In a press statement, artistic director Dominic Cooke commented, "It's a privilege to welcome back some of the UK's most influential playwrights to the Royal Court in my penultimate season as Artistic Director. A new play by Caryl Churchill is a major cultural event. To have that joined by the latest work from Martin Crimp and Jez Butterworth in the same season is a rare and thrilling prospect. These are writers who have reshaped the theatrical landscape and challenged us to imagine ourselves in new ways. Their new plays are as startlingly original as anything they’ve written. Each writer has a long history with the Royal Court and I'm honored to be welcoming them back this season." He added, "These plays are joined by three equally exciting voices from the next generation."
The season in the main house Jerwood Theatre Downstairs kicks off with Caryl Churchill's Love and Information, beginning performances Sept. 6, prior to an official opening Sept. 14, for a run through Oct. 13. James Macdonald, currently represented Off-Broadway by the transfer of his Royal Court production of Cock, directs; he has previously directed Churchill's Drunk Enough to say I love You for the Royal Court. According to press materials, "Someone sneezes. Someone can't get a signal. Someone shares a secret. Someone won't answer the door. Someone put an elephant on the stairs. Someone's not ready to talk. Someone is her brother's mother. Someone hates irrational numbers. Someone told the police. Someone got a message from the traffic light. Someone's never felt like this before. In this fast moving kaleidoscope more than a hundred characters try to make sense of what they know."
It is followed in the Theatre Downstairs by the premiere of Lucy Kirkwood's NSFW, beginning performances Oct. 25, prior to an official opening Oct. 31, for a run through Nov. 24. NSFW is an acronym for "Not Safe For Work," which is defined as "online material which the viewer may not want to be seen accessing in a public or formal setting such as at work." The play, which is described as a comedy, looks at power games and privacy in the media and beyond. Kirkwood, making her Royal Court writing debut, has previously had plays produced at the Arcola and Bush Theatres. It is directed by Simon Godwin, who is currently represented by Vivienne Franzmann's The Witness at the Jerwood Upstairs Theatre.
Dominic Cooke will then direct the premiere of Martin Crimp's In the Republic of Happiness, beginning performances Dec. 6 in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, prior to an official opening Dec. 12, for a run through Jan. 19, 2013. In the play, a family Christmas is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Uncle Bob. Who is he? Why has he come? Why does his wife stay out in the car? And what is the meaning of his long and outrageous message? Characterized as a violent satire, it is described in press materials as "a roll-call of contemporary obsessions." Crimp's previous plays at the Royal Court have included The City, Attempts On Her Life, The Country, Face to the Wall, Fewer Emergencies, Advice to Iraqi Women, The Treatment, No One Sees the Video and translations of Ionesco's The Chairs (with Complicité) and Rhinoceros.
Cooke will also direct the opening production in the Royal Court's Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Tarrell Alvin McCraney's Choir Boy, beginning performances Sept. 4 prior to an official opening Sept. 10, for a run through Oct. 6. Set in an all-boys, all-black, American prep school, the play scores a gospel refrain of the politics of minority and masculinity. The play was commissioned by Manhattan Theatre Club, who is co-producing it here, supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. McCraney's Wig Out! previously premiered at the Royal Court in 2008. Next in the Theatre Upstairs, former Royal Court artistic director Ian Rickson will return to be reunited with playwright Jez Butterworth for The River, beginning performances Oct. 18. Rickson and Butterworth last collaborated at the Royal Court on Jerusalem that transferred to the West End and Broadway, as well as on The Winterling, The Night Heron and Mojo (all at the Royal Court) and Parlour Song (New York's Atlantic Theater Company and London's Almeida). The new play is set on a remote cabin on the cliffs, and revolves around a man and a woman and a moonless night.
Finally in the Theatre Upstairs, E.V. Crowe, who previously debuted at the Royal Court with Kin in 2010, returns with Hero, beginning performances Nov. 23 prior to an official opening Nov. 29, for a run through Dec. 22. In the play, Danny's gay, a primary school teacher, and he’s not afraid of anything. His colleague Jamie’s straight, and thinks he should be. It is directed by Jeremy Herrin, who also directed E.V. Crowe's Kin.
Tickets are on sale to Friends/Supporters of the theatre from June 12, then on general sale from June 14. To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7565 5000, or visit www.royalcourttheatre.com.