Harriet Walter is to play Prospero in Phyllida Lloyd's new, all-female production of The Tempest, to be presented in a temporary in-the-round theatre at King's Cross in London, to be produced by the Donmar Warehouse alongside revivals of its previous all-female productions of Julius Caesar and Henry IV that originally played at the Donmar, with Walter reprising her roles as Brutus and Henry IV, respectively.
The Tempest will subsequently transfer to Brooklyn's St. Ann's Warehouse in January 2017, where the two other productions previously played. Also transferring to New York next season are James Graham's Privacy (to the Public Theater in July) and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (to Broadway's Booth Theatre in October).
The London season, which will play in a new, in-the-round, 420-seat temporary theatre at King’s Cross in association with Theatre Tracks, immediately adjacent to King's Cross station and directly accessible from King's Boulevard, will see the plays run in repertory, beginning performances September 23 for a run through Decmeber 17, 2016. All are set in a women's prison. On special Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy days, all three plays will be performed back to back.
In a press statement, Josie Rourke, artistic director of the Donmar, commented, "It's exciting when the Donmar’s productions have a life beyond the Donmar stage. We want to share the work made by artists on the Donmar stage and we want to do that with generosity, with resonance, and with inspiring partners. Over the next eight months, the Donmar's work will travel from the stage at the Public Theater that launched Hamilton, to The Booth Theater on Broadway, to St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn and into a purpose-built temporary theatre, right next to London’s King’s Cross."
Walter will be joined by a number of the Henry IV and Julius Caesar casts, including Jade Anouka, Shiloh Coke, Jackie Clune, Karen Dunbar, Clare Dunne, Zainab Hasan, Jennifer Joseph, Sophie Stanton, Sharon Rooney and Caroline Valdés. Others joining the company include Sheila Atim and Martina Laird.
In a press statement, director Lloyd commented, "The premise was to take the most voiceless group you might imagine - women prisoners. Refugees from our culture if you like - people without any access to the internet even - and watch them electrify an audience with nothing but Shakespeare's language. Harriet's work ethic defines the whole thing. Mighty verse speaking, the utmost humility and the greatest good humour. The company will follow her anywhere."
The theatre environment is being designed by Bunny Christie, who also designed Julius Caesar and Henry IV (the latter with Ellen Nabaro). The Tempest features designs by Chloe Lamford. Lighting for all three productions is by James Farncombe (with lighting at the Donmar previously by Neil Austin), with sound by Peter Malkin (Tempest) and Tom Gibbons (Julius Caesar, Henry IV), and movement direction for all three productions by Ann Yee. Fight direction for Julius Caesar and Henry IV is by Kate Waters, with video design for Julius Caesar by Duncan McLean. Costume design for Henry IV is by Deborah Andrews.
Public booking opens June 15, with Donmar members priority booking from June 7. To book visit donmarwarehouse.com. Tickets for those 25 and under will be available for free under a new Young and Free initiative of front-row tickets released on a weekly basis throughout the run.