National Theatre Season Includes Adrian Lester as Othello, Gorky's Children of the Sun and the Opening of The Shed

By Mark Shenton
January 30, 2013

The new season at the National Theatre will see the opening of new productions of Othello, starring Adrian Lester in the title role with Rory Kinnear as Iago, Gorky's Children of the Sun, and a new temporary venue called The Shed in front of the National while the Cottesloe is remodeled as part of the NT Future scheme. 



Othello, which will begin performances April 16 prior to an official opening April 23 in the Olivier Theatre, will be directed by National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner, reuniting him with the stars of his NT productions of Henry V and Hamlet, respectively. The cast will also include Jonathan Bailey (Cassio), William Chubb, Lyndsey Marshal (Emilia), Tom Robertson, Nick Sampson and Olivia Vinall (Desdemona). The production will be designed by Vicki Mortimer, with lighting by Jon Clark and fight direction by Kate Waters.

Maxim Gorky's Children of the Sun, which begins performances April 9 prior to an official opening April 16 in the Lyttelton Theatre, will be directed by Howard Davies. It is presented as part of the Travelex £12 season in a new version by Andrew Upton, who previously provided new versions for Davies' productions of Gorky's Philistines, Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard and Bulgakov's The White Guard. The cast includes Lucy Black, Matthew Flynn, Florence Hall, Paul Higgins, Gerald Kyd, Emma Lowndes, Maggie McCarthy, Justine Mitchell, Rhiannon Oliver and Geoffrey Streatfeild. The production will be designed by Bunny Christie, with lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Paul Groothuis.

In the play "Protasov (Streatfeild) wants only to immerse himself in chemical experiments to perfect mankind. He's oblivious to the voracious advances of the half-crazed widow Melaniya and his best friend’s unrelenting pursuit of his wife, let alone the cholera epidemic and the starving mob at his gates. While Nanny fusses round, Protasov’s admiring circle, variously skeptical and lovesick, spar over culture and the cosmos. Only Liza feels the peasants’ suffering and senses their own privileged world is in jeopardy."

The Shed, a new temporary venue in front of the National Theatre, will provide a third stage during the Cottesloe's closure for the NT Future redevelopment, from April 2013-February 2014. It will have 225 seats at £12 and £20. It will open with Tanya Ronder's Table, beginning performances April 9 prior to an official opening April 12, for a run through May 18. Rufus Norris directs. Revolving around six generations, nine performers, thirty characters and one very special piece of furniture, the cast comprises Daniel Cerqueira, Rosalie Craig, Jonathan Cullen, Paul Hilton, Penny Layden, Sarah Niles, Michael Shaeffer, Maggie Service and Sophie Wu.

It will be followed by Rob Drummond's Bullet Catch, beginning performances May 21 for a run through June 1. This production from the Arches, Glasgow was a hit at last year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it ran at the Traverse. It is described in press materials as a unique theatrical experience exploring the world of magic, featuring mind-reading, levitation and the most notorious finale in show business.

Then Mission Drift, beginning performances June 5 prior to an official opening June 7 for a run through June 28, tells of a pioneering journey in pursuit of the soul of American capitalism, told through atomic blasts, lizard ballet and original music that fuses Las Vegas glitz and Southern Blues. Seen at the Traverse as part of the Edinburgh Fringe in 2011, it is created by THE TEAM in collaboration with Heather Christian and Sarah Gancher; directed by Rachel Chavkin with music by Heather Christian; designed by Nick Vaughan with costumes by Brenda Abbandandolo, lighting by Jake Heindrich and sound by Matt Dubbs.

Public booking for Othello and Children of the Sun opens Feb. 15 and for productions in The Shed from March 1. To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7452 3000 or visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk.

Read more about Nicholas Hytner's plans for the 2013 season, including a Tori Amos musical, here.