BIJAN SHEIBANI TO DIRECT SHOHREH AGHDASHLOO IN FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA’S THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA

MICHAEL ATTENBOROUGH TO DIRECT SAMANTHA SPIRO IN EDWARDO DE FILIPPO’S FILUMENA IN A NEW ENGLISH VERSION BY TANYA RONDER

JEREMY HERRIN TO DIRECT WORLD PREMIERE OF MATTHEW DUNSTER’S CHILDREN’S CHILDREN

MICHAEL ATTENBOROUGH TO DIRECT JONATHAN PRYCE AS KING LEAR

 

BIJAN SHEIBANI TO DIRECT FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA’S THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA

Bijan Sheibani will direct Shohreh Aghdashloo in Federico Garcia Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba running at the Almeida Theatre from 19 January – 10 March 2012, with press night on 26 January at 7pm. In a new version by Emily Mann The House of Bernarda Alba has designs by Bunny Christie, with lighting by Jon Clark and sound by Dan Jones. Further casting is to be announced shortly.

Following her husband’s funeral in rural Iran, powerful matriarch Bernarda Alba decrees to her five daughters that the household will enter a period of eight years mourning. The only one it seems will escape this fate is the eldest daughter, Angustias, who is already betrothed to the village’s most eligible bachelor. In the strict confines of the house, jealousy and suppressed sexuality rise to the surface. As Bernada’s oppression of her daughters increases it is more than the girls’ liberty that is in danger.

Relocating one of Lorca’s best known works to rural Iran, Iranian stage and screen actor Shohreh Aghdashlo will be leading the cast as Bernarda Alba. This will mark her British stage debut; her television credits include Sajida in House of Saddam for the BBC/HBO, a role for which she won the 2009 Emmy® for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a mini-series or movie. She was named Best Supporting Actress by the Independent Spirit Awards, the New York Film Critics, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association for her role in House of Sand and Fog. Her other film credits include The Stoning of Soraya M, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, The Nativity Story, The Lake House and X-Men: The Last Stand, as well as Persian language films Gozaresh and Sute-Delan. She has made regular guest appearances on 24, ER and Will & Grace. On stage her credits include Rainbow on tour in the USA and extensive work with the Drama Workshop of Tehran. Aghdashloo is the co-founder of LA based Theatre Company Workshop 79.

Bijan Sheibani is an Associate Director at the National Theatre where he has directed Arnold Wesker’s The Kitchen as well as Greenland and Our Class. As Artistic Director of Actors Touring Company (2007 to 2010) his productions include Eurydice and The Brother’s Size at the Young Vic and Ghosts of Those Who Return at the Arcola. His Laurence Olivier award-winning production of Gone Too Far was produced by the Royal Court. Earlier this year he directed Harold Pinter’s Moonlight for the Donmar Warehouse. The House of Bernarda Alba is Sheibani’s second production for the Almeida, after The Fixer part of WRITE Playwriting Festival in 2006.

Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca’s first play Mariana Pineda was staged in 1927. As well as The House of Bernarda Alba his other plays include Blood Wedding, staged by the Almeida in 2005 directed by Rufus Norris and starring Gael Garcia Bernal, and Yerma. His first volume of poems, Gypsy Ballads, was published in 1928.

MICHAEL ATTENBOROUGH TO DIRECT TANYA RONDER’S NEW VERSION OF DE FILIPPO’S FILUMENA

Michael Attenborough will direct Samantha Spiro in Eduardo de Filippo’s Filumena in a new English version by Tanya Ronder running at the Almeida from 15 March – 12 May 2012, with press night on 22 March at 7pm. Designs are by Rob Jones, with lighting by Tim Mitchell and sound by John Leonard. Casting will be announced shortly.

In the balmy heat of late ‘40s Naples, Filumena Marturano lies on her deathbed waiting to marry Domenico Soriano, the man who has kept her as his mistress for twenty-five years. But no sooner has the priest completed the ceremony, than Filumena makes a miraculous recovery. As he reels in shock, Domenico discovers that this brilliant, iron-willed woman has a few more surprises for him.

Olivier award-winning Samantha Spiro will make her Almeida debut in the title role. She has most recently been seen on stage at the Royal Court in Arnold Wesker’s Chicken Soup with Barley where she was also seen in The Family Play. Her previous theatre credits include Hello Dolly, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Lady Be Good, Macbeth and The Boys from Syracuse all for Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Twelfth Night for the Donmar Warehouse at Wyndham’s Theatre, Funny Girl for Chichester Festival Theatre and Two Thousand Years and Cleo, Camping, Emanuelle and Dick for the National Theatre. Her television credits Rock and Chips, Grandma’s House, After You’ve Gone, Coupling and Cold Feet and her film credits include A Running Jump, Tomorrow La Scala, From Hell, Cor Blimey and Beyond Bedlam.

Tanya Ronder previously wrote a new version of Lorca’s Blood Wedding for the Almeida as well as Or Nearest Offer, a new play for the Almeida Youth Theatre and Chain Play II, a fundraising event for the Theatre. Her adaptation of Vernon God Little was produced by the Young Vic who also staged Ronda’s version of Peribanez. Her stage adaptation of Peter Pan was presented at Kensington Gardens. For the Royal Shakespeare Company she wrote a new version of Ionesco’s Macbett.

Michael Attenborough is Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre where his productions have been The Mercy Seat, Five Gold Rings, Brighton Rock, The Late Henry Moss, Enemies, There Came A Gypsy Riding, Big White Fog, Awake and Sing!, The Homecoming, In a Dark Dark House, When the Rain Stops Falling, Measure for Measure, Through A Glass Darkly and, most recently, The Knot of the Heart. Previously, he was Associate Director at, Mercury Theatre, Colchester (1972-74), Leeds Playhouse (1974-79), Young Vic (1979-80) and Artistic Director at, Palace Theatre, Watford (1980-84), and Hampstead Theatre (1984-89), and was Principal Associate Director for the Royal Shakespeare Company (1990-2002). On leaving the Royal Shakespeare Company he became an Honorary Associate Artist. Attenborough‘s freelance work includes productions at the National Theatre, the Royal Court, in the West End and on Broadway. His production of Neil LaBute’s Reasons To Be Pretty will open at the Almeida in November this year.

Italian playwright, actor, screen writer, poet and author Eduardo De Filippo’s plays include Filumena, Napoli Milionaria, La Grande Magia, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and The Syndiacte.

JEREMY HERRIN TO DIRECT WORLD PREMIERE OF MATTHEW DUNSTER’S CHILDREN’S CHILDREN

Jeremy Herrin will direct the world premiere of Matthew Dunster’s Children’s Children running at the Almeida from 17 May – 30 June 2012, with press night on 24 May. Designs are by Robert Innes Hopkins with lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Ian Dickinson. Casting will be announced shortly.

Michael and Gordon have been best friends since acting college. Now, 20 years later, Michael is Mr Saturday Night TV but failing actor Gordon is struggling with enormous debts. Meanwhile Gordon’s daughter Effie couldn’t care less about her Dad’s problems – she is far more interested in the film that her cool boyfriend is making and setting up an ecologically sound clothing label. When Gordon asks Michael to lend him a large sum of money it sets in motion a series of events that reveal irreparable cracks in the characters’ relationships.

Playwright, director and actor Matthew Dunster’s writing credits include a new adaptation of Saturday Night Sunday Morning which opens at the Royal Exchange Theatre in February 2012. Previously his adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Most Incredible Thing was produced at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. His play You Can See The Hills received its world premiere at the Royal Exchange Theatre before a transfer to the Young Vic. His production of Doctor Faustus ran at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre this summer and his production of Mogadishu opened at the Royal Exchange before transferring to the Lyric Hammersmith. For the National Theatre he has directed Love The Sinner.

Jeremy Herrin is Associate Director of the Royal Court where he directed the UK premiere of David Hare’s The Vertical Hour as well as Richard Bean’s The Heretic and Polly Stenham’s award-winning That Face which subsequently transferred to the West End. His production of Much Ado About Nothing opened at Shakespeare’s Globe earlier this year and next month his production of Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden will open at the Pinter Theatre. Herrin will direct Joe Penhall’s Haunted Child for the Royal Court opening in December. His production of David Hare’s South Downs is currently playing at Chichester Festival Theatre. Children’s Children marks Herrin’s directorial debut at the Almeida.

MICHAEL ATTENBOROUGH TO DIRECT JONATHAN PRYCE IN TITLE ROLE AS KING LEAR

Michael Attenborough will direct Jonathan Pryce as William Shakespeare’s King Lear running at the Almeida Theatre from the 31 August – 3 November 2012, with press night 11 September. Designs are by Tom Scutt with lighting by Jon Clark and sound and music by Dan Jones. Further casting will be announced shortly.

When Lear asks each of his daughters to profess their love for him, he is flattered by the false hyperbole of Regan and Goneril. When his youngest daughter Cordelia confesses to love him simply as a daughter should, his pride is dented and he casts her out of his kingdom. Too late to realise his mistake, and forced from power by his offspring, an increasingly impotent and frail Lear descends into madness.
Tony and Olivier award-winning actor Jonathan Pryce made his Almeida debut playing Martin in Edward Albee’s The Goat or, Who is Sylvia? His extensive theatre credits includes The Caretaker for Liverpool Everyman and the Trafalgar Studios, Glengarry Glen Ross at the Apollo Theatre, A Reckoning for Soho Theatre and My Fair Lady at the National Theatre and the Theatre Royal Drury Lane as well as Oliver at the London Palladium, Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Uncle Vanya and The Seagull in the West End, Hamlet for the Royal Court, Measure for Measure at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Comedians at the Old Vic. His film and television work includes Cranford, Hysteria, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tomorrow Never Dies, What a Girl Wants, Victoria and Albert, Evita, Unconditional Love, Brazil and Carrington.

Michael Attenborough directs.

King Lear is sponsored by Coutts & Co.

King Lear is part of the World Shakespeare Festival. The festival, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company for London 2012, will showcase the best of the UK and international creative talents, exploring the contemporary relevance of Shakespeare.

PRINCIPAL PARTNER

The Almeida Theatre is grateful to its Principal Partner Aspen whose new three year commitment started this summer, building on the existing long term relationship between the two companies. Aspen’s commitment to the Almeida Theatre will ensure continued bold programming, artistic endeavour and risk taking. Aspen, established in 2002, is a leading specialty insurance and reinsurance company with over 670 employees in eight countries. www.aspen.bm

The Almeida Theatre is supported by Arts Council England.

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LINKS

Almeida Theatre website