Rufus Norris announces his debut season at National Theatre

Bold and imaginative new productions are planned for the 2015 season at the National Theatre announced yesterday by its new leaders.

New chief executive Tessa Ross and director Rufus Norris launched the programme declaring that they wanted to offer the public work that was “open, diverse, and collaborative”.

Said Tessa: “It’s with great pleasure and excitement that we present our first season at the National.

“We want to make the very best theatre and share it with as many people as possible.

“So we’ve started by putting together a group of extraordinary performers, writers and theatre-makers, led by our new team of associates: Paule Constable, Dominic Cooke, Marianne Elliott, Tom Morris, Ben Power and Lyndsey Turner.

“The work we make over the coming years will strive to be as open, as diverse, as collaborative and as national as possible.

“We want to inspire artists and audiences to think in new ways, to constantly re-imagine the act of making theatre.

“This first season is just a beginning, but it contains the seeds of what is to come”.

There are new plays by Alice Birch, Caryl Churchill, Patrick Marber, Duncan Macmillan and Wallace Shawn and re-imagined classics.

A new version of Everyman by Carol Ann Duffy will star Chiwetel Ejiofor in the title role.

Damon Albarn’s new musical, will have its London premiere and there are new adaptations of Turgenev and DH Lawrence, Shakespeare, Farquhar and Granville Barker.

Sally Cookson will direct Jane Eyre and there will be modern masterpieces by Caryl Churchill, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Timberlake Wertenbaker and August Wilson.

The NT also pledges a commitment to regional relationships, beginning with co-productions with Bristol Old Vic, Headlong, Manchester International Festival and the Royal Exchange Theatre.


The season starts with Rufus Norris directing Everyman, adapted by Carol Ann Duffy, with Chiwetel Ejiofor in the title role, opening in the Olivier Theatre on April 29.

A cornerstone of English drama since the 15th century, this new production has words by Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate, and movement by Javier De Frutos.

One of the great primal, spiritual myths, Everyman asks whether it is only in death that we can understand our lives.

Light Shining in Buckinghamshire

Light Shining In Buckinghamshire by Caryl Churchill opens in the Lyttelton Theatre on 23 April.

The cast will include Trystan Gravelle, Joshua James, Amanda Lawrence, Ashley McGuire, Simon Manyonda and Alan Williams.

The drama tells the story of the men and women who went into battle for the soul of England. It speaks of the revolution we never had and the legacy it left behind.

In the aftermath of a bloody and brutal civil war, England stands at a crossroads. Food shortages, economic instability, and a corrupt political system threaten to plunge the country into darkness and despair.

The Beaux Stratagem

Simon Godwin will direct Farquhar’s The Beaux Stratagem in the Olivier from May

The Beaux are Mr Aimwell and Mr Archer, two charming, dissolute young men who have blown their fortunes in giddy London. Shamed and debt-ridden, they flee to provincial Lichfield. Their ‘Stratagem’: to marry for money.

Making its London debut is, a new musical inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, with music by Damon Albarn and book and lyrics by Moira Buffini.

It will be directed by Rufus Norris in a co-production with Manchester International Festival; commissioned by Manchester International Festival, the National Theatre and the Théâtre du Châtelet.

It will open at MIF with performances from 2 – 12 July (previews from 29 June), and come to the Olivier Theatre in November for the winter season.

In 2016, will visit the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

Other productions for the 2015 season:

The Motherf**ker With The Hat, by Stephen Adly Guirgis, Lyttelton Theatre, from June.

Poetic, profane and hilarious, this whip-smart look at love and addiction finds light even in the darkest corners of New York City.

*The Red Lion by Patrick Marber, Dorfman Theatre, from June.

Patrick Marber returns to premiere a fifth play at the National Theatre. Directed by Ian Rickson, the cast is Calvin Demba, Daniel Mays and Peter Wight.

A new play about the dying romance of the great English game of football – and the tender, savage love that powers it.

*Beyond Caring, by Alexander Zeldin, Temporary Theatre from April.

Alexander Zeldin’s brutally honest play exposes stories of an invisible class.

*We Want You To Watch by RashDash and Alice Birch, Temporary Theatre, from June.

*An Oak Tree by Tim Crouch, Temporary Theatre, from June.

Tim Crouch’s ground-breaking and Obie Award-winning production receives a 10th anniversary revival, playing from June.

An intricate story of loss and suggestion performed by two people: the playwright himself and a different second actor at each performance – an actor who will have neither seen nor read a word of the play they’re in until they’re in it.

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