London's Donmar Warehouse Announces Plans for New Year, Including New Plays by Peter Gill and James Graham, Plus Brian Friel Revival

By Mark Shenton
25 Oct 2013

Brian Friel
Brian Friel

London's Donmar Warehouse has announced plans for the New Year, featuring new plays by Peter Gill and James Graham, plus a major Brian Friel revival. According to press materials, the season "combines new plays which could only have been written now, and classics that have found the perfect moment to be reheard."

The season will open with Versailles, a new play written and directed by Peter Gill, beginning performances Feb. 20, 2014, prior to an official opening Feb. 27, for a run through April 5. Set amongst a middle-class English family in Kent, and with their son in Paris, at the negotiations of the Treaty of Versailles, the play is in part a love story, full of tragedy and sadness, as well as an historical examination of the treaty's legacy.  In the year of the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the Great War, Versailles looks at the legacy of peace and how many of the conflicts of the last 100 years can be directly linked to its redrawing of the world.

Gill will direct his own play with a cast that features Helen Bradbury, Barbara Flynn, Tom Hughes, Tamla Kari, Gwilym Lee, Josh O’Connor, Simon Williams and Eleanor Yates. Gill returns to the Donmar, where he has previously been represented as director of Making Noise Quietly and Days of Wine and Roses, and writer of Small Change.

The second play of the season is James Graham's Privacy, beginning performances April 10 prior to an official opening April 22, for a run through May 31. It will be directed by the Donmar's artistic director Josie Rourke. For the past 12 months, Graham and Rourke have been researching the impact of social media and big data on our on-and-off-line lives. Provoked by the recent revelations of Edward Snowden, Privacy draws on Graham’s interviews with journalists, politicians and analysts and poses the question: Is there any such thing as privacy in the twenty-first century? Graham is currently represented in London by the National Youth Theatre's revival of Tory Boyz running in rep at the New Ambassadors Theatre. Previous plays include This House (seen at the National), Eden's Empire and The Whisky Taster.



The final play is Fathers and Sons by Brian Friel, after the novel by Ivan Turgenev, beginning performances June 5 prior to an official opening June 10, for a run through July 26. It is directed by Lyndsey Turner, who previously directed Friel's Philadelphia, Here I Come! at the Donmar. The play completes a trio of plays all of which examine the idea of generational legacy. Turgenev's masterpiece reveals a new world in conflict with the old, the uneasiness of clashing generations and just how hard it is to stay radical when life gets in the way.

The Donmar has also announced completion of work on Donmar Dryden Street in January 2014, which will bring all of the theatre’s off-stage work under one roof for the first time, allowing the theatre to develop its creative output and expand its reach. The renovation and refurbishment of a mid-1800s building in Covent Garden will give the Donmar a permanent home for the creative heart of the company. It will offer state-of-the-art rehearsal facilities, a music room and the Clore Studio, an educational space. It will also house a number of administrative offices and a rooftop apartment for use by the company.

Public booking opens Nov. 26. To book tickets for the season, contact the box office on 0844 871 7624, or visit www.donmarwarehouse.com for more details.