Allelujah! Alan Bennett’s new play to premiere at Hytner’s Bridge Theatre

Nicholas Hytner is collaborating once again with Alan Bennett to direct the world premiere of his new play, Allelujah!, previewing at the Bridge Theatre this July.

The pair struck up a hugely successful partnership during Hytner’s tenure at the National Theatre. This will be Alan Bennett’s first full length play since People, and his Cocktail Sticks/Hymn double bill, in 2012, and his subject, this time, is the crumbling NHS.

The Beth, an old fashioned cradle-to-grave hospital serving a town on the edge of the Pennines, is threatened with closure as part of an NHS efficiency drive.

Meanwhile, a documentary crew eager to capture its fight for survival follows the daily struggle to find beds on the Dusty Springfield Geriatric Ward, and the triumphs of the old people’s choir (newest member: the Pudsey Nightingale).

Allelujah! will be the tenth collaboration between Bennett and Hytner. They first worked together on Bennett’s adaptation of The Wind in the Willows for the National Theatre in 1990.

Then followed The Madness of King George III, The Lady in the Van and The History Boys, all of which were also seen on film, The Habit of Art, People and the double bill Untold Stories.

Nicholas Hytner will also direct the world premiere of Lucinda Coxon’s Alys, Always based on the novel by Harriet Lane, previewing at the Bridge Theatre in January 2019.

Frances works on the books pages of a Sunday newspaper. She’s quiet and capable, but nobody takes much notice: her face is pressed to the window, on the outside, looking in.

One evening, driving back to London after visiting her infuriating parents, she comes across an upturned car crumpled on the side of the road.

She waits with the injured driver, Alys Kyte, until the ambulance arrives.

Later, when Alys’s famous family gets in touch, Frances finds herself for the first time ushered into the world on the other side of the window. And she begins to wonder: what would it take to become a player?

A gripping psychological thriller that excavates the fault line that separates the entitled from the unentitled.

Lucinda Coxon’s previous theatre writing credits include Herding Cats, Happy Now, The Eternal Not, Nostalgia, The Shoemaker’s Wife and Waiting at the Water’s Edge.

Her screen writing credits include the multiple award-winning The Danish Girl starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, The Crimson Petal and the White starring Romola Garai for BBC, Wild Target starring Emily Blunt, The Heart of Me starring Paul Bettany and Helena Bonham-Carter and the forthcoming The Little Stranger starring Domnhall Gleeson and Ruth Wilson.

Alys, Always was Harriet Lane’s debut novel, published in 2012, and was followed in 2014 with Her. Previously Lane wrote for the Guardian and the Observer as well as Vogue and Tatler.

Allejujah!, previews at the Bridge Theatre from July 11, and runs until September 28. Alys, Always will preview from January 23, 2019 and run until March 30.

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