New season at the National Theatre announced, featuring Maxine Peake, Rafe Spall and Lesley Sharp

National Theatre

The National Theatre has announced 15 productions to be performed as part of the latest season, with new plays by Lucy Kirkwood and Richard Bean, as well as NT debuts by Francesca Martinez and performances by Maxine Peake and Rafe Spall.

The season will also feature Tony Kushner’s adaptation of The Visit, Inua Ellams’ adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters and the premiere of Moira Buffini’s Manor.

Olivier Theatre

Following performances at Rose Theatre Kingston, Elena Ferrante’s two-part adaptation of My Brilliant Friend will transfer to the Olivier. Based on April De Angelis’ book of the same name, the production follows two friends in post-war Naples as they share stories of their 60 year friendship. All cast members from the Rose Theatre Kingston will reprise their roles, including Niamh Cusack and Catherine McCormack. My Brilliant Friend will open at the Olivier on 12th November.

Tony Kushner returns to the Olivier in an adaptation of The Visit, or the Old Lady Comes to Call by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Set in post-war America, Jeremy Durrin will direct a cast including Lesley Manville, Richard Durden, Sara Kestelman, Joseph Mydell and Nicholas Woodeson, opening in February 2020.

Based on The Rivals by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Oliver Chris and Richard Bean co-write Jack Absolute Flies Again. Thea Sharrock directs the production marking the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, to be performed at the Olivier in April 2020.

Lesley Sharp will lead the cast in Paradise, playing at the Olivier in June 2020. Paradise is an adaptation of Sophocles’ Philoctetes by Kate Tempest.

Lyttelton Theatre

Inua Ellams’ adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters will open in the Lyttelton in December. Set in 1960s Nigeria, Nadia Fall directs Inua Ellams’ adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters in a co-production with Fuel Theatre. Sule Rimi, Ronke Adekoluejo, Jude Akuwudike and Ken Nwosu will star in the production, opening on 2nd December.

Maxine Peake, Cecilia Noble and Ria Zmitrowicz will star in Lucy Kirkwood’s new play. Titled The Welkin, the play is set in 1750s England as a group of 12 must decide whether a woman should be hanged after being convicted with murder. The Welkin will open in January 2020.

As part of a world tour, The Seven Streams of the River Ota will be performed at the National in March 2020. Marking 75 years since the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, the play considers the impact of time and space, in a production directed by Robert Lepage.  

Written by Moira Buffini, Manor will receive its world premiere at the National. Directed by Fiona Buffini, the play follows the events after a storm sweeps the coast, leaving residents asking for shelter and wanting to survive. Manor opens in the Lyttleton in April 2020.  

Dorfman Theatre

Cecilia Noble returns to the National to star in Faith, Hope and Charity, written by Alexander Zeldin. The play follows a woman preparing lunch for those in need in the local community, listening to stories from all walks of life. Nick Holder, Susan Lynch, Hind Swareldahab and Alan Williams will also appear in the production, with performances from 9th September.

Pulitzer-Prize winner Annie Baker returns to the National with The Antipodes. Matt Bardock, Arthur Darvill, Imogen Doel, Harley Fraser, Conleth Hill, Sinead Matthews, Stuart McQuarrie and Bill Milner will star in a play that looks at the importance of telling stories in a world in crisis, opening in the Dorfman on 21st October.

Joel Horwood’s adaptation of The Ocean at the End of the Lane will premiere at the National. Based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name, Katy Rudd directs the play as it considers childhood truths that are illuminated in people as they grow older, opening on 3rd December.

Rafe Spall stars in Death of England, written by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams. Based on the film of the same name created by The Guardian and the Royal Court Theatre, the play follows a working-class man looking for comfort after bereavement, with the production marking Dyer as the first Black British artist to have acted, written and directed at the National. Death of England will open in February 2020.

Francesca Martinez makes her playwriting debut in All of Us, directed by Ian Rickson. Martinez will play Jess, a woman exploring life and love while living with cerebral palsy, opening in the Dorfman in March 2020.

After performances at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nadia Fall’s Welcome to Iran will be performed in the Dorfman in May 2020. Offering insight into modern life in Iran, the play is inspired by real-life testimonials.

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