Dominic Cooke, Artistic Director of the Royal Court theatre, will reunite with playwright Bruce Norris to direct new play Clybourne Park as part of the Sloane Square venue’s autumn season which was announced today.
Hoping to follow the success of last year’s award-winning season, the Royal Court’s 2010 autumn season consists of six new plays by both emerging and established playwrights, including five world premieres.
Joining Anthony Neilson’s previously announced Get Santa! in the Royal Court Downstairs, Clybourne Park opens on 2 September, with previews from 26 August. Inspired by Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin In The Sun, Norris’s satirical play explores the fault line between race and property. In 1959 Russ and Bev sell their desirable two-bed house at a knockdown price, allowing the first black family to move into the neighbourhood. The new arrivals cause a ripple of discontent amongst the cosy white urbanites of Clybourne Park. In 2009, the same property is bought by Lindsay and Steve whose plan to raze the house and start again is met with a similar response. Are the issues festering beneath the floorboards still the same fifty years on?
Cooke and Norris worked together in 2007 at the Royal Court on The Pain And The Itch, which marked Cooke’s first play as Artistic Director. Norris’s other plays include The Infidel, Purple Hearts and The Unmentionables. Cooke’s director credits at the Royal Court include Aunt Dan And Lemon, The Fever and Wig Out!.
Following Norris’s satire, award-winning playwright Nina Raine’s Tribes opens on 20 October, with previews from 14 October. The drama tells the story of one boy’s fiercely intelligent and proudly unconventional family. Loud and argumentative, they are their own empire. But Billy, who is deaf, is one of the only family members who actually listens. When he meets Sylvia he finally wants to be heard, but can he get a word in edgeways?
Raine, who won the Charles Wintour Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright for her debut play Rabbit, is also a director and worked last at the Royal Court directing Shades in 2009.
Roger Michell will return to the Royal Court, after starting his career as an Assistant Director at the venue in 1978, to direct Tribes. His stage credits include Rope, The Female Of The Species and My Night With Reg. Well known for his work on screen, his film credits include Venus, Enduring Love and Notting Hill.
The Royal Court Upstairs season opens with Wanderlust by Nick Payne, a graduate of the theatre’s Young Writers’ Programme. Making his Royal Court debut, Payne’s frank, compassionate and open play about sex and love centres on GP Joy who has lost all interest in sex, while sex is all her husband Alan and teenage son Tim can think about.
Wanderlust, which opens on 15 September (previews from 9 September), is directed by Simon Godwin. His stage credits include Far Away at Bristol Old Vic, The Winter’s Tale for Headlong and Nuffield Theatre Southampton and Mister Heracles at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Opening on 25 October, Brett Neveu’s Red Bud tells a very different story about a group of friends who gather in ritual homage each year at the annual Motorcross Championship. An American drama about the creeping spread of middle age, group member Greg used to ride with speed and style, but this year he brings his pregnant wife. With times changing, the haze of beer and smoke can’t disguise their fading friendship.
Chicago-based writer Neveu has worked in the UK with the Royal Shakespeare Company as part of their New Work Festival in 2005. His American stage credits include Old Glory at the Writers’ Theatre, Chicago and American Dead at Rouge Machine in Los Angeles. His London debut is directed by Jo McInnes, who is better known for her work as an actress. Her directing credits include Marine Parade at the Brighton Festival and the BBC drama The Verdict.
Another graduate of the Royal Court’s Young Writers’ Programme, E V Crowe makes her Royal Court debut with boarding school drama Kin. Set in the 1990s, this girls’ boarding school is no Malory Towers. Whilst Mimi learns her lines for John Proctor in the Christmas play, Janey desperately clings on to her best friend status.
Crowe’s play, which opens on 24 November, after previews from 19 November, is directed by the Royal Court’s Deputy Artistic Director Jeremy Herrin. His credits at the venue include the Laurence Olivier Award-winning comedy The Priory, Polly Stenham’s Tusk Tusk and That Face, and The Vertical Hour.
Looking ahead to 2011, Simon Stephens’s (Punk Rock, Sea Wall, Pornography) new play Wastwater will premiere at the theatre. The play will be directed by the multi-media, avant-garde auteur Katie Mitchell whose credits include Pains Of Youth, After Dido, and…Some Trace Of Her. Wastwater will be performed in three parts over the course of one evening, with audiences seeing them in differing orders.