Lyttelton Theatre, National, London

Michelle Dockery to star alongside Bryan Cranston in Network at National Theatre

Michelle Dockery

It has been announced that Michelle Dockery will star alongside Bryan Cranston in Network, which gets its world stage premiere at the National Theatre later this year.

Ivo van Hove directs Lee Hall’s new play, based on the Oscar-winning film by Paddy Chayefsky, which is about newsreader Howard Beale. Beale is on his last straw at his TV station after not pulling in the viewing figures, but when he unravels during his final broadcast, he becomes the biggest thing on television. The 1976 film is renowned for Beale’s famous “I’m mad as hell” rant.

Bryan Cranston, who is best-known for his role as Walter White in hit US TV show Breaking Bad, plays Beale and Michelle Dockery will play Diana Christenson, who is the head of the TV network’s programming department.

Dockery is best known for playing Lady Mary Crawley in the ITV period drama Downton Abbey, which led to her being nominated for three consecutive Emmy Awards. On stage, she made her debut in 2004 in His Dark Materials, and was nominated for an Evening Standard Award after her performance in a 2007 London revival of Pygmalion.

On joining the cast, Dockery said: “It's a wonderful feeling to be going back to the National after eight years. To be working with Bryan Cranston and Ivo van Hove on an adaptation of this brilliant film is a rare and exhilarating opportunity, I am thrilled.”

Cranston makes his UK theatre debut in Network. His US theatre credits include All the Way, Robert Schenkkan’s play for which he won the 2014 Best Actor in a Play Tony Award for his portrayal of President Lyndon B Johnson.

Network will have set and lighting design by Jan Versweyveld, video design by Tal Yarden, costumes by An D’Huys and music by Eric Sleichim.

It runs in the Lyttelton Theatre from 4th November to 24th March 2018, with an official opening on 13th November.

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