These will both be staged in the Old Vic's newly dubbed CQS Space, before the theatre returns to its original configuration for the launch of the Bridge Project, the Old Vic's three-year, transatlantic partnership with Brooklyn Academy of Music and Neal Street Productions. The Bridge Project kicks off with Sam Mendes directing a double-bill of The Cherry Orchard and The Winter's Tale with a company that includes Simon Russell Beale, Sinéad Cusack, Richard Easton, Rebecca Hall, Josh Hamilton, Ethan Hawke and Paul Jesson, with the plays being performed in repertory throughout their run. The Old Vic will also be staging, for the fifth year running, The 24 Hour Plays Gala, a fundraising event in which 40 internationally renowned actors, directors and writers join forces to test their talents to the limit and create six short plays in just 24 hours.
In a press statement, Spacey commented, "We've had such a great experience with The Norman Conquests that I am thrilled to get a chance to direct Complicit in-the-round. It is a truly inspirational space, and I am delighted to stage new work alongside some classic pieces. I couldn't be happier that we've attracted such a terrific cast to Dancing at Lughnasa, and I know that Anna Mackmin has wonderful ideas about the play. And we finally get to welcome Sam Mendes to The Old Vic, which will be a great moment for audiences and actors alike. This is a really interesting set of productions and we can’t wait to present them."
Spacey, who launched his regime at the Old Vic in 2004 by directing another new play, Maria Goos' Cloaca that he did not appear in, was most recently seen on the theatre's stage when he starred in a Matthew Warchus-directed revival of David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow in February 2008, opposite Jeff Goldblum and Laura Michelle Kelly. Complicit, which Spacey will direct for performances beginning Jan. 7, 2009, prior to an official opening on Jan. 22, will run to Feb. 21. It is based around Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ben Kritzer, who finds himself hauled in front of a Supreme Court Special Prosecutor. Playwright Joe Sutton's previous work includes Voir Dire (nominated for the Pulitzer and the Best Play Award of the American Theatre Critics Association), As It Is in Heaven, The Benefits of Doubt and Black Market. The play will be designed by Rob Howell (currently represented by his designs for The Norman Conquests) with lighting by Howard Harrison and projections by Jon Driscoll. Casting is yet to be announced.
It will be followed by Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa, which begins performances Feb. 26, 2009, prior to an official opening March 5, for a run to May 9. The cast will include Niamh Cusack, Michelle Fairley, Susan Lynch and (in her London debut) Andrea Corr. It will be designed by Lez Brotherston, with lighting by Paule Constable and choreography by Scarlett Mackmin (sister of the director). It is produced by the Old Vic, Sonia Friedman Productions and Tulchin/Bartner.
The Bridge Project's debut season of The Cherry Orchard and The Winter's Tale will run in repertory from May 23, 2009, to Aug. 15, with a press day for both productions on June 9. Finally, the latest instalment in the Old Vic's 24 Hours Plays Gala, an annual fundraiser in support of Old Vic New Voices that is dedicated to working with young people to develop emerging talent and build new audiences, will take place on Nov. 30. Past participants have included Gale Garcia Bernal, Jim Broadbent, James Nesbitt, Joseph Fiennes, Rosamund Pike, Brooke Shields, Vince Vaughan and Catherine Tate.
For further details contact the box office at 0870 060 6628 or visit www.oldvictheatre.com.