Churchill's Escaped Alone will open the season in the mainhouse Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, beginning performances Jan. 21, 2016 prior to an official opening Jan. 28, for a run through March 12. The play, which revolves three old friends and a neighbour, is set on a summer of afternoons in the backyard, and involves tea and catastrophe. It will be directed by regular Churchill collaborator James MacDonald who has previously directed her plays Love and Information (subsequently also Off-Broadway) and Drunk Enough to Say I Love You? at the theatre.
Suzan-Lori Parks's Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3), originally premiered at New York's Public Theater in 2014 under the direction of Jo Bonney, will receive their U.K. premieres beginning performances Sept. 15, prior to an official opening Sept. 22, for a run through Oct. 22, again directed by Bonney. Park has previously been represented at the Royal Court by the London premiere of her Pulitzer Prize-winning Topdog/Underdog.
Father Comes Home from the Wars, set in West Texas in 1862, revolves around Hero, a slave, who is promised his freedom if he joins his master in the ranks of the Confederacy against the Union. In a nation at war with itself, he must work against those striving to abolish slavery. The family he leaves behind debates whether to escape or await his return. They fear that, for Hero, freedom is an empty promise that may come at a great cost.
Other productions in the main house will include artistic director Vicki Featherstone directing the premiere of Alistair McDowell's X, beginning performances March 30 prior to an official opening April 5, for a run through May 7, and Katie Mitchell directing Ophelias Zimmer, co-produced with Berlin's Schaubühne where it will be produced first in Dec. 2015, before transferring to the Royal Court, beginning performances May 17 for a run through May 21. The play, which explores Ophelia, freed from Hamlet, has a text by Alice Birch, and will be performed in German with English surtitles.
Also in the main house, Anthony Neilson returns to the theatre with Unreachable, a new play being created in the rehearsal room with a cast of actor that are to be announced, beginning performances July 1, prior to an official opening July 8, for a run through Aug 6. Neilson's previous plays at the Court include The Get Out, Narrative, Get Santa!, Relocaed, The Wonderful World of Dissocia, The Lying King, Heredity and He Censor. In the upstairs studio, productions will include Anna Jordan's Yen (transferring from Manchester's Royal Exchange), South African playwright Mongiwekhaya's I See You (co—produced with Johannesburg's Market Theatre where it will transfer subsequently), David Ireland's Cyprus Avenue (transferring from Dublin's Abbey Theatre) , Stef Smith's Human Animals, Charlene James's Cuttin' It< and Nathaniel Martello-White's Torn.
The Royal Court will also partner with the biannual LIFT festival, with a series of works developed in collaboration with international communities, and will host workshop presentations of new plays from Syria and Lebanon.
Also announced is Young Court, an initiative for, by and with young people, that will include the return of Open Court in the summer of 2016, when the reins of each department at the theatre will be handed over to young people to plan and curate a festival of new work.
Royal Court on Screen will also see the Royal Court partner with Picturehouse Cinemas to bring a season of gala screenings of Royal Court productions which have gone from stage to screen, to be held at the Picturehouse Central at Piccadilly Circus.
Tickets for the new season go on general sale Oct. 15. To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7565 5000 or visit www.royalcourttheatre.com