London’s National Theatre has announced its 2019–2020 season, which will launch November 12 with My Brilliant Friend, a two-part stage adaptation of author Elena Ferrante’s four-part Neapolitan Novels. Adapted by April De Angelis and directed Melly Still, the production will reunite original cast members from the 2017 Rose Theatre Kingston premiere. The two-part drama will run in repertory through January 18, 2020 in the Olivier Theatre.
In February, Tony and Pulitzer-winning Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner will debut a new adaptation of Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s The Visit, starring Lesley Manville as Claire Zachanassian. Jeremy Herrin directs.
One Man, Two Guv’nors playwright Richard Bean has collaborated with actor Oliver Chris on the new comedy Jack Absolute Flies Again, based on the Richard Brinsley Sheridan restoration comedy The Rivals. Thea Sharrock (Equus, The Crown) directs the adaptation that relocates the play to World War II. Performances begin April 2020.
Ian Rickson will direct Paradise, a new adaptation of Sophocles’ Philoctetes by Kate Tempest, set to debut in June. Lesley Sharp will play Philoctetes.
The Lyttelton Theatre season opens December 3 with a new adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters by Inua Ellams that resets the action to 1960s Nigeria, on the eve of the Biafran Civil War. Nadia Fall directs the production that runs through January 4.
The Welkin, the latest from The Children and Chimerica playwright Lucy Kirkwood, will debut in January under the direction of James Macdonald. Maxine Peake will play a midwife who comes to the defense of a young woman accused of murder in the 1759-set drama.
Manor, a new dark comedy from director-playwright Moira Buffini about a group of strangers who find themselves stranded at a run-down manor house in the midst of a violent storm, will bow in April.
Director Robert Lepage’s seven-hour epic The Seven Streams of the River Ota, which premiered at the National in 1996, will return in March 2020 as part of a world tour marking 75 years since the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. The work, which was the first piece created by Lepage for his theatre company Ex Machina, has been updated since its premiere.
The Dorfman Theatre season will kick off September 9 with Faith, Hope and Charity, the third piece in playwright Alexander Zeldin’s trilology exploring the lives of marginalized people, that also includes Beyond Caring and LOVE. The cast will feature Nick Holder, Dayo Koleosho, Susan Lynch, Cecilia Noble, Bobby Stallwood, Hind Swareldahab, and Alan William. Performances are scheduled through October 12.
Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker’s The Antipodes, seen Off-Broadway at the Signature Theatre in 2017, will receive its U.K. premiere at the National beginning October 21 for a run through November 23. Baker and Chloe Lamford will direct a cast featuring Matt Bardock, Arthur Darvill, Imogen Doel, Hadley Fraser, Conleth Hill, Sinéad Matthews, Stuart McQuarrie and Bill Milner.
A new stage adaptation of best-selling Sci-Fi writer Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, a modern myth about one man’s fantastical journey to rediscover his inner child, will play the Dorfman Theatre December 11–January 25, 2020. Adapted by Joel Horwood, the work is directed by Katy Rudd, and features movement direction by Tony nominee Stephen Hoggett. Josie Walker and Samuel Blenkin will co-star.
Rafe Spall will star Death of England, a new play by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams, that will debut in February. Clint Dyer will direct the play about a working class man’s search for the truth following the death of his father.
Comedian and writer Francesca Martinez, known for her best-selling book and subsequent live tour of What The **** Is Normal?, will make her National debut in March as playwright and star of All of Us. Ian Rickson will direct the National Theatre commission.
Nadia Fall’s Welcome to Iran will arrive at the National in May following its premiere engagement at the Theatre Royal Stratford East early next spring. Based on real-life testimonials the work examines modern life in Iran through the eyes of a young woman searching for her past—and her extended family following the death of her father.
The National’s Public Acts initiative returns August 24–27 with the musical adaptation of As You Like It, featuring music and lyrics by Shaina Taub. Created by Taub and Laurie Woolery, the musical premiered at the Delacorte Theater in 2017 as part of the Public Theater’s Public Works programming. Emily Lim will direct the production. Also announced is the Public Acts production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle, adapted by Chris Bush and directed by James Blakely. The production will incorporate community partners in Doncaster for the new adaptation of Brecht’s classic.