barley star Cillian Murphy. The one-man show transfers to the NT after critically-acclaimed runs in New York and Ireland.

In June, Olivier Award-winning director Howard Davies will direct Walters, Kinnear and Helen McCrory in Stephen Beresford’s new play The Last Of The Haussmans. The director will also return to the venue in March 2013 to direct Gorky’s Children Of The Sun.

Following The Last Of The Haussmans, Nadia Fall, former NT Staff Director, will present Bernard Shaw’s The Doctor’s Dilemma from July.

The Lyttelton season also includes Alan Bennett’s previously announced new play People in October. Hytner explained the venue was attempting to keep all details of the production under wraps with the director only admitting: “It’s a contemporary play. You will not be surprised to hear that I love it. I howled with laughter when I read it. It’s funny and it’s got lots to say and it’s touching.”

The NT’s Cottesloe space will see Inua Ellams return to the venue in April for Fuel’s Black T-Shirt Collection in April, while May sees the UK premiere of Lisa D’Amour’s Detroit. The drama will be directed by Austin Pendleton who directed the original production for Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company last year with Hytner describing it as: “as vivid a look at a corner of current middle America as you’re likely to see”.

July will see NT regular Marianne Elliott direct Una Stubbs, Luke Treadaway and Nicola Walker in The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time. Based on the best-selling novel by Mark Haddon, the production has been adapted for stage by playwright Simon Stephens.

In September, Jeremy Herrin will direct a new play by James Graham called This House, before Rupert Goold returns to the venue after 2010’s Earthquakes In London to direct a new play by Enron writer Lucy Prebble, in a co-production with Headlong. The show will play in November but no other details have yet been announced.

Katie Mitchell will return to the venue in December with a new production of Hansel And Gretel for children aged four to seven years old. The director, best known for her unique use of multimedia and boundary pushing style, has directed successful productions of The Cat In The Hat and Beauty And The Beast for the NT’s younger audience in past years. While this will be the last production in the Cottesloe before the space closes in early 2013 for redevelopment prior to reopening as the Dorfman space, Hytner confirmed today that the NT will continue to programme shows for three spaces, with a temporary venue to be confirmed.

The Southbank venue also announced today a new outdoor festival entitled National Theatre Inside Out in order “to focus our London 2012 energy on the river bank”. Running from 2 June to 9 September, activities normally conducted inside the venue will spill out onto the terraces and squares surrounding the building, with a packed programme of free activities. A new riverfront café bar will invite passers-by into a setting inspired by the backstage theatre world, while a pop-up space on the terrace balcony will offer family-friendly activities. The annual Watch This Space festival will return for 2012 to showcase the best of national and international outdoor performance with new work from The Gandinis, Circus Space, Square Peg and Upswing confirmed. Two of the NT’s associate companies, non zero one and Made in China, will also perform specially commissioned works as part of the festival.

Hytner told press today that over the next three years the venue expects its work to be seen by over three million people. This is partly due to NT productions including Travelling Light, One Man Two Guvnors (with a new cast yet to be announced) and War Horse embarking on UK tours, and the venues continued NT Live initiative which seems live cinema broadcasts of the theatre’s productions in over 130 UK cinemas and 600 more abroad.

With its packed schedule, high-profile casting and successful productions of War Horse and One Man, Two Guvnors in the West End, Hytner today said the venue was optimistic about attracting audiences during the Olympic period, saying: “We’re putting our big popular best foot forward [with War Horse and One Man, Two Guvnors]. And here at the National…It’s a pretty strong rep, I don’t think we’re going to have a problem.”



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