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National Theatre Announces New Work For 2020 – 2021

NT entrance Feb 2015 photo by Philip Vile.
NT entrance Feb 2015 photo by Philip Vile.

The National Theatre today announces nine productions that will play on the South Bank in 2020-2021 alongside previously announced shows. These run alongside our international touring productions, three plays that will tour to multiple venues across the UK and a West End transfer. The NT also announces today that it will increase the quantity of low-price tickets on the South Bank by 25%, with 250,000 available across the year at £20 or less.

In the Olivier Theatre the critically acclaimed production of Andrea Levy’s epic novel Small Island directed by Rufus Norris returns following a sold-out run in 2019. Adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson, the revival will run from late October 2020 with casting to be announced. Standing at the Sky’s Edge, a co-production with Sheffield Theatres in association with Various Productions will transfer to the Olivier in January 2021 following a return to the Crucible this autumn. Directed by Sheffield Theatres’ Artistic Director, Robert Hastie, this soaring musical, featuring songs by Richard Hawley, with book by Chris Bush, tells the story of three families living in Park Hill, Sheffield’s concrete utopia.

NT associate director Dominic Cooke returns to the National Theatre with a new production of Welsh classic The Corn is Green by Emlyn Williams. Performed in the Lyttelton Theatre from 17 June the cast is led by Nicola Walker alongside Adam Baker, Jordan Bamford, Saffron Coomber, Gareth David-Lloyd, Iwan Davies, Jonathan Hawkins, Richard Lynch, Alice Orr-Ewing, Sophie Stanton, Garyn Williams and Rufus Wright. Also in the Lyttelton, Alice Birch adapts Rachel Cusk’s acclaimed trilogy Outline. Transit. Kudos. for the stage in a powerful landmark production directed by Katie Mitchell. Mitchell’s unique use of film and audio will be used to recount the stories and encounters of writer and divorced mother of two, Faye. In repertoire from October.

Simon Stone makes his National Theatre debut in the Lyttelton in December directing his new adaptation of Phaedra after Euripides, Seneca and Racine. Kristin Scott Thomas makes her NT debut as a British politician, alongside Assaad Bouab. Phaedra will be broadcast worldwide via NT Live. Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre, Lynette Linton also makes her National Theatre debut with a new production of American writer Pearl Cleage’s Blues for an Alabama Sky in the Lyttelton from February 2021. A startling play set in 1930 during the Harlem renaissance, about four friends whose lives and passions collide when a newcomer from Alabama arrives. Cast includes Giles Terera.

Following a sell-out run last year The Chichester Festival Theatre production of Roy Williams’ Sing Yer Heart Out For The Lads will play in the Dorfman Theatre from September. Nicole Charles makes her NT directing debut with this funny, and disturbing play which takes aim at what it means to be black, white and English in twenty-first century Britain. Cast to be announced. Also, in the Dorfman Theatre is the world premiere of April de Angelis’ new play Kerry Jackson directed by Indhu Rubasingham opening in November. Set in a Hackney restaurant on the front line of the gentrification wars, this comedy casts a shrewd eye on a city and country in the grip of profound change. In January 2021, Headlong and the National Theatre co-produce After Life a new play written by Jack Thorne and created by Jack Thorne, Jeremy Herrin and Bunny Christie. Adapted from the film by Hirokazu Kore-eda After Life takes place somewhere between life and death and asks the people passing through it to pick one memory that they will live in for eternity.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, adapted by Joel Horwood and directed by Katy Rudd transfers to the Duke of York’s Theatre from 31 October. Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel is brought to life in this modern myth, where the power of imagination and storytelling transports audiences on a spellbinding and spectacular adventure. Beginning, presented by Lee Dean in association with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, by David Eldridge and directed by Polly Findlay, will be revived at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch in September followed by a UK tour.

The previously announced productions Welcome to Iran, Romeo and Julie and Paradise go on sale from the 24th February alongside The Corn is Green.

Based on real-life testimonials, the new play written and directed by Nadia Fall Welcome to Iran opens at Theatre Royal Stratford East in April before transferring to the Dorfman Theatre in May. The company includes Moe Bar-El, Nalân Burgess, Souad Faress, Karina Fernandez, Nicholas Karimi, Serena Manteghi, Maimuna Memon, Isabella Nefar, Kareem Samara and Joplin Sibtain. Romeo and Julie a new play by Gary Owen, directed by Rachel O’Riordan, and a co-production with Sherman Theatre, opens in the Dorfman on 14 July running until 29 August. The cast includes Callum Scott Howells and Rosie Sheehy as Romeo and Julie with Anita Reynolds and Paul Brennen also joining the cast. The company tour the UK from June to October to four of the NT’s Theatre Nation Partner venues; Salford, Doncaster, Hornchurch, Wolverhampton before finishing the tour at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff. Paradise by Kate Tempest is a new version of Philoctetes by Sophocles starring Lesley Sharp, Lorna Gayle and Danielle Vitalis opening in the Olivier in June, directed by Ian Rickson.

Emma Rice’s adaptation of Emily Brontë’s masterpiece Wuthering Heights, a co-production with Wise Children in association with York Theatre Royal will open in the Lyttelton Theatre in September, performing at the Lowry in Salford before a UK tour including Canterbury, York and Bristol with further venues to be announced. John Pfumojena is cast as Heathcliff and Lucy McCormick as Cathy.

The National Theatre also announced today that, beginning with the shows going on sale this month, it will offer 250,000 tickets across the year at £20 or less – increasing the quantity of low-price tickets available on the South Bank by 25%. There will be 50,000 £10 tickets available to everyone through Friday Rush and to young people under-26, whilst state schools will have the opportunity to buy tickets for £10 per student.

Productions internationally include The Lehman Trilogy, which previews from March at the Nederlander Theatre on Broadway before visiting the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles in the autumn, with cast to be announced. Also playing in New York are The Jungle, a co-production with Good Chance Theatre and the Young Vic, at St Ann’s Warehouse and Hadestown, winner of the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album 2020, which also embarks on a tour of the USA later this year. War Horse is playing at the Lyric Theatre, Sydney before touring to the Crown Theatre, Perth; Esplanade Theatre, Singapore; and Blue Square Theatre, Seoul, with further international dates to be announced.

NT Live cinema broadcasts for 2020 include Cyrano de Bergerac live from the Playhouse Theatre on 20 February with James McAvoy, Lucy Kirkwood’s The Welkin with Maxine Peake live on 21 May and the new play by Richard Bean and Oliver Chris Jack Absolute Flies Again based on Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Rivals directed by Thea Sharrock live in cinemas from the 23rd July. Romeo & Juliet and Phaedra will also be broadcast live, dates to be announced.

River Stage, the free outdoor festival on London’s South Bank returns for five weekends from 3 July – 2 August, with confirmed partners The Glory, HOME Manchester, Hofesh Shechter Company, Hackney Empire Young Producers and the National Theatre closing the festival on the final weekend.

281 youth theatre companies and over 6,000 young people from every corner of the UK are taking part in NT Connections this year, one of the UK’s largest celebrations of youth theatre. New plays by some of the UK’s most exciting contemporary playwrights are being staged and performed by young people at 31 leading regional theatres from 17th March – 9th May, with the Connections Festival taking place on the South Bank from 29th June – Friday 3 July.



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