Hytner Announces New Season at London's National

News   Hytner Announces New Season at London's National Nicholas Hytner, artistic director of London’s National Theatre, has announced a 2007 season that includes new plays by Joe Penhall and Ayab Khan-Din.

Adaptations also feature, with new stage versions of the David Niven World War II film fantasy "A Matter of Life and Death" and Michael Morpurgo's novel "War Horse."

The program also features new productions of plays by Shaw, Pinter, Tennessee Williams, Gorky, Coward, Shakespeare, Euripides, Sophocles and nineteenth-century Swedish author Victoria Benedictssonn.

Later in the year former Royal Court supremo Ian Rickson will direct a revival of Pinter's The Hothouse. And, Simon Russell Beale will be paired with Zoë Wannamaker in a Hytner-directed production of Much Ado About Nothing.

Speaking to journalists, Hytner warned that the hugely successful Travelex £10 season is to be reviewed. The artistic director also attempted to persuade the Government not to go ahead with rumoured cuts to the theatre's funding.

Following the death of director Stephen Pimlott, Hytner will now take over as director of Williams' The Rose Tattoo (performances begin March 19) starring Zoë Wannamaker. As previously reported, Landscape With Weapon, by Blue/Orange playwright Joe Penhall, will be directed by Roger Michell. Performances begin at the Cottesloe stage on March 29, officially opening April 5.

On the Lyttelton stage Rafta, Rafta... (from April 19) — adapted from Bill Naughton’s All in Good Time by East is East writer Khan-Din — will star television comedy actress Meera Syal. Hytner directs the wedding comedy.

A Matter of Life and Death, adapted by Tom Morris and Emma Rice (who also directs) from the 1946 Powell/Pressburger movie, takes to the Olivier stage on May 3, officially opening on May 10. Douglas Hodge (Guys and Dolls, Titus Andronicus) plays the British World War II pilot who survives being shot down because of an angel's oversight. To survive, his case must be heard in heaven's Universal Court.

Gorky's Philistines begins previews on the Lyttelton stage May 23, officially opening May 30. Andrew Upton's new translation will be directed by Howard Davies (The Life of Galileo) with a cast including Rory Kinnear, who is currently play the title role in Hytner's production of Man of Mode.

War Horse is adapted by Nick Stafford from Morpurgo's children's epic. Marianne Elliott (Pillars of the Community) and Tom Morris will co-direct. Morris is a former Battersea Arts Centre artistic director and credited with developing another adapted novel for the National with Coram Boy.

Later productions, which have yet to be given firm dates, include Matt Charman's The Five Wives of Maurice Pinder; the English premiere of The Enchantment by nineteenth-century Swedish author Benedictsson; Coward's Present Laughter; and a Katie Mitchell production of The Women of Troy.

For more on the National's season call (0)207 7452 3000.