At a press conference yesterday, Trevor Nunn announced future projects at The Royal National Theatre entitled ' Transformation'.

The National is to create two new performing spaces within the Lyttelton (for which planning permission is currently being sought). The proposals are for a 650-seat Lyttelton arena which will both literally and metaphorically cut through the traditional proscenium arch while utilising the existing technical capabilities of the stage, and will redefine the relationship of that stage to the audience. A 100-seat Lyttelton loft is planned as an entirely new, flexible, small performance space carved out of the Lyttelton circle foyer, previously used as an exhibition area. The intention is to create an interactive, social atmosphere, thanks to an adjacent informal bar which would serve both theatres. Most important, both these new ‘auditoriums’ have been designed to be removed for a return to proscenium work, and can be re-installed in future years.

The temporary refurbishment will begin in May 2002 and last five-and-a-half months.

The intention is to provide a space for young, up-and-coming writers, artists and directors to showcase their work for a younger audience who might not traditionally visit the National. The plan is completely reversible: at any time the Lyttleton can be returned to its current state as a proscenium theatre.

The new initiative, costing £1.5 million, is to mark the National's 25th year on the South Bank, and designed to lure younger theatregoers to the institution, which has traditionally attracted older audiences.

Trevor Nunn said, "In our 25th year, we must celebrate what the National has been, and now is; but we must also ask, what do we want the future National to be? It must draw on its heritage and its recent past but also on the talent of the next generation. I think it’s vital we communicate a sense of the National’s belief in its future and what it can accomplish. I am working for a thriving, refreshed, broad-based new audience, including a body of young people under 30 with a theatregoing habit, a new generation of artistic and administrative talent committed to taking the National forward and an understanding of the varied potential within Denys Lasdun’s famous building."

Mick Gordon, previously of the London Fringe venue The Gate, has been brought in to oversee the project. The 30-year-old has also been named associate director.

Future productions announced include, Harold Pinter's No Man's Land, expected at the Lyttelton Theatre at the end of 2001, featuring Corin Redgrave and John Wood .

The Mysteries of Sex, by National Theatre of Brent, is also expected at the end of the year, directed by Martin Duncan and performed by Patrick Barlow and John Ramm.

Productions expected next year include....

A new play by Nicholas Wright, provisionally titled The House of Secrets, directed by Richard Eyre.

Tartuffe, by Moliere, in a new version by Ranjit Bolt
directed by Lindsay Posner, starring Martin Clunes,

The Bacchae by Euripides in a new version by Colin Teevan, directed by Peter Hall.

A new play by Sebastian Barry called Hinterland, directed by Max Stafford-Clark

A new version of Buchner's Woyzeck directed by Katie Mitchell

A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams starring Glenn Close, directed by Trevor Nunn.

A major new trilogy by Tom Stoppard

The musical South Pacific, by Rodgers & Hammerstein

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