London's National Theatre To Premiere New Plays by Conor McPherson, Mike Leigh and Mike Bartlett

News   London's National Theatre To Premiere New Plays by Conor McPherson, Mike Leigh and Mike Bartlett The National Theatre will host the premiere of new plays by Conor McPherson, Mike Leigh and Mike Bartlett as part of its summer and autumn season between July and November. Also planned are a revival of Arnold Wesker's The Kitchen, a new staging of Bach's St. Matthew Passion and readings from the King James Bible to celebrate its 400th anniversary.

Leigh's play, as yet untitled, will begin performances Sept. 14, prior to an official opening Sept. 21 in the Cottesloe Theatre, under his own direction, with a cast that reunites him with regular actors Lesley Manville, Marion Bailey, Sam Kelly and Wendy Nottingham, as well as Ruby Bentall and David Horovitch. It follows the National's 2005 premiere of Two Thousand Years, and a recent Hampstead Theatre revival of Ecstasy that transferred to the West End's Duchess Theatre.

McPherson's new play, The Veil, which he will also direct, begins performances Sept. 27 prior to an official opening Oct. 4 in the Lyttelton Theatre. Set around a haunted house hemmed in by a restive, starving populace, the play weaves Ireland's troubled colonial history into a transfixing story about the search for love, the transcendental and the circularity of time. The cast includes Bríd Brennan, Caoilfhionn Dunne, Ursula Jones, Peter McDonald, Jim Norton, Adrian Schiller, Emily Taaffe and Fenella Woolgar. McPherson's previous plays include The Seafarer (premiered at the National and subsequently transferring to Broadway), and The Weir (Royal Court, then Broadway), amongst others.

Bartlett, last represented at the National by Earthquakes in London, returns to the National with 13, a new play being premiered as part of the Travelex £12 tickets season, beginning performances Oct. 18 prior to an official opening Oct. 25 in the Olivier Theatre. Set in a dark and magical landscape of singing pensioners, fanatical atheists and imminent apocalypse, the play depicts a London both familiar and strange, a London staring into the void. In a year which has seen governments fall and hundreds of thousands take to the streets, 13 explores the meaning of personal responsibility, the hold that the past has over the future and the nature of belief itself. It will be directed by Thea Sharrock, who last directed After the Dance at the National and Cause Célèbre for the Old Vic.

Wesker's The Kitchen will also be staged as part of the Travelex £12 season, beginning performances Aug. 31 prior to an official opening Sept. 7 in the Olivier Theatre. First seen at the Royal Court in 1959 and subsequently revived there by director Stephen Daldry in 1994, the play puts the workplace of the kitchen of a West End restaurant in 1950s London. This new production will be directed by NT associate director Bijan Sheibani, whose previous credits include Our Class and Greenland. The cast includes Neal Barry, Tom Brooke, Ian Burfield, Rebecca Davies, Stavros Demetraki, Craige Els, Ruth Gibson, Colin Haigh, Rendah Heywood, Tendayi Jembere, Siobhán McSweeney, Gerard Monaco, Sarah Mowat, Bruce Myers, Vincenzo Nicoli, Luke Norris, Jessica Regan, Samuel Roukin, Tim Samuels, Sam Swann, Stephanie Thomas and Rosie Thomson.

Veteran director Jonathan Miller will stage Bach's St. Matthew Passion for a run of nine performances, beginning performances Sept. 17 prior to an official opening Sept. 19 in the Olivier Theatre. Performed in collaboration with Southbank Sinfonia, it will be sung in Paul Goodwin's new English translation by soloists and a choir — all casually dressed — who interact with the young professional orchestra. The National Theatre will also participate in the 400th anniversary celebrations of the publication of the King James Bible, with an ensemble of leading National Theatre actors reading 12 extracts from it, on selected dates beginning Oct. 8 and concluding Nov. 6. The performances will be directed by Nicholas Hytner, James Dacre and Polly Findlay.

Writer-performer Daniel Kitson will also bring his 2010 Edinburgh show It's Always Right Now, Until It's Later to the Lyttelton Theatre for a run of six performances on selected dates Oct. 7-21.

Public booking by phone and online is available from June 21. To book, contact the box office on 020 7452 3000, or visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk

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