London's National Theatre Announces Jeremy Irons Debut and New Hare Play

News   London's National Theatre Announces Jeremy Irons Debut and New Hare Play
The National Theatre has announced more details of its season for 2008 and beyond. Among the eye-catching highlights are Jeremy Irons making his NT debut and a new play by David Hare, which is scheduled to open in 2009.
Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The announcement confirmed that Vanessa Redgrave will reprise her Broadway performance in The Year of Magical Thinking (beginning April 30) on the National's Lyttelton stage. That will be followed in June by Michael Frayn's Afterlife, a new play about Max Reinhardt; a summer revival of Harold Pinter's A Slight Ache starring Simon Russell Beale; and in September a new work co-directed and starring both Juliet Binoche and choreographer Akram Khan.

The productions follow James Macdonald's previously reported revival of Peter Handke's play without words, The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other. And, beginning March 19, Jeremy Irons will play the lead in Never So Good, Howard Brenton's play about British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.

On the National's Olivier stage, Hytner's revival of Shaw's Major Barbara will be followed by Fram (beginning April 17), Tony Harrison's new play about the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen starring Jasper Britton and Sian Thomas.

In June the Travalex £10 season continues with Melly Still's production of Middleton's Elizabethan play The Revenger's Tragedy with Rory Kinnear in the role of Vindice.

July sees the world premiere of Rebecca Lenkiewicz's Her Naked Son, which is set against the backdrop of the Suffragette movement. Tom Stoppard and Andre Previn's Every Good Boy Deserves Favour will be revived in August, and as previously reported, Ralph Fiennes takes on the title role of Oedipus in a new version by Frank McGuiness. At the Cottesloe, the previously announced Happy Now? (beginning Jan. 24) and the triple bill — Baby Girl by Roy Williams, DNA? by Dennis Kelly and The Miracle by Lin Coghlan (beginning Feb. 28) — will be followed by the world premiere of Simon Stephens' Harper Regan.

Mark Ravenhill's cycle of 17 plays, called Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat, will be staged in various venues around London in conjunction The Gate Theatre, Out of Joint, Paines Plough and The Royal Court. Four of the plays will be staged at National's Lyttelton and Cottesloe theatres in April.

Lee Hall's play, The Pitman Painters, transfers to the Cottesloe from Live Theatre, Newcastle, and the ground-breaking director Katie Mitchell is to create a production based on Dostoyevsky's The Idiot with a cast featuring Ben Whishaw.

In November director Marianne Elliott will return to helm Samuel Adamson's Mrs. Affleck, which was written in response to Ibsen's Little Eyolf.

David Hare's new play, Gethsemane, will premiere early in 2009 with Howard Davies directing.

Commenting on the season Hytner said, "2008 will be the most ambitious year since I became the National's director. It will be marked above all by the extraordinary confidence of British playwriting, which is in evidence all over the country, at theatres large and small. We have four new plays from the current great generation of major English playwrights, and eight from their successors. Many of them are on an epic scale, and they share the repertoire with an unprecedented profusion of classics, devised shows, physical theatre and dance theatre. The National is only part of a surge of creative energy throughout the British theatre, and I'm looking forward to seeing the results on our stages."

For more on the National's 2008 season, call (0)20 742 3000 or visit

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