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Donmar Warehouse announces 2017/2018 programme

Ben Batt in The York Realist at the Donmar Warehouse
Ben Batt in The York Realist at the Donmar Warehouse, Photographer Craig Fleming

Artistic Director Josie Rourke and Executive Producer Kate Pakenham announce today three new productions at the Donmar Warehouse for late 2017 and through to 2018: a new play by Amy Herzog, Belleville, a revival of Peter Gill’s modern classic, The York Realist, and a new production of William Congreve’s Restoration comedy The Way of the World.

The Donmar will host the UK premiere of American playwright Amy Herzog’s acclaimed play Belleville. The production will star James Norton and Imogen Poots as New York newlyweds living in Paris, opposite Faith Alabi and Malachi Kirby. Belleville is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst who is making his Donmar Warehouse debut.

Donmar Associate and Sheffield Theatres Artistic Director Robert Hastie returns after his hit productions of My Night with Reg and Splendour to direct a revival of Peter Gill’s The York Realist. Revived 50 years after the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, The York Realist will star Ben Batt and Lesley Nicol, and will be a co-production with Sheffield Theatres.

The final production will be William Congreve’s Restoration comedy The Way of the World. James Macdonald returns to the Donmar after his acclaimed production of Arnold Wesker’s Roots, directing Linda Bassett who will play Lady Wishfort.

Donmar Associate Artist Tom Scutt will curate Donmar on Design, a week-long festival celebrating the power of design in theatre, and the designers who make it happen.

The Donmar’s free ticket scheme for those aged 25 and under, YOUNG+FREE, will continue to offer seats for performances across the new season. YOUNG+FREE is funded through the generosity of audiences via the Donmar’s PAY IT FORWARD scheme.

KLAXON tickets will also continue across the season. Starting from £10, KLAXON tickets are put on sale every Monday for performances in the following three weeks. Tickets will be available across the auditorium at every price band.

Artistic Director Josie Rourke said: “I am delighted to share with you the Donmar’s new season: a premiere of an American play, a revival of a modern classic, and one of the great Restoration comedies.

Belleville at Donmar Warehouse
Belleville at Donmar Warehouse

At the end of this year the Donmar will stage the UK premiere of American playwright Amy Herzog’s dazzling play Belleville. Set at Christmas in a bohemian quarter of Paris, James Norton, Imogen Poots, Faith Alabi and Malachi Kirby will all make their Donmar debuts. I am also thrilled to welcome the director Michael Longhurst to the Donmar for the first time, after his acclaimed productions of Caroline, or Change, Amadeus and Constellations.

Peter Gill’s work as a playwright has been part of the Donmar’s story for the past decade. We’re proud to be reviving his influential play, The York Realist. Donmar Associate Robert Hastie, who delighted Donmar audiences with his celebrated productions of My Night with Reg and Splendour, will direct this delicate piece about love and family ties in rural Yorkshire. He has assembled another stunning cast which includes Ben Batt, Lucy Black, Lesley Nicol, Katie West and Matthew Wilson.

Finally, we are transported back to 1700 with arguably the best comedy written in the English language: William Congreve’s Restoration comedy The Way of the World. We welcome James Macdonald back to the Donmar, after his mesmerizing production of Roots to direct this hilarious classic treat of tricks, love and money. His cast includes Linda Bassett as the brilliant and witty Lady Wishfort.

With this season the Donmar aims to bring audiences world-class artists and essential stories for our times told within the intimate setting of our Covent Garden home.

The Donmar Warehouse announces today three new productions for the late 2017/2018 period. First, American playwright Amy Herzog’s play Belleville will be given its UK premiere at the Donmar this winter. James Norton (Happy Valley, Grantchester) and Imogen Poots (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) will play newlywed New York expats living in Paris. Award-winning Michael Longhurst (Caroline, or Change, Amadeus, Constellations) will make his Donmar debut directing this twisting tale of friendship and lies.

The Donmar will then revive Peter Gill’s seminal play, The York Realist. Donmar Associate Robert Hastie (My Night with Reg, Splendour) will direct this delicate piece about first love and family ties in rural Yorkshire, in a co-production with Sheffield Theatres. Casting includes Ben Batt, Lucy Black, Lesley Nicol, Katie West and Matthew Wilson


The Way of the World at the Donmar Warehouse, Photographer Eivind Hansen
The Way of the World at the Donmar Warehouse, Photographer Eivind Hansen

Finally in the season, the Donmar will transport audiences back to the 1700s with a revival of The Way of the World by William Congreve. James Macdonald (Roots) returns to the Donmar to direct Linda Bassett in this hilarious Restoration treat of tricks, love and money.


The Donmar’s YOUNG+FREE scheme, which provides free tickets to those aged 25 and under, will also continue throughout the season, with tickets released on the final Friday of every month. YOUNG+FREE is made possible thanks to donations from Donmar audiences via PAY IT FORWARD. These donations and the partnership support of Delta Airlines have allowed the Donmar to allocate almost 10,000 free tickets to those aged 25 and under over the past year.

Audiences can sign up to receive information about tickets on the Donmar’s website www.donmarwarehouse.com

Executive Producer Kate Pakenham said: “Sharing our work with as broad an audience as possible remains at the heart of the Donmar’s mission, so we are delighted to be able to work with Sheffield Theatres on a co-production of The York Realist with our Associate and Sheffield’s Artistic Director Robert Hastie. Following its run at the Donmar, The York Realist will play at Sheffield Crucible 27 March – 7 April, taking our work beyond our Covent Garden home.

I am also thrilled to see KLAXON and YOUNG+FREE tickets continue to grow in popularity. I am proud that these ticket schemes ensure our venue remains accessible to new audiences, particularly young people.

YOUNG+FREE is made possible by the generosity of the public through PAY IT FORWARD. We have been delighted by our audiences’ ongoing support for PAY IT FORWARD and are excited to be working with them to prioritise young people’s access to the arts. We are also grateful to the significant support we receive from corporate partners, individual philanthropists and the Arts Council which makes the Donmar’s work possible, both on our stage and beyond.

After the very special experience of opening up our Dryden Street home for Rosalie Craig and Michelle Terry’s Becoming earlier this year, we are delighted to continue this with the Donmar on Design festival. Curated by our Associate Tom Scutt, the week-long festival will be both an opportunity for audiences to have insight into the design process and for young people to meet and be inspired by world-class theatre designers.”

Currently at the Donmar is Yaël Farber’s production of David Harrower’s haunting Knives in Hens. Running until 7 October, Knives in Hens stars Christian Cook, Judith Roddy and Matt Ryan.

Following this, Donmar Associate Director and newly announced Artistic Director of the Young Vic, Kwame Kwei-Armah, returns to the Donmar to direct Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea, in a new version by Elinor Cook. BAFTA nominated Nikki Amuka-Bird will lead the cast as Ellida from 12 October.

In November, Donmar Associate Artist Tom Scutt (Belleville, The Lady From the Sea, Elegy, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Weir) will curate Donmar on Design, a week-long festival at the Donmar’s Dryden Street home celebrating the power of design in theatre. The festival will feature a Designers’ Open Studio, free panel discussions with some of the UK’s leading theatre-makers including Es Devlin, Lizzie Clachan, Anna Fleischle, former Donmar Resident Design Assistant Rosie Elnile, Chloe Lamford, Peter McKintosh, Tom Piper and Rosanna Vize, and careers workshops for design students alongside a schools programme for designers of the future.

Speaking about Donmar on Design, Tom Scutt said: “I’ve been looking to find a way to bring designers and audiences together in celebration for a long while. Donmar on Design is intended to bring our audiences closer to the role of Designer, to give three dimensions to the people that create the worlds we see on our stages and to shed light on what can be one of the most mysterious, shape-shifting roles in the creative process.

The festival will also offer workshops and guidance to students and recent design graduates as well as providing a forum for more experienced designers to come together and discuss the issues that inform our work. Through Donmar on Design we hope to create a stronger sense of community and provide an opportunity for designers of every experience to engage, connect and discover more about how each of us goes through our process.”

Members Priority Booking for the new Donmar Warehouse season:
Steel level from 10am and Copper level from noon on Tuesday 10 October
Friends from 10am on Thursday 12 October

Public Booking for the new Donmar Warehouse season:
From 10am on Tuesday 17 October
For further information, please contact:
James Travis-Lever and Tess Shennan at Jo Allan PR
james@joallanpr.com | tess@joallanpr.com |020 7520 9392

By Amy Herzog
Thursday 7 December 2017 – Saturday 3 February 2018
PRESS NIGHT: Thursday 14 December 2017
Director Michael Longhurst
Designer Tom Scutt
Lighting Designer Natasha Chivers
Composition and Sound Design Ben and Max Ringham

Cast: Faith Alabi, Malachi Kirby, James Norton and Imogen Poots

Americans Zack and Abby are bright, young and recently married. He’s a doctor combating infant disease. She’s an actress, also teaching yoga. It’s just before Christmas and they’re living the expat highlife in bohemian Belleville, Paris.

It’s all a little too perfect.

Writer Amy Herzog is ‘one of the brightest new talents in the theater’ (New York Times). Her acclaimed play about a romantic dream gone sour receives its UK premiere. Michael Longhurst (Amadeus, National Theatre; Constellations, Royal Court, West End and Broadway) directs at the Donmar for the first time.

Cast includes Faith Alabi (The Rolling Stone, Orange Tree Theatre), Malachi Kirby (Rough Cuts, Royal Court), James Norton (Bug, Found 111, The Lion in Winter, Haymarket; TV includes Grantchester, War & Peace, Happy Valley; Film includes Flatliners) and Imogen Poots (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Harold Pinter Theatre).

Amy Herzog (Writer) plays include After the Revolution (Williamstown Theater Festival; Playwrights Horizons; Lilly Award), 4000 Miles (Lincoln Center; Obie Award for the Best New American Play, Pulitzer Prize Finalist), The Great God Pan (Playwrights Horizons), and Belleville (Yale Rep; New York Theatre Workshop; Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Finalist; Drama Desk Nomination). Amy is a recipient of the Whiting Writers Award, the Benjamin H. Danks Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Helen Merrill, the Joan and Joseph Cullman Award for Extraordinary Creativity, and the New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award. She is a Usual Suspect at NYTW and an alumna of Youngblood, Play Group at Ars Nova, and the SoHo Rep Writer/Director Lab. She has taught playwriting at Bryn Mawr and Yale. MFA, Yale School of Drama.

Michael Longhurst (Director) is an award-winning stage director. He directed the production of Peter Schaffer’s Amadeus at the National Theatre which ran until March 2017 and received exceptional reviews when it opened in November 2016 in the Olivier. His Royal Court production of Nick Payne’s Constellations starring Golden Globe winner Sally Hawkins and Rafe Spall transferred to the West End, winning the Evening Standard Award for Best Play 2012 and receiving four Olivier Award nominations. Constellations opened on Broadway in January 2015, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson. He also directed Academy Award-nominee Jake Gyllenhaal in his American stage debut at the Roundabout Theatre, New York in Nick Payne’s If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet. He has developed and directed new plays across the UK including Adam Brace’s Stovepipe; a promenade co-production with the National Theatre, which featured in the Sunday Times ‘Best Theatre of the Decade’ list. Michael is also a recipient of the Jerwood Directors Award at the Young Vic (Dirty Butterfly) and a Fringe First (Guardians). He trained in directing at Mountview after reading Philosophy at Nottingham University. Michael is currently an Associate Director for Nuffield Theatre. In 2015, the Evening Standard named Michael as one of the 1000 most influential Londoners.

Faith Alabi (Amina) makes her Donmar Warehouse debut in Belleville. Theatre credits include Trouble in Mind (Print Room Notting Hill), Funeral Flowers (Royal Court Theatre), The Rolling Stone (Orange Tree Theatre) and Eclipsed (Gate Theatre). Faith has appeared on television in Cold Feet, Grantchester, Drifters, Chewing Gum and Agatha Raisin, and on film in My Song. Radio credits include Girls for BBC Radio 4.

Malachi Kirby (Alioune) makes his Donmar Warehouse debut in Belleville. Theatre credits include Rough Cuts (Royal Court Theatre), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Theatre Royal Northampton), Wild Child (Royal Court Theatre), The Realness (Young Vic Theatre), Mogadishu (Royal Exchange, Manchester and Lyric Hammersmith), Dunsinane (Royal Shakespeare Company), Wish You Were Here (Oval House Theatre), Fall Out/The Life of a Teenager (National Theatre Studios), High Life (Hampstead Theatre), The Working Girl (Theatre 503), Beyond The Obvious (Stratford Circus). Malachi’s film credits include Kajaki, Fallen, Dough, The Last Showing, Gone Too Far, My Brother The Devil and Offender. Television credits include Black Mirror, Roots, Jekyll & Hyde, Doctor Who, Vodka Diaries, Lawless, Way To Go, My Murder, Doctor XIII, The Garden, The Bill, Casualty and Silent Witness.

James Norton (Zack) makes his Donmar Warehouse debut in Belleville. Previous theatre credits include Bug (Found 111), The Lion in Winter (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Journey’s End (Duke of York’s Theatre and UK Tour), That Face (Sheffield Crucible), Posh (The Royal Court) and Cymbeline (Cambridge Arts Theatre). James’s television credits include McMafia, To Walk Invisible, Black Mirror, War and Peace, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Life in Squares, Grantchester, Happy Valley, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA Television Award for Best Supporting Actor, Death Comes to Pemberley, Our Story, By Any Means, Restless, Doctor Who, Blandings and Inspector George Gently. James has appeared on film in Flatliners, Hampstead, Northmen: A Viking Saga, Belle, Bonobo, Angelica, Turner, Thicker Than Water, Rush, Cheerful Weather For A Wedding and An Education.

Imogen Poots (Abby) makes her Donmar Warehouse debut in Belleville. Theatre credits include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Harold Pinter Theatre). Imogen’s extensive film credits include I Kill Giants, Mobile Homes, Sweet Virginia, Connor4real, Green Room, Frank & Lola, A Country Called Home, She’d Funny That Way, Knight of Cups, That Awkward Moment, Jimi: All Is By My Side, The Look of Love, A Long Way Down, Filth, Greetings From Tim Buckley, Comes A Bright Day, A Late Quartet, Fright Night, Jane Eyre, Centurion, Solitary Man, Cracks, Me and Orson Welles, Wish, 28 Weeks Later and V for Vendetta. Imogen’s credits for television include Roadies, Christopher and His Kind, A Bouquet of Barbed Wire and Miss Austen Regrets.

By Peter Gill
Thursday 8 February – Saturday 24 March 2018
PRESS NIGHT: Tuesday 13 February 2018
Director Robert Hastie
Designer Peter McKintosh
Lighting Designer Paul Pyant
Sound Designer Emma Laxton
Composer Richard Taylor

Cast includes Ben Batt, Lucy Black, Lesley Nicol, Katie West and Matthew Wilson.

‘I live here. I live here. You can’t see that, though. You can’t see it. This is where I live. Here.’

A cottage, 1960s Yorkshire. The York Mystery plays are in rehearsal.
Farmhand George strains against his roots as a new world opens up to him.

Peter Gill’s influential play about two young men in love is a touching reflection on the rival forces of family, class and longing.

Donmar Associate Robert Hastie returns for this timely revival from one of our greatest living playwrights, following his previous productions My Night with Reg and Splendour. Ben Batt also returns to the Donmar following Making Noise Quietly alongside Lesley Nicol, who returns to the London stage and makes her Donmar debut.

A Donmar Warehouse and Sheffield Theatres co-production.

Peter Gill (Writer) is a hugely influential and radical figure in British theatre; he is a renowned playwright and one of the most important directors of the last thirty years. Previous Donmar credits include Versailles, 2014 (writer and director), Making Noise Quietly, 2012 (director), Small Change, 2009 (writer) and Days of Wine and Roses, 2005 (director). Peter has directed over eighty productions in the UK, Europe and North America, and held a variety of established positions within the industry, including the post of Associate Director at the National Theatre (1980 – 1997) and Associate Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company (1964/1965 & 1970/1972).

Robert Hastie (Director) is Associate Director of the Donmar Warehouse and the Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres. For the Donmar he directed My Night with Reg, which transferred to the West End’s Apollo Theatre and was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Revival, conceived and directed My Mark with writer Michelle Terry, a project dramatising interviews with primary school children across the country and coinciding with the 2015 and 2017 General Elections, and directed Splendour by Abi Morgan. As Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres, his credits include Julius Caesar (UK Theatre Awards nomination for Best Director), Of Kith and Kin, and the forthcoming The Wizard of Oz. His other theatre credits include Henry V at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Theatr Clwyd, A Breakfast of Eels by Robert Holman at the Print Room; Carthage by Chris Thompson and Events While Guarding the Bofors Gun by John McGrath at the Finborough Theatre; and The Hotel Plays by Tennessee Williams for Defibrillator at the Holborn Grange Hotel. As Associate Director for Sixty-Six Books, which opened the new Bush Theatre, Hastie directed the world premieres of In the Land of Uz by Neil LaBute, The Middle Man by Anthony Weigh, David and Goliath by Andrew Motion, Snow in Sheffield by Helen Mort and A Lost Expression by Luke Kennard. He was nominated for the Emerging Talent Award at the 2014 Evening Standard Awards.

Ben Batt (George) returns to the Donmar Warehouse following his role in Making Noise Quietly. Theatre credits include Woyzeck (The Old Vic), A Streetcar Named Desire, As You Like It (Royal Exchange, Manchester), and The Funfair (HOME, Manchester). Ben’s recent television credits include Prey, Barbarians Rising, From Darkness, The Go-Between, The Village (Series 2), From There to Here, Scott & Bailey, Prisoners Wives, Death in Paradise, and he will soon be seen in the BBC’s In The Dark. Film credits include The Windmill, Slapper and Me, Despite The Falling Snow, Coach, Electricity and A Running Jump.
Lucy Black (Barbara) makes her Donmar Warehouse debut in The York Realist. Lucy’s theatre include Strife (Chichester Festival Theatre), 3 Winters, Children of the Sun (National Theatre), Drawing the Line (Hampstead Theatre), A Taste of Honey (Edinburgh Lyceum), The Only True History Of Lizzie Fynn (Southwark Playhouse), Epsom Downs (Salisbury Playhouse), Cause Celebre (Old Vic), The Misanthrope, A Tender Player, How The Other Half Loves and Seed Of The Bauhinia (Bristol Old Vic), The Three Sisters and Mary Barton (The Royal Exchange, Manchester), Antony And Cleopatra, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Titus Andronicus and Three Sisters (Tobacco Factory), One Minute (Bush Theatre), The Blind Bird and The Lesson (Gate Theatre). Television credits include The Durrells, The Level, Casualty, Jericho, Call the Midwife, Granchester, Eastenders, Vera, Doctors, Holby City, The Bill, Waterloo Road, Wire In The Blood, The Royal, Bombshell and Murder In Mind.

Lesley Nicol (Mother) makes her Donmar Warehouse debut in The York Realist. Further theatre credits include Jesus Christ Superstar (Palace Theatre), MAMMA MIA! (Prince Edward Theatre), Our House (Cambridge Theatre) and East is East (Royal Court), for which Lesley also reprised her role in the BAFTA 1999 Best British Film adaptation of the play. Lesley is well known on television for her role of Beryl Patmore in Downton Abbey. Further television credits include The Catch, Shameless, Blackadder, Dinnerladies, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and Inspector George Gently.

Katie West (Doreen) makes her Donmar Warehouse debut in The York Realist. Theatre credits include Uncle Vanya, Chamaco (HOME, Manchester), Lela & Co (The Royal Court), Carmen Disruption (Almeida Theatre), Hamlet, Blind-Sided, Blithe Spirit (Royal Exchange, Manchester), Macbeth (Manchester International Festival/Park Avenue Armory, New York), The Thrill of Love (New Vic Theatre), A Taste of Honey (Sheffield Crucible), 65 Miles (Hull Truck Theatre), Vote of Confidence (Theatre 503), Punk Rock (Hammersmith Lyric/Royal Exchange, Manchester) and Sense (Southwark Playhouse). Television credits include Inspector George Gently, Doctors, Without You and United. Katie has also appeared on film in Peterloo directed by Mike Leigh and Cinderella directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Matthew Wilson (Arthur) makes his Donmar Warehouse debut in The York Realist. Theatre credits include Snack Family Robinson (Rose Theatre Kingston), The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd (New Vic Theatre), The God’s Weep and Othello (RSC), Home (Theatre Royal Bath), Psychogeography (Southwark Playhouse), Enemies (Almeida Theatre), The Romans in Britain (Sheffield Crucible), Fair (Finborough Theatre), and Rampage Season: There (Royal Court). His numerous TV credits include Broken, Call the Midwife, Unforgotten, Vera, Poldark, Arthur & George, Endeavour, Sherlock, and Mr Selfridge. For film his credits include Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and The Inbetweeners.

By William Congreve
Thursday 29 March – Saturday 26 May 2018
PRESS NIGHT: Thursday 5 April 2018
Director James Macdonald
Designer Anna Fleischle
Lighting Designer Peter Mumford
Sound Designer and Composer Max Pappenheim

Cast includes Linda Bassett

Family, money, mesire: the rules of the game, the way of the world.

Lady Wishfort’s sprawling, dysfunctional family are riven by desire – there’s everything to lose and six thousand pounds to gain. Congreve’s glorious ensemble of characters battle it out in this exposing, satirical comedy where everyone needs to win just to get by.

Following their collaboration on the mesmerising Roots in 2013, James Macdonald returns to the Donmar to direct Linda Bassett in the role of Lady Wishfort.

James Macdonald (Director) previously directed the acclaimed production of Roots by Arnold Wesker at the Donmar Warehouse. He was Associate Director of the Royal Court from 1992 to 2007 during which time he directed Drunk Enough to Say I Love You (also Public Theater, New York), Dying City (also Lincoln Center, New York), Fewer Emergencies, Lucky Dog, Blood, Blasted and 4.48 Psychosis, and more recently Cock, Love and Information and Circle Mirror Transformation (Royal Court in Haggerston). His other directing credits include The Arrest of Ai Wei Wei, And No More Shall We Part (Hampstead Theatre), King Lear, The Book of Grace, Top Girls (Broadway/MTC), A Delicate Balance, Judgment Day, The Triumph of Love (Almeida), Dido, Queen of Carthage, The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, Exiles (National Theatre) and Glengarry Glen Ross in the West End.

Linda Bassett (Lady Wishfort) has previously performed at the Donmar in Roots and Phaedra. Throughout her prolific career she has performed at the National Theatre, Royal Court and RSC. Her television credits include Call the Midwife, The Life & Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Lark Rise to Candleford and Grandma’s House. She is best known for her roles in feature films East is East, The Reader, Calendar Girls, The Hours and Effie.

Donmar Warehouse, 41 Earlham Street, Seven Dials, London WC2H 9LX


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