John Tiffany Will Direct Roald Dahl's The Twits for London's Royal Court; Season Announced

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27 Jun 2014

John Tiffany
John Tiffany
Joseph Marzullo/WENN

London's Royal Court Theatre has announced its new season of work that will run from September 2014 through May 2015, including new plays from Molly Davies, Zinnie Harris, Rory Mullarkey, Tim Price and Jack Thorne; a debut play from first-time playwright Diana Nneka Atuona; a collaboration between scientist Chris Rapley, playwright and director Duncan Macmillan and director Katie Mitchell; and a new production for young people and their families – Enda Walsh’s new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Twits.

In a press statement, the Royal Court's artistic director commented, "It’s been exactly a year at the Royal Court since we launched Open Court and after a series of commissions, many more meetings with writers, script readings, workshops, discussions and heated debates in the bar. There is definitely something in the air… The time for apathy is over, the writers want to see and make change, to ask questions about our democracy. We didn’t set out to create a season of work with a theme but could not ignore the message coming from our playwrights. Individually they are asking the necessary questions of humanity, government and society and collectively they have made their response to the moment we are in very clear.

“All of these plays are about revolutions - big and small acts of resistance. They are provocative, diverse and timely. They are great stories, inventively told and demanding that we consider a better future.

“They start in middle England and end in Liberia. Via the World Wide Web, an inverted Europe, and the rise in global temperature - they are stories of personal bravery, of sticking your neck out for what you believe, of anarchy, of survival. Of not only imagining change but making it happen."

The Royal Court will also stretch its wings beyond Sloane Square, with three-year residency projects in Pimlico and Tottenham to create and share new work and develop artists, creative leaders and audiences in two very different areas of London; as well as seasons in New York for Jez Butterworth's The River (already announced to open at the Circle in the Square with Hugh Jackman, Laura Donnelly and Cush Jumbo in November) on Broadway, and of Nick Payne's Constellations (with Jake Gyllenhaal, at Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in January).



In the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, the season will open with Tim Price's The Internet is Serious Business, beginning performances Sept. 17 prior to an official opening Sept. 23 for a run through Oct. 25. Hamish Pirie will direct a play in which Price continues his interrogation of contemporary revolutions. In the play, a 16-year-old London schoolboy and an 18-year-old recluse in Shetland meet online, pick a fight with the FBI and change the world forever.

The season continues with Duncan Macmillan and Chris Rapley's 2071, beginning performances Nov. 5 prior to an official opening Nov. 6, for a run through Nov. 15. It is co-produced with Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg, where the show will run for six performances between December 2014 and February 2015. Writer Duncan Macmillan has been talking to Chris Rapley, Professor of Climate Science at University Collete London and Chair of the London Climate Change Partnership. Working with director Katie Mitchell, a new piece of theatre has been created where the science is centerstage.

John Tiffany then directs Jack Thorne's Hope, beginning performances Nov. 26 prior to an official opening Dec. 2, for a run through Jan. 10, 2015. Described in press materials as an urgent political play attacking the squeeze on local government, it ponders the question: How do you save £22 million? Mark and Hilary, the leaders of the Council, are about to find out.

Next, Vicky Featherstone will direct Zinnie Harris' How to Hold Your Breath, beginning performances Feb. 4 prior to an official opening Feb. 10, for a run through March 21. According to press materials, the play looks at the true cost of principles and how we live now. Starting with a seemingly innocent one-night stand, the play dives into our recent European history.

Then, John Tiffany will direct a new stage version of Roald Dahl's The Twits, beginning performances April 7 prior to an official opening April 14, for a run through May 31. According to press materials, it has been "mischievously adapted by Enda Walsh." Mr. and Mrs. Twit are not very nice. In fact they're extremely nasty. They're nasty to each other, and they're vile to everyone else. They hold a family of monkeys hostage in a cage and force them to stand on their heads. All the time. Can the monkeys find a way to show those vicious Twits what for?

In the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Rory Mullarkey's The Wolf from The Door will begin performances Sept. 10 prior to an official opening Sept. 15, for a run through Nov. 1. James Madonald will direct Anna Chancellor in the play, which imagines a wild road trip across Middle England where Lady Catherine (to be played by Chancellor) and her young protégée Leo, enlist every tearoom, hot yoga class and WI group on a mission to change the country forever. This play is the 2014 Pinter Commission, and was the winner of the George Devine Award. It will head out on a U.K. rural tour in autumn 2015 to village halls and community centers.

Next, Vicky Featherstone will direct Molly Davies' God Bless the Child, beginning performances Nov. 12 prior to an official opening Nov. 19, for a run through Dec. 20. It is presented as part of the Royal Court’s Jerwood New Playwrights programme, which aims to discover and support the next generation of world-class playwrights, supported by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation. Davies' first play A Miracle was produced in 2009 at the Royal Court. In her new play, she imagines a mutiny of eight-year-olds.

Next, first-time writer Diana Nneka Atouna's Liberian Girl will begin performances Jan. 7 prior to an official opening Jan. 13 for a run through Jan. 31. The play won the 2013 Alfred Fagon Award while still unproduced. The play, which will be directed by Matthew Dunster, tells the story of one teenage girl's survival in the Liberian civil war between 1989 and 2003. Later in 2015, Liberian Girl will transfer to the CLF Art Café at the Bussey Building in Peckham for one week and the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham.

Tickets will go on sale to Friends and Supporters June 28, with tickets on general sale from July 1. To book, contact the box office on 020 7565 5000 or visit www.royalcourttheatre.com.