New Season at London's Royal Court to Include New Plays by Bruce Norris, Polly Stenham and Anthony Neilson

By Mark Shenton
November 5, 2012

Dominic Cooke's final season at the helm of London's Royal Court Theatre will include new plays by Bruce Norris, Polly Stenham and Anthony Neilson, all of whom featured in his first season seven years ago. 



In a press statement, Cooke commented, "This season is my last as artistic director. It includes plays by three very different but equally original writers whose work I programmed at the start of my time here.  It's a pleasure to welcome Polly Stenham, Bruce Norris and Anthony Neilson back to their London home. They will be joined by two equally unusual talents making their Royal Court debuts. Anders Lustgarten grapples with the complex question of national debt; who is responsible and who should pay?  Anna Wakulik gives us a witty and vivid account of the Polish diaspora in London. In April I hand over to the brilliant Vicky Featherstone and the Court begins what promises to be a thrilling new chapter in its history."

The season in main house Jerwood Theatre Downstairs opens with Simon Godwin directing If You Don’t Let Us Dream, We Won't Let You Sleep, beginning performances Feb. 15, 2013, prior to an official opening Feb. 20, for a run to March 9. Written by Anders Lustgarten, who won the inaugural Harold Pinter Playwright's Award in 2011 which is given annually by Pinter’s widow, Lady Antonia Fraser, to support a new commission at the Royal Court, it looks at the politics of global banking. As the financial world issues its shock treatment, what happens when the City's agenda is taken to its ultimate conclusion? According to press mateirals, the play explodes the ethos of austerity and offers an alternative.

It will be followed by Dominic Cooke directing The Low Road by Bruce Norris, his third play that has been commissioned by the Royal Court, beginning perofrmances March 21 prior to an official opening March 27, for a run through April 27. In the play, which is described as a fable of free market economics and cut-throat capitalism, a young entrepreneur sets out on a quest for wealth with priceless ambition and a purse of gold. Cooke previously directed the U.K. premieres of Norris' The Pain and the Itch and Clybourne Park, the latter of which subsequently transferred to the West End.

The season in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs starts with Jeremy Herrin directing Polly Stenham's new play No Quarter,  beginning performances Jan. 11 prior to an official opening Jan. 16, for a run through Feb. 9. Fleeing a world he has rejected, Robin finds solace in his music and the sanctuary of his remote family home. But as his kingdom begins to crumble around him, how far will he go to save it and at what cost? Stenham's first two plays That Face (written when she was just 19) and Tusk Tusk both premiered at the Court under the direction of Jeremy Herrin.

It will be followed by Anna Wakulik's A Time to Reap, translated by Catherine Grosvenor and directed by Caroline Steinbeis. It begins performances Feb. 22 prior to an official opening Feb. 27, for a run through March 23. Presented as part of International Playwrights: A Genesis Foundation Project, it looks at one woman's story against the mountain landscape of an evolving nation and one of Poland's hottest political topics – abortion and the Catholic Church.

Next, an as-yet-untitled new play written and directed by Anthony Neilson will begin performances April 5, prior to an official opening April 10, for a run through May 4. The play will be created in the rehearsal room with a cast of actors to be announced.  In a press statement, he has explained why he has no title: "Because I want to write from passion, not obligation. Because I want to write for the actors I've cast, not cast for the parts I've written. Because I want to be stupid enough to do the wrong thing when it's right. Because risk is everything. Because everything is changing. Because I'm doing something else right now. Because I want to surprise myself. Because I want to surprise you. That's why."

Tickets for the new season are on sale from Nov. 6 to Friends and Supporters, and for general sale from Nov. 9. To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7565 5000, or visit www.royalcourttheatre.com for more details.