Almeida Plans Ian McDiarmid in Merchant of Venice, Mike Bartlett Premiere and Site-Specific Wallace Shawn Play

News   Almeida Plans Ian McDiarmid in Merchant of Venice, Mike Bartlett Premiere and Site-Specific Wallace Shawn Play London's Almeida Theatre has announced plans for the winter and spring season that will include a belated London showing for artistic director Rupert Goold's 2011 RSC production of The Merchant of Venice, new plays by Mike Bartlett and Simon Stephens, and a site-specific production of Wallace Shawn's The Fever.

Wallace Shawn
Wallace Shawn Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

The Merchant of Venice will begin performances Dec. 5 prior to an official opening Dec. 15, for a run through Feb. 14, 2015. The production, which starred Patrick Stewart as Shylock at Stratford, will now feature the return of former Almeida co-artistic director Ian McDiarmid to the theatre in the role, alongside original RSC cast members Susannah Fielding (as Portia), Jamie Beamish, Rebecca Brewer, Scott Handy, Caroline Martin and Emily Plumtree.

McDiarmid was recently seen in the West End in Bakersfield Mist opposite Kathleen Turner. Best known for his role as Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine in the "Star Wars" film series, his extensive theatre credits include Brian Friel's Faith Healer at the Almeida Theatre, subsequently winning a Tony Award for reprising the role on Broadway in 2006. Other theatre acting credits include Life of Galileo for the RSC, Timon of Athens at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Emperor and Galilean at the National Theatre and Henry IV at the Donmar Warehouse.

Wallace Shawn's The Fever is to be presented in a site-specific performance in a suite at London's May Fair Hotel, to audiences of just 28, beginning performances Jan. 7 for a run through Feb. 7. The play, which is set in a hotel in a distant city, revolves around a man looking for answers. Back at home, he can only see questions. The play, which will be directed by Almeida Associate Robert Icke who last directed Mr. Burns at the theatre, will be performed by Tobias Menzies, who has previously appeared at the Almeida in Cloud Nine and Platonov.

Mike Bartlett's Game will receive its world premiere at the Almeida, beginning performances Feb. 23 prior to an official opening March 3, for a run through April 4. Directed by Sacha Wares, it will be designed by Miriam Buether in a radical reconfiguration of the auditorium. Set in a housing crisis, it revolves around a young couple who are offered a home of their own. But at what price? Accoridng to press materials, the play "invites us to spy on a family as they explore a dangerous new way to live." Bartlett's King Charles III, first seen at the Almeida, is currently at the West End's Wyndham's.

Simon StephensCarmen Disruption will begin performances April 10 prior to an official opening April 17, for a run through May 23. This dramatic reimagining of Bizet's Carmen will be directed by Michael Longhurst, who staged the Royal Court's production of Constellations that transferred to the West End and he is due to reprise on Broadway next. He also directed Nick Payne's If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet for Roundabout Theatre Company. Tickets will go on sale for Almeida members from Sept. 16 and to the general public from Sept. 23. To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7359 4404, or visit almeida.co.uk.

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