National Theatre Announces Further Fall Plans, Including Ayckbourn's Season's Greetings | Playbill

News National Theatre Announces Further Fall Plans, Including Ayckbourn's Season's Greetings
The National Theatre has announced further plans for the fall, which include a new production of Alan Ayckbourn's Christmas comedy Season's Greetings and a new staging of Beauty and the Beast for younger audiences, as well as further casting and dates for the previously announced Peter Hall production of Twelfth Night.

Sir Alan Ayckbourn
Sir Alan Ayckbourn Photo by Tim Bartholomew

Season's Greetings, which originally premiered in Scarborough in 1980 and was subsequently seen in the West End in 1982, will begin performances Dec. 1 prior to an official opening Dec. 8 in the Lyttelton Theatre. It will be directed by NT associate director Marianne Elliott, with a cast that includes TV stars Mark Gatiss ("The League of Gentlemen") and Catherine Tate ("The Catherine Tate Show"), as well as Oliver Chris, Katherine Parkinson, Jenna Russell, Neil Stuke, David Troughton, Nicola Walker and Marc Wootton. According to press materials, the play is "a look at the misery and high jinks of an average family Christmas. Cheating at snakes and ladders, fighting over comic books, a bungled infidelity beneath the tree. Christmas has arrived in the Bunker household along with family and friends. But as the children lurk just out of sight, it's the adults who are letting the side down. Presiding over the festivities are two warring uncles, one a kindly, incompetent doctor with an interminable puppet show to perform; the other a bullying, retired security guard who dominates the TV, brings toy guns for his nieces and determines there's a thief in their midst."

Beauty and the Beast, to be presented in a new devised production directed by Katie Mitchell, will begin performances Nov. 24 prior to an official opening Dec. 1 in the Cottesloe Theatre, for a season through Jan. 5, 2011. Featuring a text by playwright Lucy Kirkwood based on the classic French fairytale, it is described as being suitable for children aged eight and above. The cast comprises Mark Arends, Sian Clifford, Kate Duchêne, Kristin Hutchinson, Sean Jackson and Justin Salinger. The production will be designed by Vicki Mortimer, with lighting by Jon Clark, music by Paul Clark, sound design by Gareth Fry, choreography by Joseph Alford and puppets by Matthew Robins, with video by Fifty-Nine Productions Ltd., movement by Joseph Alford and sound by Gareth Fry.

The previously announced Peter Hall production of Twelfth Night, in which his daughter Rebecca will make her National Theatre acting debut to play Viola, will begin performances Jan. 11 prior to an official opening Jan. 18 in the Cottesloe Theatre. The cast also includes Cornelius Booth, Simon Callow (as Sir Toby Belch), James Clyde, Marton Csokas (Orsino), Amanda Drew (Olivia), Charles Edwards (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), Samuel James, Richard Keightley, Ben Mansfield, Simon Paisley Day (Malvolio), David Ryall, Jeffry Wickham and Finty Williams. The production will be designed by Anthony Ward, with lighting by Peter Mumford, music by Mick Sands and sound by Gregory Clarke; the associate director is Richard Twyman.

Public booking by phone and online for new productions in the October to January booking period opens Oct. 12. To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7452 3000, or visit

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