In January 2012, he will star in Travelling Light, a new play by Nicholas Wright that will be directed in the Lyttelton by Nicholas Hytner, and a year later, in January 2013, he will star in the title role of Carl Zuckmayer's The Captain of Kopenick in the Olivier.
Sher last appeared at the National in Primo, his own adaptation of Primo Levi's "If This is a Man," a solo show that he subsequently reprised at Broadway's Music Box Theatre in 2005. It was also filmed, and he received a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor in it. He has also previously starred at the National in Pam Gems' Stanley, which also transferred to Broadway, where it played at the Circle in the Square in 1997 and for which he was Tony-nominated for Best Actor. He has also appeared at the National in Titus Andronicus, Uncle Vanya, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Trial and True West. He has also worked extensively for the RSC, where his roles have included Prospero, Iago, Macbeth, Leontes, Cyrano de Bergerac, Shylock, Tamburlaine and Richard III. His other recent stage credits include An Enemy of the People at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre and the title role in Kean in the West End.
According to press materials, Travelling Light is "a tribute to the Eastern European immigrants who became major players in Hollywood's golden age." Sher will play Jacob, a timber-merchant whose encouragement of a young man's enthusiasm for cinematography leads to success far beyond their remote Eastern European village. The production will also tour to Salford, Leeds, Newcastle and Aylesbury after its National Theatre run.
Carl Zuckmayer's The Captain of Kopenick, last produced by the National in in 1971 when it was based at the Old Vic with Paul Scofield in the title role, is based on the true story of an impoverished ex-convict, Wilhelm Voigt, who – by donning the garb of a Prussian military officer – was able to assume command of the town and raid its treasury, trusting to the power of the uniform to maintain the deception.
Further details on both productions will be announced later this year. Booking for Travelling Light will open in November.