Sam Mendes and Jack Thorne to collaborate on ‘The Motive and the Cue’

The new play will premiere at the National Theatre in spring 2023.

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

The Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes and Olivier-winning playwright Jack Thorne will work together on the world premiere of The Motive and the Cue. The Motive and the Cue will play at the National Theatre’s Lyttelton stage in spring 2023.

Set during the rehearsal period of John Gielgud’s 1964 Hamlet Broadway production, The Motive and the Cue will explore relationships between Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, and Gielgud.

The Motive and the Cue is based on two out of print books: Richard Sterne’s John Gielgud Directs Richard Burton in Hamlet and William Redfield’s Letters From an Actor.

Jack Thorne writes The Motive and the Cue. His plays include A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre. Sam Mendes directs The Motive and the Cue, returning to the National for the first time since The Lehman Trilogy.

The Motive and the Cue casting will be announced at a later date. The show reunites The Lehman Trilogy creatives: set design is by Es Devlin, costumes by Katrina Lindsay and lighting design by Jon Clark.

The Motive and the Cue is at the National Theatre.

Photo credit: National Theatre (Photo courtesy of National Theatre)

Originally published on

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