The Jamie Lloyd Company, Ambassador Theatre Group, Benjamin Lowy Productions, Gavin Kalin Productions and Glass Half Full Productions present an extraordinary season of Harold Pinter’s one-act plays on the tenth anniversary of the Nobel Prize winner’s death, performed in the theatre that bears his name.
Pinter at the Pinter is a unique event featuring all twenty short plays written by the greatest British playwright of the 20th Century. They have never been performed together in a season of this kind.
Artistic Director Jamie Lloyd said: “This season is an extraordinary opportunity to celebrate the legacy of an icon. Harold Pinter revolutionised international theatre and the political force of his words feels more vital than ever.”
The twenty plays will be presented in repertoire by a company of world-class creatives, many of whom were Harold Pinter’s friends and collaborators. The cast includes Ron Cook, Danny Dyer, Martin Freeman, Tamsin Greig, Jane Horrocks, Celia Imrie, John Macmillan, Emma Naomi, Tracy Ann Oberman, Abraham Popoola, David Suchet and Nicholas Woodeson.
Direction is by Jamie Lloyd, Patrick Marber, Lyndsey Turner, Ed Stambollouian and Lia Williams.
Lloyd continued: “On the tenth anniversary of Harold Pinter’s death, it feels very important to acknowledge his impact on our cultural and political lives. I am particularly excited to be introducing a huge body of Harold’s work – by turns dangerous, weird, riotously funny, beautifully lyrical and explosively political – to our young, diverse audience.”
Lady Antonia Fraser, Pinter’s widow, said: “Presenting all of Harold’s one-act plays is a great adventure. It’s never been done before and I am deeply excited at the prospect of seeing them all together in one season. I do have a wistful thought: if only Harold could be here and experience it himself! This is the most appropriate and thrilling way to mark the 10th anniversary of his death in December 2008.”
The eclectic season, which celebrates the remarkable breadth and range of Pinter’s oeuvre, opens with a dynamic collection of his most potent and dangerous political plays – One for the Road, The New World Order, Mountain Language directed by Jamie Lloyd and Ashes to Ashes directed by Lia Williams, which play in repertoire with the playful and provocative The Lover and The Collection, which features David Suchet and John Macmillan. The famous modern classic The Dumb Waiter stars Danny Dyer and Martin Freeman and is paired with the fascinating psychological comedy drama A Slight Ache. Two pertinent and irresistibly funny social satires, Party Time and Celebration, feature Ron Cook, Celia Imrie, Abraham Popoola and Tracy Ann Oberman, whilst the spellbinding and atmospheric Landscape and A Kind of Alaska will star Tamsin Greig. There is a rare opportunity to see Pinter’s first play, The Room, starring Jane Horrocks with Emma Naomi and Nicholas Woodeson and directed by Patrick Marber, alongside Victoria Station and Family Voices. Olivier Award winner Lyndsey Turner directs the emotionally raw and haunting Moonlight alongside inventive young director Ed Stambollouian’s production of Night School – a quirky Pinter rarity. Special rehearsed readings of Tea Party, The Basement and Silence complete the season.
Adam Speers, Executive Producer of ATG Productions, said: “ATG renamed the Comedy Theatre the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2011, so we are delighted that after hosting a number of Harold Pinter productions over the years we get to celebrate Harold on this important anniversary.”
Emily Vaughan-Barratt, ATG and The Jamie Lloyd Company Producer, said: “Having produced The Hothouse and The Homecoming with The Jamie Lloyd Company, it’s fantastic to be working with so many artists whose careers were directly affected by the great playwright himself. Danny Dyer holds dear his relationship with Harold, which started when they worked together on the playwright’s final play, Celebration; Patrick Marber directed the 40th anniversary production of The Caretaker; Celia Imrie has fond memories of playing Miss Cutts alongside Harold’s Roote in The Hothouse; Lia Williams and Nicholas Woodeson are long-term Pinter collaborators – indeed, Lia starred in Harold’s production of Mamet’s Oleanna, alongside David Suchet.”
Pinter at the Pinter is part of the Pinter 10 partnership with the BFI, The Harold Pinter Estate and Faber & Faber, which is marking the 10th anniversary of Pinter’s death with a series of events celebrating the life of the most important British playwright of the 20th Century.
BFI Southbank will commemorate the anniversary with a season of Pinter’s film and television productions; Pinter on Screen: Power, Sex & Politics will take place at BFI Southbank throughout June and July. Further details will be announced soon.
About Harold Pinter
Harold Pinter was born in Hackney, London in 1930. He lived with Antonia Fraser from 1975 until his death on Christmas Eve 2008.
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Pinter was lauded throughout his life as one of the greatest living playwrights, who had a revolutionary impact on how theatre was written and performed, and who it represented on stage. An establishment agitator who challenged injustice, he became as famous for his political interventions as for his writing later in his life.
His genius was recognised within his lifetime as a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, the Companion of Honour for services to Literature, the Legion D’Honneur, the European Theatre Prize, the Laurence Olivier Award and the Moliere D’Honneur for lifetime achievement. In 1999 he was made a Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature, in addition to 18 other honorary degrees.
After working as an actor under the stage name David Baron, Pinter went on to be a theatrical playwright, director, screenwriter and actor.
He wrote his first play The Room in 1957 and from there 29 plays, including The Birthday Party, The Hothouse, The Caretaker, The Homecoming, Old Times, No Man’s Land, and Betrayal. Sketches include The Black and White, Request Stop, That’s your Trouble, Night, and Precisely.
Pinter directed 27 theatre productions, including James Joyce’s Exiles, David Mamet’s Oleanna, seven plays by Simon Gray and scores of his own plays including his last, Celebration, paired with his first, The Room, at The Almeida Theatre, London in the spring of 2000.
In film he wrote 21 screenplays including The Pumpkin Eater, The Servant, The Go-Between, The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Sleuth.
He continued to act under his own name, on stage and screen. He last acted two years before his death in 2006, when he appeared in Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape at the Royal Court Theatre, directed by Ian Rickson.
Thursday 6 September – Saturday 20 October 2018
Press night – 28 September 2018
One for the Road
The New World Order
Directed by Jamie Lloyd
Ashes to Ashes
Directed by Lia Williams
Opening the Pinter at the Pinter season is a dynamic collection of Harold Pinter’s most potent and dangerous political plays.
The incendiary One for The Road is Pinter at his most terrifying. A ruthless government official interrogates a dissident and his family, but is the torturer more tortured than his victims? The New World Order explores how the abuse of power is legitimised in the name of freedom and democracy, as two brutal interrogators prepare to inflict their terrible punishment on a blind-folded insurgent. Pinter investigates the suppression of ideas and the supposed threat of non-conformity in Mountain Language: a group of captives attempt to find a voice when their shared language is banned by the state.
The evening culminates with Ashes to Ashes, a richly atmospheric and compelling play in which the dark nightmare of human atrocity infiltrates a couple’s living room. Directed by award-winning actress and long-time Pinter collaborator, Lia Williams.
Cast to be announced
Thursday 13 September – Saturday 20 October 2018
Press night – Thursday 27 September 2018
Directed by Jamie Lloyd
Two miniature comedic masterpieces from the 1960s, The Lover and The Collection, which explore secrets, lies and seduction, are directed by ‘major Pinter interpreter’ (Financial Times), Jamie Lloyd.
Playful and provocative, The Lover features a conventional, suburban couple in unconventional circumstances. The Collection, hailed as one of the outstanding plays of the 20th Century by Laurence Olivier, delves into the intriguing mystery of two London couples linked by sexual desire and a quest for supremacy.
Cast includes David Suchet and John Macmillan
Thursday 25 October – Saturday 8 December 2018
Press Night – Thursday 15 November 2018
A Kind of Alaska
Directed by Jamie Lloyd
Landscape and A Kind of Alaska, directed by Jamie Lloyd, are spellbinding evocations of loneliness, isolation and the strange mists of time.
Landscape is a minimalist marvel: a woman is locked in a beautiful memory and her husband demands to be heard. In A Kind of Alaska, Deborah awakes from a twenty-nine-year sleep and is suspended between the conscious and unconscious worlds.
Cast includes Tamsin Greig
Thursday 1 November – Saturday 8 December 2018
Press Night – Friday 16 November 2018
Directed by Lyndsey Turner
Directed by Ed Stambollouian
The brutality of family life and the subjectivity of memory are explored in the emotionally raw and richly funny Moonlight, directed by Olivier Award winner Lyndsey Turner, in which the past haunts the dark, lonely recesses of a dying father’s bedroom.
An East End criminal returns home from prison to find his room has been occupied by a mysterious woman with a secret. Set in the sweaty nightclubs and claustrophobic boarding houses of 1960s London, this is a rare opportunity to see the brilliantly witty and vivid Night School, directed by the inventive young director, Ed Stambollouian.
Cast to be announced
Thursday 13 December 2018 – Saturday 26 January 2019
Press Night – Thursday 3 January 2019
Directed by Patrick Marber
Harold Pinter’s first play, The Room, features in a triple-bill directed by Pinter’s colleague and friend, Patrick Marber.
An all-too-familiar and frighteningly topical brand of English xenophobia runs through this darkly funny and unexpectedly odd play from 1957. In the hilarious Victoria Station and the reflective Family Voices, isolated voices attempt to communicate, but can we ever truly express the depths of our feeling?
Cast includes Jane Horrocks, Emma Naomi and Nicholas Woodeson
Thursday 20 December 2018 – Saturday 26 January 2019
Press Night – Friday 4 January 2019
Directed by Jamie Lloyd
A scathing and bitterly amusing attack on the increasingly powerful and narcissistic super-rich, set against the backdrop of terrifying state oppression, the highly pertinent Party Time is paired with Harold Pinter’s final play, Celebration.
Celebration is an irresistible comedy about the vulgarity and ostentatious materialism of the nouveau riche, set in a fashionable London restaurant. An evening of social satire that chimes with our times, directed by Jamie Lloyd.
Cast includes Ron Cook, Celia Imrie, Tracy Ann Oberman and Abraham Popoola.
Thursday 31 January – Saturday 23 February 2019
Press Night – Thursday 7 February 2019
A Slight Ache
The Dumb Waiter
Directed by Jamie Lloyd
The Pinter at The Pinter season culminates with two unmissable comedies that explore the political machinations of the powerful and the powerless.
When a mysterious figure enters their elegant country home, the lives of Flora and Edward are changed forever.
Gus and Ben, two hit-men, await their next job in a derelict building – but what is the cost of their quest for meaning?
A Slight Ache and The Dumb Waiter, both written in the late 1950s, are directed by Jamie Lloyd.
Cast includes Danny Dyer and Martin Freeman
The Harold Pinter Theatre