Further Plans at U.K.'s National Theatre Include John Heffernan as Edward II and New Work in the Shed

News   Further Plans at U.K.'s National Theatre Include John Heffernan as Edward II and New Work in the Shed
Further plans for July to November at the U.K.'s National Theatre include a new production of Marlowe's Edward II, beginning performances Aug. 28 in the Olivier Theatre, prior to an official opening Sept. 4, and then playing in rep through Oct. 26.

John Heffernan will play the title role in director Joe Hill-Gibbins's contemporary take on the play. Also in the cast are Vanessa Kirby as Queen Isabella and Kyle Soller as Gaveston.

The rest of the company includes Ben Addis, Alex Beckett, Paul Bentall, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Bettrys Jones, Nathaniel Martello-White, Matthew Pidgeon and David Sibley.

The production is designed by Lizzie Clachan, with costumes by Alex Lowde, lighting by James Farncombe, video design by Chris Kondek, music by Gary Yershon, sound by Paul Arditti, movement by Imogen Knight and dramaturgy by Zoe Svensden.

"Hot on the heels of his coronation, Edward II recalls his lover Gaveston from exile, lavishing him with titles and riches," according to press notes. "Their all-consuming lust makes enemies of the furious barons and bishops, alienates the King’s once-devoted Queen and tears England to pieces. Ultimately, the monarch himself is destroyed as are many of those who stood both at his side and in his way."

Heffernan's previous appearances at the National include She Stoops to Conquer, Emperor and Galilean, After the Dance, The Habit of Art, The Revenger’s Tragedy and Major Barbara, for the last of which he won an Ian Charleson Award. He is currently in the West End in The Hothouse at Trafalgar Studios. Hill-Gibbins, who makes his NT debut, is deputy artistic director of the Young Vic, where his productions include The Changeling, The Glass Menagerie and The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

The previously announced (and already booking) production of Erich Kästner's Emil and the Detectives, adapted for the stage by Carl Miller, has announced casting. It will begin performances Nov. 16 prior to an official opening Dec. 4 in the Olivier Theatre, with a cast featuring Naomi Frederick and Sue Wallace; the central characters of Emil and the Detectives will be played by 9-13 year olds, with a 50-strong ensemble of children recruited from local London boroughs, schools and youth theatres.

In the Shed — the National's current temporary stage during its closure as part of the NT Future Redevelopment — some of Britain's new theatremakers will visit for a series of limited runs from Sept. 9-21, including Sleepdogs' The Bullet and the Bass Trombone (Sept. 9-11), Little Bulb's Squally Showers (Sept. 12-14), Still House's Ours Was the Fen Country (Sept. 15-17), The Wardrobe Ensemble's Riot (Sept. 18-20), and Mytle Theatre Company's Up Down Boy (Sept. 21).

Then, Michael Longhurst will direct the U.K. premiere of Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig's The World of Extreme Happiness, beginning performances Sept. 25 prior to an official opening Sept. 30, for a run through Oct. 26.

According to press materials, the play is an  "imaginative journey through contemporary China. Sunny leaves her family and her home in the Chinese countryside to head to the city and the promise of a job in a factory and a new life. But letting go of the past and embracing a bright new future proves harder than she could have imagined..

Cowhig's previous plays include 410 [Gone] and Lidless, the latter of which received the Yale Drama Series Award, a 2010 Edinburgh Fringe First Award and was performed at Trafalgar Studios 2 in 2011.

It will be followed by nut, a new play created and directed by debbie tucker green, beginning performances Oct. 30 prior to an official opening Nov. 5, for a run through Dec. 5. It will be choreographed by Polly Bennett and designed by Lisa Marie Hall, with lighting by Tim Mitchell and sound by Emma Laxton. The cast includes Gershwyn Eustache Jr, Nadine Marshall, Anthony Welsh and Sharlene Whyte. In the play,  "Elayne thinks she’s alright. Nobody else does."

Public booking opens July 1; to book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7452 3000, or visit nationaltheatre.org.uk.

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