Collaborators will begin performances Oct. 25 in the Cottesloe Theatre, prior to an official opening Nov. 1. It reunites the National’s artistic director Nicholas Hytner with actors Simon Russell Beale and Alex Jennings, with whom he has regularly worked, including once together in The Alchemist. In the play, based on historical fact, Beale plays Stalin and Jennings is dissident playwright Mikhail Bulgakov, who is offered a commission to write a play about Stalin to celebrate his 60th birthday.
According to press materials, the play "depicts a lethal game of cat and mouse through which the appalling compromises and humiliations inflicted on any artist by those with power are held up to scrutiny." Hodges is best known for his screenplays to films that include "Shallow Grave," "Trainspotting," "A Life Less Ordinary," "The Beach," "The Final Curtain" and "The Dark is Rising." The cast also includes Mark Addy, Sarah Annis, Marcus Cunningham, Jacqueline Defferary, Patrick Godfrey, Michael Jenn, Jess Murphy, William Postlethwaite, Pierce Reid, Nick Sampson, Maggie Service and Perri Snowdon. The production will also be broadcast to cinemas worldwide as part of National Theatre Live.
Juno and the Paycock, co-produced with Dublin’s Abbey Theatre where it will open the Dublin Theatre Festival before coming to London, will begin performances Nov. 11 in the Lyttelton Theatre, prior to an official opening Nov. 16. Howard Davies will direct Sinéad Cusack as Juno and Ciarán Hinds as Jack Boyle in a play that offers a portrait of wasted potential in a Dublin torn apart by the chaos of the Irish War of Independence, 1922. Also in the company are Cornelius Clarke, Risteárd Cooper, Clare Dunne, Kieran Gough, Luke Hayden, Dermot Kerrigan, Nick Lee, Gillian McCarthy, Bernadette McKenna, Brian Martin, Janet Moran, Kevin Murphy, Ronan Raftery, Sophie Robinson, Eoin Slattery and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor.
The Comedy of Errors will begin performances Nov. 22 in the Olivier Theatre, prior to an official opening Nov. 29. Dominic Cooke, artistic director of London’s Royal Court who has frequently also worked for the RSC, will make his NT directing debut, with a cast led by Lenny Henry - also making his debut at the National - playing Antipholus of Syracuse. For his last Shakepearean performance in London, when he played Othello at the Trafalgar Studios, the veteran stage and TV comic was awarded the Best Newcomer Award in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. The cast also includes Claudie Blakley (Adriana), Clare Cathcart, Chris Jarman (Antipholus of Ephesus), Lucian Msamati (Dromio of Syracuse), Joseph Mydell (Aegeon), Pamela Nomvete, Daniel Poyser (Dromio of Ephesus), Amit Shah and Michelle Terry (Luciana). The Comedy of Errors will be broadcast to cinemas worldwide March 1, 2012, as part of National Theatre Live.
Also at Christmas, the National Theatre will host a short run for The Animals and Children Took to the Streets from award-winning company 1927, visiting the Cottesloe Theatre for 15 performances beginning Dec. 7 and running through Jan. 3. According to press materials, the show combines live music, performance and storytelling with film and animation. To book tickets, which are on sale by phone and online from Sept. 20, contact the box office on 020 7452 3000, or visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk.