Hampstead Theatre Plans World Premieres by Nicholas Wright and Richard Nelson

News   Hampstead Theatre Plans World Premieres by Nicholas Wright and Richard Nelson
Edward Hall, artistic director of London's Hampstead Theatre, has announced his next season at the helm of the theatre, which will include three world premieres of plays by Steve Thompson, Nicholas Wright and Richard Nelson, one U.K. premiere of a play by Simon Stephens, and a revival of a hit from last Christmas, to be staged by directors that include Hall, Richard Eyre, Katie Mitchell and Roger Michell.

Richard Nelson
Richard Nelson Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

In a press statement, Hall commented, "It is an enormous pleasure to be producing work of variety and quality over the next year and is indicative of a theatre that continues to go from strength to strength. Hampstead Theatre is now producing more work across its two spaces than ever before, selling more tickets and operating more efficiently. With Richard Eyre, Nicholas Wright, Katie Mitchell, Simon Stephens, Roger Michell and Richard Nelson amongst the artists joining us for our next major season of work, the theatre is looking forward to a very exciting phase in its history as one of the key new writing houses in the UK theatre landscape."

The season launches with the world premiere of Steve Thompson's No Naughty Bits, beginning performances Sept. 8 prior to an official opening Sept. 13, for a run through Oct. 15. Hall directs the play, which is described in press materials as a "witty and bold re-imagining based on a real-life event." As a series of Monty Python airs on American Network television for the first time, it emerges that all the naughty bits have been cut. Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin take on the networks and the American courts, as they try to explain English humor and keep the rude bits in. Thompson's previous plays include Whipping It Up (which transferred from the Bush to the New Ambassadors).

It will be followed by the world premiere of Nicholas Wright's The Last of the Duchess, beginning performances Oct. 20 prior to an official opening Oct. 26, for a run through Nov. 26. It is directed by Richard Eyre, renewing a partnership that previously yielded Vincent in Brixton (first at the National, then in the West End and subsequently on Broadway) and The Reporter (also at the National). The play is based on the book by Caroline Blackwood, a biographical portrait of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, and is set in an upstairs bedroom in a mansion near Versailles where she lies near the end of her life. The play's subject was soon eclipsed by the formidable attorney Maitre Suzanne Blum. Is this eccentric and energetic French presence determined to protect the Duchess – or perhaps hide unscrupulous manipulation of her money and fame?

Melly Still's production of Beasts and Beauties, seen at Hampstead last Christmas, then returns, to begin performances Dec. 1 prior to an official opening Dec. 6, for a run through Jan. 7, 2012. Dramatized by Still and Tim Supple from Carol Ann Duffy's stories, it is described as suitable for audiences aged eight and over.

The New Year then begins with the U.K. premiere of Simon Stephens' The Trial of Ubu, beginning performances Jan. 18 prior to an official opening Jan. 24, for a run through Feb. 18. Katie Mitchell directs the play which explores the central legitimacy and effectiveness of international law. How does a Civilised Society deal with the perpetrators of unspeakable crime? Wherein lies the legitimacy of any internationally convened tribunal? Ubu, the gross and amoral megalomaniac from Jarry's Ubu Roi, finds himself before a U.N. constituted International Tribunal charged with serious violations of international humanitarian law. Finally, Richard Nelson's Farewell to the Theatre receives its world premiere, beginning performances March 1, prior to an official opening March 7, for a season through April 7. Directed by Roger Michell, it revolves around Harley Granville-Barker, a man widely regarded to have laid the foundations of modern British theatre. Famed for his Shakespeare productions, he also wrote and produced ground-breaking new plays in the early twentieth century. He lectured at Cambridge, Oxford, Yale and Harvard. Farewell to the Theatre finds him embittered and world-weary in Massachusetts in 1916, with war raging in Europe, having fallen in with a group of British expatriates endeavouring to find their way in an academic, theatre obsessed community.

To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7722 9301, or visit www.hampsteadtheatre.com.

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