Almeida announce plans for new 2003 season

Almeida announce plans for new 2003 season

Michael Attenborough has announed his plans for his first season as Artistic Director of the Almeida as the theatre company returns to its refurbished London home in Islington.

Re-opening early Spring 2003, the Almeida Theatre Company - originally founded in 1980 by Pierre Audi - became an internationally recognised producing house under the Artistic Directorship of Jonathan Kent and Ian McDiarmid (1990-2002).

Michael Attenborough, who succeeds Kent and McDiarmid as the Almeida's new Artistic Director, sets out his plans for his opening season below. Full details for each production - casting, production teams, dates, etc - and further information on the re-opening of the Almeida will be announced in the New Year.

The Lady from the Sea. Trevor Nunn will make his directorial debut at the Almeida with Ibsen's "The Lady From The Sea", in a new version by Pam Gems. Ellida feels trapped in a stifling marriage to a widower, Dr Wangel, and is haunted by a love from her past to the point of obsession. In an environment of strict moral rules, she has to decide which future to embrace.

For Trevor Nunn, "The Lady From The Sea" will mark his first theatre production after leaving the National Theatre where he has been Director since 1997. His last productions for the National will be Cole Porter's musical "Anything Goes" and Shakespeare's "Love's Labour's Lost". Pam Gems' adaptations include Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" and "The Seagull" and Lorca's "Yerma". Her original plays include "Marlene", "Stanley" and "Piaf".

I.D, the World Premiere of writer and actor Antony Sher's first play, will be directed by Nancy Meckler.On 6th September 1966 South African Prime Minister Hendrick Verwoerd was stabbed to death in Parliament by messenger Demetrios Tsafendas. I.D. is an epic portrait of the mad Old South Africa and of two individuals, the Prime Minister and his killer, both searching for the same thing - identity.

Antony Sher has written four novels - Middlepost, The Indoor Boy, Cheap Lives, and The Feast - as well as two theatre journals - Woza Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus in South Africa (written with Greg Doran) and Year of the King. His autobiography, Beside Myself, has recently been published in paperback. This month Sher revives his Royal Shakespeare Company roles in The Roman Actor and The Malcontent as part of a season at the Gielgud.

Nancy Meckler has been Artistic Director of Shared Experience since 1988 where her many productions for the company have included Anna Karenina and The Mill on The Floss. Previously she was Associate Director at Hampstead Theatre and the Leicester Haymarket. She has directed two feature films - Sister My Sister and Alive and Kicking (with Antony Sher). Her production of Martin Sherman's Rose played at the National Theatre and on Broadway. Nancy Meckler's recent tour for Shared Experience, A Passage to India, will play at the Riverside Studios in January 2003.

Five Gold Rings, the World Premiere of 24 year old award-winning writer Joanna Laurens' second play, directed by Michael Attenborough. Henry has invited his two sons and their wives to his home for Christmas. One son is sexually fertile, one is not. Five Gold Rings sees the conflicting needs of the two couples clash, intertwine and explode.

Joanna Laurens' first play The Three Birds - which opened at The Gate Theatre in 2000 - was awarded The Critics' Circle Most Promising Playwright Award and the Time Out Award for Most Outstanding New Talent. In November this year The Three Birds received its US premiere in New York.

After leaving Hampstead Theatre in 1989, where he was Artistic Director, Michael Attenborough became Executive Producer and Resident Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company. His more recent productions for the RSC – where in 1996 he became Principal Associate Director - include David Edgar’s Pentecost and The Prisoner’s Dilemma, Peter Whelan’s The Herbal Bed and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Henry IV Part 1 and Henry IV Part 2 and Antony and Cleopatra. Michael Attenborough was appointed as Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre earlier this year.

The Late Henry Moss the British premiere of Sam Shepard's play.Set near the Mexican border, The Late Henry Moss sees family secrets revealed as two brothers return home after a long absence to confront each other, their violent past, and the death of their father. Fluctuating between the present and the past, Henry comes to life and re-enacts events leading up to his mysterious and exotic death.

Sam Shepard has written 45 plays - including Simpatico, True West, Fool for Love and A Lie of the Mind -11 of which have won Obie Awards. As an actor he has appeared 16 films including The Right Stuff and The Pelican Brief, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. His other awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Buried Child and the Golden Palm Award at the Cannes Film Festival for Paris, Texas.

The Late Henry Moss received its world premiere in San Francisco in 2000 and its New York premiere earlier this year.

OEDIPUS PLAYS Future plans include the commissioning of new translations of Sophocles’ two Oedipus Plays: Oedipus Tyrannus and Oedipus at Colonus, which Michael Attenborough will direct in 2004.

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