January 11, 2013
Matthew Dunster will direct Rodney Ackland’s Before The Party at the Almeida Theatre from 21 March – 11 May 2013, with press night on 28 March. Based on a short story by Somerset Maugham, Before The Party has designs by Anna Fleischle with lighting by Philip Gladwell and sound by Ian Dickinson. Dunster’s production of Before The Party will be the first in over 25 years.
The cast comprises Stella Gonet (Blanche), Katherine Parkinson (Laura Skinner), Alex Price (David), Michelle Terry (Kathleen Skinner), Michael Thomas (Aubrey) and June Watson (Nanny). They are joined by Polly Dartford, Anna Devlin and Emily Lane who will alternate the role of Susan Skinner.
The war is over and the Skinner family are trying to return to normal. If only the blasted Government weren’t such a nuisance about the rations and Cook could get some more of those delicious delicacies. With daughter Laura returned from Africa, widowed but not alone, they prepare for the latest social gathering. Amidst the never-ending whirl of hats and dresses and below stairs skirmishes, Laura reveals a shocking secret that threatens to ruin more than one party on the climb to social success.
Stella Gonet was last seen on stage in Top Girls at Trafalgar Studios. Amongst her extensive theatre credits are Women, Power and Politics for the Tricycle Theatre, Skylight, Racing Demon and Hamlet for the National Theatre, Memory of Water at the Vaudeville Theatre and Three Sisters, Divine Gossip and The Revenger’s Tragedy for the Royal Shakespeare Company. She won the RTS Best Actress Award for her role in the BBC drama Trip Trap. Further television appearances include Father Brown, Lewis, Mo, Foyle’s War, House of Elliott and Where The Heart Is. Her film credits include How I Live Now, Dirty Bomb and For Queen and Country.
Katherine Parkinson was last on stage in Alan Ayckbourn’s Absent Friends at the Harold Pinter Theatre. She is best known on television for playing Jen in the Channel 4 series The IT Crowd, a role for which she won the British Comedy Best Actress Award. Parkinson has previously appeared at the Almeida Theatre in The Lightning Play. Her other theatre credits include Pattie in Ayckbourn’s Season’s Greetings for the National Theatre, Lady Teazle in The School for Scandal at the Barbican as well as roles in Cock and The Seagull for the Royal Court and Other Hand and Flush for Soho Theatre. Her other television credits include The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff, Whites, Doc Martin, The Old Guys, The Great Outdoors, Psychoville and Sherlock. Her film credits include St Trinian’s II: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold, The Boat that Rocked, Easy Virtue and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.
Alex Price has most recently appeared on stage in Beautiful Thing at the Royal Exchange Theatre. Previously his theatre credits include Electra for the Gate Theatre and Bingo for Chichester Festival Theatre. His television credits include Aphrodite Fry, Father Brown, Vera, Above Suspicion, Doctor Who, Merlin, Being Human and Lewis. Amongst his film credits are Storage 24, A Passionate Woman and A Horse With No Name.
Michelle Terry can currently be seen in In the Republic of Happiness at the Royal Court. Her previous theatre credits include A Comedy of Errors, All’s Well That Ends Well and London Assurance all for the National Theatre, Love’s Labour Lost at Shakespeare’s Globe, The Man Who Had All The Luck for the Donmar Warehouse and The Winter’s Tale and Pericles with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Amongst her television credits are The Cafe, Reunited, Law and Order and Extras.
Michael Thomas previously appeared in the Almeida’s production of Waste and Festen. His other theatre credits include As You Like It and The Tempest for the Bridge Project, All’s Well That End’s Well, St Joan and Pillars of the Community for The National Theatre, King Lear andIn Praise of Love for Chichester Festival Theatre, Women Beware Women and The Roman Actor for the Royal Shakespeare Company. His television credits include Holby Blue, Trial and Retribution, Rosemary and Thyme and Wing and a Prayer.
June Watson can currently be seen on stage at the Vaudeville Theatre in Uncle Vanya. Previously she has been seen in the touring production Calendar Girls, Aristo for Chichester Festival Theatre, The Children’s Hour for The Royal Exchange Theatre, Kosher Harry for the Royal Court and Blue Hart and Our Lady of Sligo for Out of Joint. For the National Theatre her many credits include The Good Hope, Cardiff East and Billy Liar. On television her credits include The Cafe, Wallander, Hancock and Joan, William and Mary and New Tricks. Her film credits include Wreckers, Ghost Hunter and The Knowledge.
Polly Dartford’s theatre credits include Oedipus Rex at the National Theatre, Shadowmaster and A Christmas Carol for The King’s Head Theatre. Her television credits Casualty and Primeval. She will soon be seen in the film Effie.
Anna Devlin has been a member of the Young Actors Theatre for just over a year, Before the Party will be her theatrical debut. Earlier this year she took part in the 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony.
Emily Lane attends the Sylvia Young Theatre School in London. She has previously appeared on stage as Marta in The Sound of Music at the London Palladium and in Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre playing the role Cosette.
Director, playwright and actor Matthew Dunster’s directing credits include Doctor Faustus at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Mogadishu for the Royal Exchange and Lyric Hammersmith and Love The Sinner for the National Theatre. His play Children’s Children received its World Premiere at the Almeida earlier this year directed by Jeremy Herrin. Dunster’s other writing credits include an adaptation of Saturday Night Sunday Morning for the Royal Exchange Theatre, an adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Most Incredible Thing at Sadler’s Wells Theatre and You Can See The Hills also for the Royal Exchange Theatre and the Young Vic.
Playwright Rodney Ackland (1908 – 1991) wrote over 40 plays. Before The Party, based on a short story by Somerset Maugham, will be his first to be performed at the Almeida. His other plays include Improper People, Birthday and The Dark River. In 1966 Anthony Page directed Judi Dench in Ackland’s Absolute Hell. Ackland also adapted novels for the stage including Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past (1938) and Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment (1946).
The Almeida Theatre is grateful to its Principal Partner Aspen whose three year sponsorship started in July 2011, building on the long-term relationship between the two companies. Aspen’s support of the Almeida Theatre ensures continued bold programming and artistic endeavour. Aspen was established in 2002 and is a leading global insurance and reinsurance company. www.aspen.co
The Almeida Theatre is supported by Arts Council England.
Press release issued by: Premier PR
March 25, 2012
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is the only permanent professional outdoor theatre in Britain. Their new 2012 season promises something for everyone with their annual production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and powerful American musical Ragtime.
What’s on at the Open Air Theatre in 2012
18 May – 8 September 2012
Tragic, poignant and ultimately triumphant, Ragtime is a modern musical classic. Set at the turn of the 20th century, this powerful musical unites three families separated by race and destiny.
The timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, and hope and despair, make this a theatre experience not to be missed.
Last season’s production of Crazy for You received more five star reviews than any other West End musical that year, and previous productions of Hello,Dolly! and Into the Woods each won the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival.
Directed by Timothy Sheader.
2 June – 5 September 2012
Matthew Dunster directs Shakespeare’s enduring story of young love. As worlds real and unreal merge, romance struggles to survive and unlikely unions are forged.
Featuring the Open Air Theatre’s celebrated fusion of original music, movement and unique setting, this magical, comedic and seductive tale is set to be one of the theatrical highlights of the year.
Suitable for ages 11+
September 30, 2011
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.
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.
Release issued by: Premier PR
May 6, 2011
Arthur Darvill, who is best known for his role as the Doctor’s current companion Rory in BBC’s Doctor Who, will play Mephistopheles in Shakespeare’s Globe’s first production of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. Paul Hilton, who was recently seen in the BBC drama Silk, will play the title role of the scholar who makes a pact with the devil in exchange for knowledge. The production will run from 18 June to 2 October and is directed by Matthew Dunster and designed by Paul Wills. They will both collaborate with Puppetry Director Steve Tiplady, former Artistic Director of Little Angel Theatre Company, to transform the Globe in to an arena of wild spectacle with larger than life puppets and illusion. Huge flying dragons and horned stilt walkers will help to bring this dark fantastical world to life.
Doctor Faustus is one of the greatest tragedies in English before Shakespeare, and is being staged for the first time at the current Globe. Restless for knowledge and power, Faustus forsakes scholarship and makes a pact with the Devil: In exchange for giving his soul to the Devil after death, the evil spirit Mephistopheles will serve him for 24 years, providing him with magic and knowledge beyond his wildest dreams.
Arthur Darvill’s television credits include Doctor Who, Little Dorrit for the BBC and He Kills Coppers on ITV. He was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Evening Standard Awards in 2007 for his role as Rex in Swimming with Sharks (Vaudeville), his other theatre credits include Tierre Haute (Trafalgar Studios) and Stacy (Arcola). Arthur is a musician and composer and has collaborated with playwright Ché Walker in writing songs for The Frontline (Shakespeare’s Globe) and Been So Long (Young Vic/UK Tour).
Paul Hilton television credits include Silk for the BBC. He previously appeared in Shakespeare’s Globe’s production of As You Like It in 1998. Other theatre includes Rosmersholm (Almeida), In Celebration (Duke of York’s), The Wild Duck (Donmar), Morning Becomes Electra and Three Sisters (National Theatre).
Matthew Dunster’s previous work at Shakespeare’s Globe includes Troilus and Cressida in 2009 and Ché Walker’s The Frontline in 2008 and 2009. Other credits include Mogadishu (Lyric Hammersmith/UK Tour), The Maddening Rain (Old Red Lion), Love the Sinner (National Theatre) and You Can See The Hills (Royal Exchange and Young Vic).
Release issued by: Shakespeare’s Globe