U.K.'s National Will Welcome Return of Antony Sher and New Production of She Stoops to Conquer

News   U.K.'s National Will Welcome Return of Antony Sher and New Production of She Stoops to Conquer
The U.K.'s National Theatre will present the previously announced premieres of Nicholas Wright's play Travelling Light, which marks the return of Antony Sher to the South Bank theatre, and Jamie Lloyd's new production of She Stoops to Conquer, as part of its plans through March 2012.

It will also host the London premiere of Can We Talk About This? by physical theatre company DV8 who have been regular National visitors, as well as a new production of Errol John's 1953 play Moon on a Rainbow Shawl.

Travelling Light will begin performances in the Lyttelton Theatre Jan. 11, prior to an official opening Jan. 18, then continuing in rep. It will also be broadcast internationally as part of National Theatre Live Feb. 9. It will subsequently tour to Salford, Leeds, Aylesbury and Newcastle. According to press materials, the play is a tribute to the Eastern European immigrants who became major players in Hollywood's golden age. In a remote village in Eastern Europe, around 1900, the young Motl Mendl (Damien Molony) is entranced by the flickering silent images on his father's cinematograph. Bankrolled by Jacob (Antony Sher), the ebullient local timber merchant, and inspired by Anna (Lauren O'Neil), the girl sent to help him make moving pictures of their village, he stumbles on a revolutionary way of story-telling. Forty years on, Motl – now a famed American film director – looks back on his early life and confronts the cost of fulfilling his dreams.

The cast will also include Mark Extance, Colin Haigh, Paul Jesson, Sue Kelvin, Abigail McKern, Karl Theobald and Alexis Zegerman. The production is directed by Nicholas Hytner and designed by Bob Crowley, with costumes by Vicki Mortimer, lighting by Bruno Poet, video/projection design by Jon Driscoll, music by Grant Olding and sound by Rich Walsh.

Wright's previous plays for the National include Vincent in Brixton (which subsequently transferred to the West End and Broadway), The Reporter and Mrs. Klein, as well as adaptations of His Dark Materials, Three Sisters and Thérèse Raquin. He is currently represented on the London stage by The Last of the Duchess, running at Hampstead Theatre.

Sher last appeared at the National in Primo, his own adaptation of Primo Levi's "If this is a Man," which subsequently transferred to Hampstead Theatre and Broadway, and was also filmed, for which he received a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor. Other National Theatre credits include Stanley (subsequently Broadway), Titus Andronicus, Uncle Vanya, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Trial and True West. He is currently appearing in the West End in Broken Glass at the Vaudeville Theatre. Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer will begin performances in the Olivier Theatre Jan. 24 prior to an official opening Jan. 31, then continuing in rep. It will be broadcast internationally as part of National Theatre Live March 29. Jamie Lloyd directs a cast that includes David Fynn, Harry Hadden-Paton, John Heffernan, Cush Jumbo, Katherine Kelly (Kate Hardcastle), Steve Pemberton (Mr. Hardcastle), Gavin Spokes and Sophie Thompson (Mrs. Hardcastle). It is designed by Mark Thomson, with lighting by Neil Austin, sound and music by The Ringham Brothers and movement by Ann Yee, with Matt Berry as associate sound designer.

Kelly is best known for playing Becky McDonald in TV's "Coronation Street." Pemberton is best known as one of the writers and performers of the stage, TV and film comedy troupe The League of Gentlemen. Thompson was last seen in the West End in Clybourne Park that transferred from the Royal Court.

Moon on a Rainbow Shawl will begin performances in the Cottesloe Theatre March 7, prior to an official opening March 14, then continuing in rep. Michael Buffong, recently appointed artistic director of Talawa Theatre Company, directs a play set in Port of Spain, Trinidad, as returning troops from the Second World War fill the town with their raucous celebrations. For the teeming populace of Old Mack's cacophonous yard it's a cheek by jowl existence lived out on a sweltering public stage. Snatches of calypso compete with hymn tunes, drums and street cries as neighbours drink, brawl, pass judgment, make love, look out for each other and crave a better life. But Ephraim is no dreamer and nothing, not even the seductive Rosa, is going to stop him escaping his dead-end job for a fresh start in England.

Can We Talk About This?, co-produced with DV8 Physical Theatre, will begin performances in the Lyttelton March 9, prior to an official opening March 12, for a run through March 28. Conceived and directed by Lloyd Newson, it comes to London following a world tour. The cast comprises Joy Constantinides, Lee Davern, Kim-Jomi Fischer, Ermira Goro, Hannes Langolf, Samir M’Kirech, Christina May, Seeta Patel, Anwar Russell and Ira Mandela Siobhan. From the 1989 book burnings of Salman Rusdie's "The Satanic Verses," to the murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh and the controversy of the "Muhammad cartoons" in 2005, DV8’s new production examines how these events have reflected and influenced multicultural policies, freedom of speech and censorship. It is based on real voices and interviews with leading figures from across the religious, political, cultural and social spectrum, including MPs, high profile authors and journalists. DV8 have previously visited the Lyttelton with Just for Show and To Be Straight With You.

Public phone/online booking for new productions in the season through March opens Nov. 23. To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7452 3000, or visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk.

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