Timon of Athens, directed by National Theatre Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner with Simon Russell Beale in the lead role, is among the classic revivals that, along with several new plays, will join the London theater's ever-evolving repertoire this summer.
Along with Timon, set to open in July, classic revivals include Polly Findlay's production of Sophocles' Antigone, Bijan Sheibani's staging of Damned for Despair by Tirso de Molina, and Nadia Fall's production of Bernard Shaw's The Doctor's Dilemma. The schedule announced this week also includes new plays by Alan Bennett, Stephen Beresford, Lisa D'Amour, James Graham, and Lucy Prebble, adaptations of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Simon Stephens, and of The Count of Monte Cristo by Richard Bean, and the London premiere of Enda Walsh's Misterman.
A number of this summer's repertoire highlights, including Timon, as well as a program of activities for young people and families and new theater commissions, will be part of the London 2012 World Shakespeare Festival, a 12-week nationwide celebration running from June 21 to Sept. 9 bringing together leading artists from across the world.
Between June 2 and Sept. 9, the National will stage National Theatre Inside Out, supported by American Express. Activities normally conducted inside the theater will spill out onto the terraces and squares, with a packed festival program of free activities. A specially designed riverfront café bar will invite passers-by into a setting evoking the backstage world, and a pop-up space on the terrace balcony will offer activities and performances for children and families. In a first for the National, two of its Studio Associate companies, non zero one and Made in China, have been invited to create site-specific work to be performed on and around the building.
The next three years will offer audiences worldwide unprecedented access to the National's work. Through youth participation, touring, transfers, overseas productions and broadcast, the theater expects its annual audience to exceed 3 million by 2014. War Horse, in addition to a U.S. tour, will embark on a nine-month tour of UK cities in autumn 2013; a second tour of One Man, Two Guvnors will visit England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland in autumn 2012. Connections will commission 30 new plays for 600 youth theaters nationwide over the next three years. National Theatre Live broadcasts to 700 screens, including the upcoming Comedy of Errors and Timon of Athens, have to-date played to 600,000 people worldwide,. Access to NT work on and offstage is also provided through free digital content; the NT's iTunes U platform has achieved more than 1 million views and downloads in its first six months.
As part of its 2012 unveiling, National Theatre also announced that Travelex had renewed its sponsorship of the Travelex Tickets season at NT's Olivier Theatre through 2015. This year marks the tenth Travelex Tickets season at the National, offering many discounted seats for the plays in the largest of the National's South Bank Complex theaters. The first new production for the 2012 Travelex season, opening May 30, will be Sophocles' Antigone, in a version by Don Taylor, directed by Polly Findlay. The season will continue in July with Timon of Athens, part of the World Shakespeare Festival, and culminate in October with Tirso de Molina's Damned for Despair, in a version by Frank McGuinness, directed by Bijan Sheibani.
Also in the Olivier, in November, Timothy Sheader will make his NT directorial debut with Richard Bean's new adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo, based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas. Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork's London Road, winner of the 2011 Critics' Circle Award for Best New Musical, will be revived by Rufus Norris for a short run starting in July. Looking further ahead to 2013, when the National celebrates its 50th anniversary, Antony Sher (currently appearing in Travelling Light) will return to play the title role of The Captain of Köpenick by Carl Zuckmayer, directed by Adrian Noble, opening in January; and later in spring 2013, Hytner will direct Shakespeare's Othello, with Adrian Lester in the title role and Rory Kinnear as Iago.
In the Lyttelton Theatre, Misterman, written and directed by Walsh, will open on April 18 for a limited run; Cillian Murphy will recreate his solo performance in the Landmark Productions/Galway Arts Festival production. In June, Howard Davies directs Julie Walters, Rory Kinnear,and Helen McCrory in a new play, The Last of the Haussmans, by Stephen Beresford, sponsored by Accenture. The Doctor's Dilemma by Bernard Shaw will be directed by Nadia Fall, opening in July. A new play by Alan Bennett, People, will open in late October, directed by Hytner. In March 2013, Howard Davies will direct Gorky's Children of the Sun.
In the Cottesloe Theatre, Inua Ellams returns in April with his new show, Black T-Shirt Collection, presented by Fuel. Detroit by Lisa D'Amour has its UK premiere in May, directed by Austin Pendleton (who directed the original production by Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company last year) with a new London cast. In July, Marianne Elliott directs The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, based on the novel by Mark Haddon, adapted by Simon Stephens; the cast includes Una Stubbs, Luke Treadaway, and Nicola Walker. The production is supported by the National Theatre's Cottesloe Partner, Neptune Investment Management. A new play by James Graham, This House, will be directed by Jeremy Herrin, opening in September.
Away from its London base, the National Theatre's production of Travelling Light by Nicholas Wright will tour the UK from March with the NT cast, led by Antony Sher, visiting Salford, Leeds, Aylesbury, and Newcastle. Following two record-breaking runs at the National and the Adelphi Theatre, Richard Bean's award-winning One Man, Two Guvnors continues its London run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from March 2 with Owain Arthur as Francis Henshall. A second UK tour of the production will visit Leicester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Belfast, Blackpool, Norwich, Leeds, Llandudno, and Salford in autumn 2012, followed by an international tour. Nicholas Hytner's production, with the original principals led by James Corden, Oliver Chris, and Jemima Rooper, opens at Broadway's Music Box Theatre on April 18.
Meanwhile, War Horse will supplement its ongoing run at the New London Theatre with a nine-month UK tour from September 2013, starting in Plymouth. In the United States, as the show continues its run at Lincoln Center Theater in New York, a national tour will take the play to another 20 cities over the next couple of years. The production opens at Toronto's Princess of Wales Theatre in February and in Melbourne at the Arts Centre's State Theatre in December.
The third season of live cinema broadcasts from the National's stages, National Theatre Live, is now reaching more than 700 screens worldwide. Sponsored by Aviva, future screenings will include Travelling Light on Feb. 9, The Comedy of Errors on March 1, and She Stoops to Conquer on March 29. Broadcasts of Timon of Athens and The Last of The Haussmans are slated for the fall.
The National Theatre is supported by Arts Council England.
February 1, 2012