National Theatre Announces 2005 Season

News   National Theatre Announces 2005 Season
The National Theatre announced its 2005 plans in a press conference on Feb. 3. Though much of the big news (Michael Gambon as Falstaff, Jim Broadbent in Theatre of Blood) had already leaked out, there was still plenty of new information.

The company’s plans include:
Henry IV, Parts One and Two, the first production of these plays ever at the National. Nicholas Hytner directs, Mark Thompson designs. The cast includes Gambon as Falstaff, David Bradley as King Henry, Matthew Macfadyen as Hal, David Harewood as Hotspur and John Wood as Shallow. Joining them will be Thomas Arnold, Robert Blythe, Susan Brown, John Carlisle, Naomi Frederick, Ian Gelder, Darren Hart, Jeffery Kissoon, Elliot Levey, Robert Lister, Iain Mitchell, Eve Myles, Harry Peacock, Alistair Petrie, Samuel Roukin, Adrian Scarborough, Roger Sloman, Rupert Ward-Lewis, Anderw Westfield and Danny Worters. The show will play the Olivier in rep, as part of the Travelex ten pounds season, beginning April 26 and running through August.

Next in the Olivier will be The U.N. Inspector, David Farr’s adaptation of Gogol’s The Government Inspector, also in the Travelex season. Farr will direct, Ti Green will design, with lighting by Mark Henderson. Previews begin June 7, with an official opening night on June 16.

Theatre of Blood, adapted from the cult Vincent Price movie, will open in the Lyttelton on May 19 (previews begin May 9). A collaboration between the NT and Improbable Theatre, the show is by Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson. Broadbent leads a cast that includes Paul Bentall, Hayley Carmichael, Sally Dexter, Nick Haverson, Mark Lockyer, Tim McMullan, Rachael Spence, Steve Steen and Rachael Stirling.

Tristan & Yseult previews in the Cottesloe on April 4, opening April 12. A collaboration between the NT and Kneehigh Theatre, the legend is directed and adapted by Emma Rice, and written by Carl Grose and Anna Maria Murphy. The cast includes Stu Barker, Dan Canham, Craig Johnson, Giles King, Pieter Lawman, Amanda Lawrence, Eva Magyar, Sarah Moody, Mike Shepherd, Anthony Shuster, Tristan Sturrock and Alex Vann.

That’s followed by Simon Stephens’ new play, On the Shore of the Wide World, a collaboration between the NT and the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester (where it will open April 18). Starring Carla Henry, Thomas Morrison, Eileen O’Brien and Steven Webb, directed by Sarah Frankcom, it previews at the Cottesloe on May 20, opening on May 26. Beyond spring 2005 details are sketchier. The Olivier will host David Edgar’s new play, Playing with Fire in September. In the Lyttelton, Tom Cairns will direct Brian Friel’s Aristocrats; Katie Mitchell will direct Martin Crimp’s 1997 play Attempts on Her Life; the physical theatre group DV8 will present a new production — Just for Show — just for nine performances (part of an international tour); and Jonathan Kent will direct Nicholas Wright’s new version of Ibsen’s Ghosts.

The Cottesloe has more, too. New plays by "Dirty Pretty Things" scribe Steven Knight (President of an Empty Room, directed by Howard Davies), Mike Leigh (still untitled but with a cast including John Burgess, Ben Caplan, Allan Corduner, Adam Godley, Caroline Gruber, Nitzan Sharron, Samantha Spiro and Alexis Zegerman), Howard Brenton (Paul, directed by Howard Davies) and Samuel Adamson (Southwark Fair, directed by Hytner).

The NT will be busy away from its South Bank home. There will be a mobile tour of Friel’s Translations. Visiting small and mid-scale venues around the UK, the show will be directed by Sean Holmes. Alan Bennett’s The History Boys will tour the UK in October, returning to London for Christmas and the New Year period, after which it will set off again for an international tour. Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman will open on Broadway, at the Booth Theatre, on April 10, after previews that begin March 21. Billy Crudup, Jeff Goldblum, Zeljko Ivanek and Michael Stuhlbarg star. John Crowley directs, with designs by Scott Pask, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, sound by Paul Arditti and music by Paddy Cunneen. Robert Fox and Boyett Ostar are the producers.

There were casting updates for two forthcoming productions. Strindberg’s A Dream Play (opening in the Cottesloe on Feb. 15) will be directed by Katie Mitchell, and the cast will include Mark Arends, Anastasia Hille, Kristin Hutchinson, Sean Jackson, Charlotte Roach, Dominic Rowan, Justin Salinger, Susie Traying, Lucy Whybrow and Angus Wright. And David Hare’s new version of Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba — opening in the Lyttelton on March 15 — will feature Mary Cunningham, Deborah Findlay, Beth Fitzgerald, Maria Golledge, Sally Hawkins, Jennifer Hill, Katherine Manners, Sandy McDade, Jo McInnes, Pamela Merrick, Justine Mitchell, Cherry Morris, Jennifer Scott-Malden. Rachael Spence, Sophie Trott, Penelope Wilton and Kristy Wood. Howard Davies directs.

Platform discussions and readings will include Julian Clary (April 19), Christopher Hampton (April 20), Hytner (May 6), Michael Pennington (May 13), John Burgess (May 16), Peter Brook (May 26), Vera Gottlieb (June 3), Emma Rice (June 6) and the members of Improbable (June 13). The week of June 17 has been designated "Architecture Week" with discussions, and tours from guest architects — both of the NT itself and of the South Bank.

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