Royal Court announces 2024 season

Nine writers including Sabrina Ali, Stewart Pringle, and Mark Rosenblatt make their Royal Court debuts in David Byrne's inaugural season at the London theatre.

Olivia Rook
Olivia Rook

The Royal Court has announced nine new plays as part of artistic director David Byrne's inaugural season, which will star performers including Emma D’Arcy, Ben Whishaw, and John Lithgow.

The first play in the season is Dugsi Dayz, written by Sabrina Ali (Muna Knows it All) and directed by Poppy Clifford. The show, which explores Somali and Muslim culture and female friendship, is inspired by the 1985 movie The Breakfast Club and comes to the Royal Court following an award-winning run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It runs from 1 May — 18 May.

Emma D’Arcy (House of the Dragon), Kayla Meikle (ear for eye), and Ben Whishaw (Cock, James Bond, This is Going to Hurt, Paddington) will star in an adaptation of Maggie Nelson's Bluets, which runs from 17 May — 29 June. The story, adapted for the stage by Margaret Perry (Paradise Now!, Porcelain, Collapsible) and directed by Katie Mitchell (Little Scratch, Anatomy of a Suicide), is about depression and desire, pleasure and pain, and a person possessed by an obsession with the colour blue.

Emma D’Arcy said: "This production of Bluets combines some of my all-time favourite artists with my all-time favourite colour. I’m a huge fan of Maggie Nelson. If anyone can translate her work to the stage, it’s Katie Mitchell and Margaret Perry. And I’m delighted to be a part of David Byrne’s first season at The Court! What an adventure."

Ben Whishaw continued: "The Royal Court is a theatre I always feel excited to enter. I’m so thrilled to have this chance to perform there again with two performers Emma D’Arcy and Kayla Meikle I find just extraordinary. This will be my fourth time working with the amazing Katie Mitchell and I simply can’t wait, it’s always an adventure. I haven’t been on a stage since before the pandemic so I’m a little nervous — but very happy indeed to be sharing with people Margaret Perry’s completely beautiful adaptation of Maggie Nelson’s great, great book Bluets."

The third play in the season is Lie Low, a dark new play from writer Ciara Elizabeth Smyth (Sauce) and director Oisín Kearney (My Left Nut), which follows Faye in the wake of a home invasion, who is unable to shake her insomnia and manage her trauma. Smyth's new work explores the human brain and its response to sexual assault and runs from 22 May — 8 June.

The Bounds, which is set in 1554 and written by Stewart Pringle (Trestle), is a comedic tale of national divides, folk horror, and the end of the world as we know it. Jack McNamara (The Fishermen) directs this show, which runs from 13 June — 13 July.

A different performer takes to the stage every night and performs a script they’ve never seen before in Nassim Soleimanpour's ECHO (Every Cold Hearted Oxygen). The show runs from 13 July — 27 July and is directed by Omar Elerian.

Winner of the the George Devine Award 2023, G is a new play from writer Tife Kusoro about the friendships of three Black boys, which begin to unravel when urban legend and police surveillance collide. The show opens on 22 August, running until 21 September.

Directed by Nicholas Hytner (Straight Line Crazy, La Belle Sauvage) and starring Tony and Golden Globe winner John Lithgow (Killers of the Flower Moon, The Crown), alongside Olivier Award winner Elliot Levey (Cold War, Patriots, Good), Giant is Mark Rosenblatt’s debut play and explores the fall-out following children's author Roald Dahl's antisemitic outbursts in the press. Inspired by real events, the play is set across an afternoon at Dahl's family home during the summer of 1983. The show runs from 20 September — 16 November.

John Lithgow said: "I'm thrilled to be performing at The Royal Court where I've seen so much great work, stretching all the way back to the late 1960's. There's no better place to unveil Mark Rosenblatt's stunning new play."

Brace Brace examines the aftermath of a plane hijacking, as survivors Ray and Sylvia struggle to reconcile their responses to this life-changing event. Oli Forsyth's play is directed by Daniel Raggett and runs from 3 October — 9 November.

The final show in the Royal Court season is Emteaz Hussain's Expendable, which spotlights the often-overlooked voices of British Pakistani women, delving into the shortcomings of law enforcement, politicians, and the media. The play focuses on two sisters, who grapple with the impact on their community as the men around them are embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal. Expendable runs from 21 November — 21 December.

Check back for shows in the Royal Court 2024 season on London Theatre.

Photo credit: Six of the writers in the season: Stewart Pringle, Nassim Soleimanpour, Mark Rosenblatt, Oli Forsyth, Tife Kusoro, Emteaz Hussain. (Photos by Luke Bryant)

Originally published on

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