Donmar Warehouse New Season to Include All-Female Julius Caesar, Revival of The Weir and More
By Mark Shenton
London's Donmar Warehouse is to present an all-female production of Julius Caesar with Phyllida Lloyd directing a cast that includes Harriet Walter as Brutus; Pinero's Trelawney of the Wells directed by film director Joe Wright in his stage directing debut; and the first major London revival of Conor McPherson's The Weir since it premiered at the Royal Court in 1997.
In addition, the Donmar has announced a new audience initiative, Barclays Front Row, supported by the company's long-term Principal Sponsor, which will see two-thirds of Donmar front-row seats across both the stalls and circle to be held back for all performances, and put on sale every Monday for the week of performances two weeks later. These tickets are priced at £10 only, with no booking fee.
In a press statement, artistic director Josie Rourke said, "I couldn't be more thrilled to round off my first year as artistic director with Phyllida Lloyd's return to the Donmar and to theatre. Julius Caesar promises to be a great event, with this incredible company of women exploring some of Shakespeare's greatest writing about power. We're proud and excited to present, alongside Phyllida Lloyd's return to theatre, Joe Wright's stage debut. Joe is one of the leading lights of British film. It feels very apt that having grown up in a theatre - the Little Angel in Islington - Joe should be directing Trelawny of the Wells, as it's a play set in that corner of London, and a love letter to actors and life in the theatre.To round off the season, I am delighted to be directing a revival of Conor McPherson's The Weir. It is a breathtaking play. When I saw it fifteen years ago, it made me determined to work in the theatre and so it means a great deal to me to be directing it at the Donmar. I think that our theatre's intimate setting will bring something extraordinary to this haunting play."
Julius Caesar will begin performances Nov. 29 prior to an official opening Dec. 4, for a run through Feb. 9, 2013. Phyllida Lloyd, who has previously directed Mary Stuart, The Threepenny Opera and Boston Marriage at the Donmar, directs; Mary Stuart subsequently transferred to the West End and on Broadway, which starred Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter. Walter now stars as Brutus, with Frances Barber as Julius Caesar, Jade Anouka as Calpurnia, Clare Dunne as Portia, Jenny Jules as Cassius and Cush Jumbo as Mark Anthony.
Trelawney of the Wells will begin performances Feb. 15, prior to an official opening Feb. 26, for a run through April 13. Written by Arthur Wing Pinero, it is described in press materials as a love letter to the theatre, and revolves around "Rose Trelawny, the brightest star in the firmament of the Wells, the theatre company that raised her from birth. But she's prepared to give it all up for the love of her stage-door suitor, aristocratic Arthur. His family are less convinced of her charms, however, and her joyful challenge to their dreary, snobby existence shocks them to their core." Director Joe Wright, who is best known for films that include "Anna Karenina," "Hanna," "The Soloist," "Atonement" and "Pride and Prejudice," was himself brought up in and around a theatre near Sadler's Wells: His parents founded and ran the Little Angel Theatre.
The Weir will begin performances April 18, prior to an official opening April 25, for a run through June 8. In Brendan’s pub, isolated above the town, "the men are gathering for their daily pint. The arrival of a stranger in their midst – a woman - spurs them to impress her with stories. They are stories of souls past and of spirits very much present. But one story is more chilling and more real than any of the men could have foreseen." On its première in 1997, the play won the Evening Standard, Critics' Circle and Olivier award for Best New Play.
Priority booking opens Sept. 12, with public booking from Oct. 1. Barclays Front Row seats will be released every Monday morning starting Nov. 19. To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 871 7624, or visit www.donmarwarehouse.com.
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