London's Donmar Warehouse, currently represented on Broadway by its revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, has announced a slate of three new productions, being presented under the umbrella title The Power Season.
It opens with a new play called Limehouse, by Steve Waters, who previously wrote Temple for the theatre. Beginning performances March 2, 2017, prior to an official opening March 8, for a run through April 15, the play examines the 1981 split in the U.K.'s Labour Party, imagining what happened when, in 1981, the “Gang of Four” met to break from Labour and form the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Polly Findlay directs a cast that will be led by Paul Chahidi as Bill Rodgers and Debra Gillett as Shirley Williams, two of the four prominent Labour politicians that also included Roy Jenkins and David Owens, who met in 1981 to find a political alternative to the party of which they were members. The play is described as a fictionalized account of real events and is not endorsed by the individuals portrayed.
It is followed by a new production of Bertolt Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, beginning performances April 21 prior to an official opening May 2 for a run through June 17. It is presented in a new translation by Bruce Norris (Pulitzer, Olivier, and Tony-winning playwright of Clybourne Park). Simon Evans will direct a cast led by Lenny Henry in the title role of a play that portrays the rise of a demagogue.
Finally, a new musical called The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee Takes Oral Evidence on Whitehall's Relationship with Kids Company will begin performances June 24, prior to an official opening July 3, for a run through August 12. The musical is created by actor Hadley Fraser, Donmar artistic director Josie Rourke, and composer Tom Deering, edited from the transcript of a House of Commons Select Committee evidence session into the collapse of a children's charity. According to press materials, the production has not been authorized by any participant or Parliament. “We present it to you – the public – to consider how civic life in the UK is really governed.” It will be directed by Adam Penford, recently appointed artistic director at Nottingham Playhouse.
In a statement, artistic director Rourke commented, “Kate Pakenham [executive producer] and I want the Donmar to step up to what's happening, and so we have worked with a seriously great group of artists to create the Power Season. Here is a new musical and two plays that concern themselves with truth and accountability; democracy and demagoguery; passion, despair and the rebirth of hope. Throughout this season, characters fight for, rise to and exercise their power. In creating the Power Season, we're trusting that theatre will deploy its power to speak with swift and urgent clarity into the present.”
To book tickets and for further details, contact the box office on 0844 871 7624 or visit donmarwarehouse.com.