The Crucible and The Boy with Two Hearts for National Theatre

The National Theatre today announces two new productions, and the booking dates of two previously announced productions, to be performed on all three South Bank stages this Autumn, as well as the UK and Ireland tour of The Ocean at the End of The Lane.

Lyndsey Turner (Under Milk Wood) will direct Arthur Miller’s The Crucible in the Olivier theatre in September. A gripping parable of power and its abuse, this urgent new staging will see Brendan Cowell (Yerma) make his National Theatre debut as John Proctor alongside Erin Doherty (The Crown, My Name is Rachel Corrie) playing the role of Abigail. Further casting includes Fisayo Akinade, Rachelle Diedericks, Nick Fletcher, Karl Johnson, Gracie McGonigal, Matthew Marsh and Eileen Walsh. 

With set design by Es Devlin, costume design by Catherine Fay and lighting design by Tim Lutkin. Sound design by Tingying Dong (content design) and Paul Arditti (system design). Staff director is Blythe Stewart, and dialect coaches are Majella Hurley and Hazel Holder.

Following its revival in Cardiff in September, Wales Millennium Centre’s widely acclaimed stage adaptation of The Boy with Two Hearts will open in the Dorfman Theatre in October. Directed by Amit Sharma (Badhaai Ho) and adapted for the stage by Phil Porter (The Miser) the play is based on the book of the same name by Hamed and Hessam Amiri. Drawing on extraordinary real-life experiences, it is a powerful story of hope, courage, and humanity – and a heartfelt tribute to the NHS.

The original cast of Afghan and Iranian performers will return to their roles, including Shamail Ali, Dana Haqjoo, Farshid Rokey, Ahmad Sakhi and Géhane Strehler as well as the award-winning Afghan vocalist and composer, Elaha Soroor.

Set and costume designer is Hayley Grindle, lighting designer is Amy Mae, sound designer and co-composer is Tic Ashfield, movement director is Jess Williams and Hayley Egan is video designer. Casting is by Sarah Hughes CDG and associate director is Sepy Baghaei.

Also going on sale is the previously announced Blues for an Alabama Sky by Pearl Cleage, directed by Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre, Lynette Linton, who makes her National Theatre debut. This startling play set in 1930 during the Harlem renaissance, is about four friends whose lives and passions collide when a newcomer from Alabama arrives. Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale, Orange is the New Black) performs the role of Angel Allen with Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo (Three Sisters) as Delia Patterson, Osy Ikhile (Sweat) as Leland Cunningham, Sule Rimi (Barber Shop Chronicles) as Sam Thomas and Giles Terera (Death of England: Face to Face, Hamilton) performing the role of Guy Jacobs.

Set and costume design by Frankie Bradshaw, lighting designer is Oliver Fenwick, composer is Benjamin Kwasi Burrell, sound designer is George Dennis, movement director is Kane Husbands, wigs hair and make-up design is Cynthia De La Rosa and Staff Director TD Moyo.

The National Theatre’s new musical Hex returns to the Olivier theatre for Christmas. A vividly original retelling of Sleeping Beauty, Hex is a mythic, big-hearted musical that goes beyond the waking kiss. Directed by Rufus Norris with book by Tanya Ronder, music by Jim Fortune and lyrics by Rufus Norris. Original concept by Katrina Lindsay and Rufus Norris. Set and Costume designs by Katrina Lindsay, choreography by Jade Hackett.

With music supervision and vocal arrangements by Marc Tritschler, orchestrations by Simon Hale, music direction by Tarek Merchant, lighting design by Paul Anderson, sound design by Simon Baker and video design by Ash J Woodward. Consultant Choreographer Bill Deamer and Séimí Campbell as Associate Director. Casting to be announced.

Further casting is announced for Simon Godwin’s production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing which will open in the Lyttelton theatre in July. Set in the Italian Riviera at the fictional Hotel Messina, Katherine Parkinson (Home, I’m Darling) will play Beatrice with John Heffernan (The Pursuit of Love) as Benedick in Shakespeare’s timeless romantic comedy alongside Celeste Dodwell, Eben Figueiredo, Olivia Forrest, David Fynn, Ashley Gillard, Brandon Grace, Nick Harris, Phoebe Horn, David Judge, Kiren Kebaili-Dwyer, Wendy Kweh, Ioanna Kimbook, Marcia Lecky, Ewan Miller, Mateo Oxley, Rufus Wright and Ashley Zhangazha.

With set design by Anna Fleischle, costume design by Evie Gurney and lighting design by Lucy Carter. Composer is Michael Bruce and sound design by Christopher Shutt. Staff Director is Hannah Joss.

National Theatre on Tour

Following a celebrated six-month run at the Duke of York’s Theatre in the West End, the National Theatre’s critically acclaimed adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane will tour the UK and Ireland later this year, visiting 29 towns and cities for a total of 40 weeks. This is the largest tour mounted by the National Theatre since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Featuring an ensemble cast of 17, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is directed by Katy Rudd (Camp Siegfried) and adapted by Joel Horwood (Skins, I Want My Hat Back). The first major stage adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s work is a thrilling adventure of fantasy, myth and friendship, which blends magic with memory in a tour-de-force of storytelling that takes audiences on an epic journey to a childhood once forgotten and the darkness that lurks at the very edge of it.

With set design by Fly Davis and costume and puppet design by Samuel Wyer. Movement direction is by Steven Hoggett, composition by Jherek Bischoff, lighting design by Paule Constable (winner of the 2020 Olivier Award for Best Lighting Design), sound design by Ian Dickinson for Autograph, magic and illusions direction and design by Jamie Harrison and puppetry direction by Finn Caldwell. Tour casting is by Sarah Hughes CDG. Cast to be announced. 

For full details of the tour and venues visit oceanonstage.com

National Theatre International

In New York, The Lehman Trilogy received a total of eight Tony Award nominations yesterday, the most nominations for a play this season. Stefano Massini and Ben Power are nominated for Best Play; Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley, and Adrian Lester for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play; Es Devlin for Best Scenic Design of a Play; Jon Clark for Best Lighting Design of a Play; Nick Powell and Dominic Bilkey for Best Sound Design of a Play; and Sir Sam Mendes is nominated for Best Direction of a Play for the production’s sold out run at the Nederlander Theatre.  A co-production with Neal Street Productions, The Lehman Trilogy, which first opened in the Lyttelton theatre and has since played in New York at the Park Avenue Armory, in the West End, on Broadway and on tour in Los Angeles, is also nominated for a record nine Outer Critics Circle Awards, and three Drama League Awards. The 75th annual Tony Awards will take place in New York at Radio City Music Hall on June 12.

National Theatre Digital

National Theatre Live cinema audiences are invited to an early autumn escape to the Italian Riviera in Much Ado About Nothing, with Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd) and John Heffernan (Dracula), directed by Simon Godwin (Romeo & Juliet), broadcast live from the National Theatre from 8 September 2022. The season of comedy continues with Jack Absolute Flies Again by Richard Bean (One Man, Two Guvnors) and Oliver Chris, a new version of Sheridan’s The Rivals, directed by Emily Burns. Caroline Quentin (Jonathan Creek), Laurie Davidson (Cats), Natalie Simpson (Three Sisters) and Kelvin Fletcher (Emmerdale) lead the cast, set for release into cinemas from 6 October 2022.

To celebrate the NT’s first ever BAFTA nomination for Death of England: Face to Face, the full Death of England trilogy, written by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams, will be available to stream on National Theatre at Home this month. This includes Death of England, with Rafe Spall as Michael and Death of England: Delroy with Michael Balogun, from 12 May 2022; Death of England: Face to Face, which sees Michael (Neil Maskell) and Delroy (Giles Terera) come together in this critically-acclaimed feature film, is now available on the platform.

Working with young people and communities nationwide

Public Acts continues with Cast joining forces with the community of Doncaster to present The Doncastrian Chalk Circle on 27 – 29 August in a new version of Brecht’s classic adapted by Chris Bush, directed by James Blakey with music by Ruth Chan. Following this, the multi-venue production of The Odyssey will be taking place nationwide in 2023 to mark the fifth anniversary of Public Acts.

The Connections and New Views Festivals recommence at the NT this summer. Ten youth theatre companies will perform new plays at the 2022 NT Connections Festival, taking place in the Dorfman Theatre from 28 June – 2 July. Over 5,400 young people from 228 youth theatres and schools are currently staging specially commissioned new plays at partner theatres across the UK, bringing together some of the UK's most exciting writers with the theatre-makers of tomorrow. 

2022 is the 10th anniversary of New Views playwriting competition with over 3,250 new plays by young writers submitted over the last decade. Over 1,000 students have taken part in New Views this year and the winning play will be staged in a full production on the Dorfman stage on 6 – 7 July, with rehearsed readings of shortlisted plays in the Duffield Studio.

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