NATIONAL THEATRE September 2011 – January 2012

  • Dominic Cooke directs Shakespeare’s THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, with Lenny Henry making his NT debut in the Olivier Theatre
  • Sinéad Cusack and Ciarán Hinds lead the cast of JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK by Sean O’Casey, directed by Howard Davies, in the Lyttelton
  • Nicholas Hytner directs Alex Jennings and Simon Russell Beale in COLLABORATORS, a new play by John Hodge in the Cottesloe
  • Visitors to the National include 1927’s THE ANIMALS AND CHILDREN TOOK TO THE STREETS; Daniel Kitson; and Mark Thomas
  • Bristol Old Vic’s production of SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS comes to the West End
  • The third season of NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE includes One Man, Two Guvnors (prior to a UK tour and West End run), The Kitchen, Collaborators and The Comedy of Errors

Cottesloe Theatre
Previews from 25 October, press night 1 November, continuing in repertoire
National Theatre Live broadcast on 1 December 2011

Nicholas Hytner directs COLLABORATORS, a new play by John Hodge, opening in the Cottesloe Theatre on Tuesday 1 November. NT Associates Alex Jennings and Simon Russell Beale lead the cast, alongside Mark Addy, Sarah Annis, Marcus Cunningham, Jacqueline Defferary, Patrick Godfrey, Michael Jenn, Jess Murphy, William Postlethwaite, Pierce Reid, Nick Sampson, Maggie Service and Perri Snowdon. The production will be designed by Bob Crowley, with lighting by Jon Clark, music by George Fenton and sound by Paul Arditti; with thanks to Simon Sebag Montefiore.

Moscow, 1938. A dangerous to place to have a sense of humour; even more so a sense of freedom. Mikhail Bulgakov, living among dissidents, stalked by secret police, has both. And then he’s offered a poisoned chalice: a commission to write a play about Stalin to celebrate his sixtieth birthday.
Inspired by historical fact, COLLABORATORS embarks on a surreal journey into the fevered imagination of the writer as he loses himself in a macabre and disturbingly funny relationship with the omnipotent subject of his drama.

John Hodge’s blistering new play depicts a lethal game of cat and mouse through which the appalling compromises and humiliations inflicted on any artist by those with power are held up to scrutiny. Alex Jennings plays Bulgakov and Simon Russell Beale, Stalin.

John Hodge’s screenplays include Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, A Life Less Ordinary, The Beach, The Final Curtain and The Dark is Rising.

Alex Jennings’s many appearances at the National include The Habit of Art, Present Laughter, The Alchemist, Stuff Happens, His Girl Friday, The Relapse and The Winter’s Tale (for which two roles he won the 2001 Evening Standard Award for Best Actor), Albert Speer, and My Fair Lady at Drury Lane (Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical).

Simon Russell Beale’s extensive theatre work includes London Assurance, Major Barbara, Much Ado About Nothing, The Alchemist, The Life of Galileo, Hamlet (Evening Standard & Critics’ Circle Awards) and Humble Boy for the National; The Winter’s Tale and The Cherry Orchard (New York and Old Vic); and Bluebird (New York).

Since he became Director of the National in April 2003, Nicholas Hytner has directed Henry V, His Dark Materials, The History Boys, Stuff Happens, Henry IV, Southwark Fair, The Alchemist, The Man of Mode, The Rose Tattoo (with Stephen Pimlott), Rafta, Rafta… , Much Ado About Nothing, Major Barbara, England People Very Nice, Phèdre, The Habit of Art, London Assurance, Hamlet and One Man, Two Guvnors.

COLLABORATORS will be broadcast to cinemas worldwide as part of National Theatre Live on 1 December.

The National Theatre’s Cottesloe Partner is Neptune Investment Management.

Lyttelton Theatre
A co-production with the Abbey Theatre, Ireland
Previews from 11 November, press night 16 November, continuing in repertoire

Howard Davies directs JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK by Sean O’Casey in a co-production with the Abbey Theatre, Ireland, opening at the National’s Lyttelton Theatre on 16 November. The cast is led by Sinéad Cusack as Juno and Ciarán Hinds as Jack Boyle, with: Cornelius Clarke, Risteárd Cooper, Clare Dunne, Kieran Gough, Luke Hayden, Dermot Kerrigan, Nick Lee, Gillian McCarthy, Bernadette McKenna, Brian Martin, Janet Moran, Kevin Murphy, Ronan Raftery, Sophie Robinson, Eoin Slattery and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor. Bob Crowley will design the set and costumes, with lighting by James Farncombe, music by Anna Rice and sound by Ben Delaney. This is the National Theatre’s first co-production with Ireland’s national theatre, the Abbey, and the production will open the Dublin Theatre Festival in September before coming to the Lyttelton.

One of the great plays of the twentieth century, Sean O’Casey’s JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK offers a devastating portrait of wasted potential in a Dublin torn apart by the chaos of the Irish War of Independence, 1922.

Jack Boyle is out of work and determined to stay that way. He postures and drinks with his sidekick Joxer while the long-suffering Juno balances threats with cajolement to preserve the semblance of family in a squalid tenement flat. Their son Johnny, crippled fighting for the IRA, cowers indoors, terrified of reprisal; his sister Mary has joined the labour movement and is on strike. Sudden news of an inheritance provokes dreams of escape but, even before their rowdy celebrations are done, reality asserts itself as a neighbour’s corpse is carried down the stairs, another victim of the bitter civil war. Mary falls for an educated man as the loans stack up. Tragedy ensues.

Sinéad Cusack’s last appearance at the National Theatre was in Sebastian Barry’s Our Lady of Sligo, for which she won the Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Best Actress Awards. Her extensive theatre work also includes The Cherry Orchard and The Winter’s Tale (New York and Old Vic), Rock ‘n’ Roll (Royal Court), and Three Sisters (Gate Dublin / Royal Court).

Ciarán Hinds’s work in theatre includes, for the National, Burnt by the Sun, Closer (also on Broadway), Machinal, and The Seafarer on Broadway. His recent TV credits include Rome. Film includes: Persuasion, There Will Be Blood, Munich, The Phantom of the Opera, Lara Croft: The Cradle of Life, Calendar Girls and Circle of Friends.

Howard Davies is an Associate Director at the NT, where his recent productions include The Cherry Orchard, The White Guard (Evening Standard Award for Best Director), Burnt by the Sun, Never So Good and Philistines.

JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK is supported by American Express and Culture Ireland.

The production runs at the Abbey Theatre, Ireland from 21 September – 5 November (press night: 29 September)

Olivier Theatre
Previews from 22 November, press night 29 November, continuing in repertoire

Dominic Cooke, Artistic Director of the Royal Court, makes his NT debut directing Shakespeare’s THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, opening in the Olivier Theatre on 29 November. Lenny Henry, in his first appearance at the National, plays Antipholus of Syracuse; the cast also includes Claudie Blakley (Adriana), Clare Cathcart, Chris Jarman (Antipholus of Ephesus), Lucian Msamati (Dromio of Syracuse), Joseph Mydell (Aegeon), Pamela Nomvete, Daniel Poyser (Dromio of Ephesus), Amit Shah and Michelle Terry (Luciana). It will be designed by Bunny Christie, with lighting by Paule Constable, music by Gary Yershon, movement by Ann Yee, sound by Christopher Shutt and fight direction by Kate Waters.

Two sets of twins separated at birth collide in the same city without meeting for one crazy day, as multiple mistaken identities lead to confusion on a grand scale. And for no one more so than Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant Dromio who, in search of their brothers, arrive in a land entirely foreign to their distant home. A buzzing metropolis, to the outsiders it appears a place of wonderment and terror, where baffling gifts and unexplained hostilities abound.

Consistently recognised by strangers, the visitors question their very selves as the turmoil escalates. Meanwhile, Aegeon, father to the Antipholus twins, has been captured searching for his sons and, as an illegal immigrant, is sentenced to death at sunset.

Shakespeare’s furiously paced comedy will be staged in a contemporary world into which walk three prohibited foreigners who see everything for the first time.

Lenny Henry made his Shakespearean debut in the title role in Othello for Northern Broadsides/West Yorkshire Playhouse, which transferred to the West End and for which he won the 2009 Evening Standard Outstanding Newcomer Award. He has toured worldwide with his stand-up comedy shows, and has appeared in and presented innumerable television dramas, comedies and documentaries, including Three of a Kind, The Lenny Henry Show, Alive and Kicking, Chef!, Hope & Glory and Lenny Henry in Pieces. His many awards include the Lifetime Achievement – Performance Award at the 2003 British Comedy Awards, and a Golden Rose at the Montreux Television Festival.

Dominic Cooke is Artistic Director of the Royal Court, where his productions have included Chicken Soup with Barley, Clybourne Park (also West End), Aunt Dan and Lemon, The Fever, Wig Out!, Now Or Later, Rhinoceros and The Pain and the Itch. He was Associate Director of the RSC from 2002-06, where his work included Arabian Nights, Pericles, The Winter’s Tale, The Crucible (Olivier Awards for Best Director and Best Revival), As You Like It and Cymbeline.

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS will be broadcast to cinemas worldwide as part of National Theatre Live on 1 March 2012.

The production is sponsored by KPMG.

Cottesloe Theatre
7 December – 3 January, 15 performances

Seamlessly synchronizing live music, performance and storytelling with stunning film and animation, THE ANIMALS AND CHILDREN TOOK TO THE STREETS is the wickedly twisted second show from multiple award-winning company 1927, visiting the Cottesloe Theatre for 15 performances between 7 December and 3 January.

Trust no-one. Suspect even your own shadow. Welcome to the Bayou, a part of the city feared and loathed, wherein lies the infamous Bayou Mansions: a stinking sprawling tenement block, where curtain-twitchers and peeping-toms live side by side, and the wolf… is always at the door. When Agnes Eaves and her daughter arrive late one night, does it signal hope in this hopeless place, or has the real horror only just begun?

1927 invite you on a theatrical journey of startling originality, like a giant graphic novel burst into life.

The Animals and Children Took to the Streets is created by 1927 and directed and written by Suzanne Andrade, with film, animation and design by Paul Barritt. It is produced by Joanna Crowley, with music by Lillian Henley and costume by Sarah Munro and Esme Appleton. It was co-commissioned by BAC, Malthouse Theatre Melbourne & The Showroom (University of Chichester).

The National Theatre’s Cottesloe partner is Neptune Management.

Lyttelton Theatre
A new show by Daniel Kitson about Everything and Nothing
7 – 21 October, 19 – 22 December (day seats & returns only). All tickets £12.

Extra December dates have been added for Daniel Kitson’s show about every single one of us, the past in our pockets, the future in our hearts and us, ourselves, very much stuck, trapped forever, in the tiny eternal moment between the two. Written and performed by Daniel Kitson, designed by Susannah Henry and Daniel Kitson; the technical director is Jon Meggat.

Lyttelton Theatre
Friday 23 December, 7.30pm, followed by a booksigning. All tickets £12.

During 2010, Mark Thomas decided to go rambling in the Middle East and walked the entire length of the Israeli Separation Barrier, crossing between the Israeli and the Palestinian side. Extreme Rambling is the story of 300,000 settlers, a 750km wall, six arrests, one stoning, too much hummus and one simple question… can you ever get away from it all with a good walk?

Vaudeville Theatre, West End
15 December 2011 – 14 January 2012, suitable for 6 years+

The critically acclaimed Bristol Old Vic production of SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS, a new musical play with book by Helen Edmundson and songs by Neil Hannon, comes to the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre this Christmas for a strictly limited 5-week run from 15 December – 14 January (press night: 19 December), presented by the National Theatre and The Children’s Touring Partnership.

Based on the much-loved book by Arthur Ransome, this delightful and imaginative production is directed by Tom Morris, Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic and co-director of the National Theatre’s Tony Award-winning smash hit War Horse. SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS has music and lyrics by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy and is written by Helen Edmundson, who adapted the National’s Coram Boy.

All aboard The Swallow! Follow Captain John and his able crew as they set sail to Wildcat Island on an exotic adventure to encounter savages, capture dastardly pirates and defeat mortal enemies.

An action-packed musical adventure for the whole family (ages 6+), SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS is a story of an idyllic era, of endless summer evenings and the beauty of youthful imagination.

SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS opened at Bristol Old Vic in December 2010 for a sell-out run and was a critical and popular hit; it was originally developed at the National Theatre Studio. Following its run at the Vaudeville Theatre, the production will embark on a UK tour (for more information please visit

The director of movement is Toby Sedgwick, who won an Olivier Award for War Horse; with set design by Robert Innes Hopkins, costume design by Robert Innes Hopkins & Liesel Corp, musical direction and arrangements by Sam Kenyon, lighting design by James Farncombe, sound by Jason Barnes and additional musical arrangements by Andrew Skeet.

Published in 1930, Swallows and Amazons was the first in a series of twelve books by Arthur Ransome (1884-1967). Set in 1929 in the Lake District, it tells of the school holiday exploits of the Walker and Blackett children and their sailing dinghies – the Swallow and the Amazon.

Helen Edmundson’s many adaptations include Coram Boy, which played two sell-out seasons at the National Theatre, and Anna Karenina, Mill on the Floss, War and Peace and Gone to Earth for Shared Experience. Other work includes The Clearing (Bush Theatre), Mother Teresa is Dead (Royal Court), and a version of Calderon’s Life is a Dream (Donmar). Her new play, The Heresy of Love, opens for the RSC at the Swan in February 2012.

Neil Hannon is a singer, lyricist and composer. Although he is best known for writing, recording and performing as The Divine Comedy, he has also written extensively for TV and film, including the music to Father Ted and The IT Crowd. He has collaborated with everyone from Michael Nyman to Tom Jones, and his cricket-themed project The Duckworth Lewis Method was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award. Swallows and Amazons is his first venture into the world of musical theatre.

Tom Morris was appointed Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic in September 2009. As Associate Director of the National Theatre (2004 – 2009), he developed and co-directed (with Marianne Elliott) War Horse which is currently running in the West End and on Broadway, where it received 6 Tony Awards; and co-directed Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. Previously he was Artistic Director at Battersea Arts Centre from 1995 to 2004. He sits on the board of Complicite and is Chair of the JMK Trust.

Established in 2010 and led by independent producer Fiery Angel and Chichester Festival Theatre, the Children’s Touring Partnership receives generous support from Arts Council England. Their inaugural production, Goodnight Mister Tom, premiered at Chichester in January 2011 and subsequently toured the UK for fourteen weeks. The Children’s Touring Partnership will be presenting the tour of Bristol Old Vic’s stage adaptation of Swallows and Amazons throughout spring 2012.


ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS opens a new season of NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE, sponsored by Aviva, when it is broadcast live to over 100 UK cinemas and 300 more abroad on 15 September (varying dates internationally). Since National Theatre Live’s first season, which began in June 2009 with Phèdre starring Helen Mirren, over half a million people have now experienced the National’s work on movie screens around the world.

One Man, Two Guvnors will be followed by THE KITCHEN by Arnold Wesker on 6 October and John Hodge’s COLLABORATORS on 1 December; future screenings will include THE COMEDY OF ERRORS on 1 March 2012 with additional titles to be announced. For further information and booking details for all cinemas, please visit

UK tour and West End

Following its run at the National, Nicholas Hytner’s hit production of ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS will tour the UK, visiting: Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury (27 September – 1 October); Theatre Royal, Plymouth (4 – 8 October); The Lowry, Salford (11 – 15 October); New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham (18 – 22 October); and King’s Theatre, Edinburgh (25 – 29 October). Richard Bean’s adaptation, with songs by Grant Olding, then transfers to the West End’s Adelphi Theatre from 8 November 2011 – 25 February 2012. James Corden continues in his original role of Francis Henshall, along with his two ‘guvnors’ Oliver Chris and Jemima Rooper, and the rest of the original cast.

MIKE LEIGH’S new play visits Bath and Cambridge
Mike Leigh’s new play will visit Theatre Royal, Bath (25 – 29 October) and Cambridge Arts Theatre (1 – 5 November), during its Cottesloe run.


A new play by Mike Leigh
The full cast for Mike Leigh’s new play, opening in the Cottesloe on 21 September, is: Marion Bailey, Ruby Bentall, Dorothy Duffy, David Horovitch, Sam Kelly, Lesley Manville and Wendy Nottingham.

Conor McPherson directs his own new play The Veil, opening in the Lyttelton on 4 October. The full cast is: Bríd Brennan, Caoilfhionn Dunne, Abigail Guiver, Claudia Hall, Ursula Jones, Peter McDonald, Felicity McHardy-Costaine Brown, Mary Mallen, Ursula Mohan, Alan Mooney, Jim Norton, Alice Parsloe, Adrian Schiller, Emily Taaffe, Geoffrey Towers and Fenella Woolgar.

The cast for Mike Bartlett’s new play 13, opening in the Olivier on 25 October as part of the Travelex £12 Tickets season, directed by Thea Sharrock, is: Matthew Barker, Nick Blakeley, Katie Brayben, Natasha Broomfield, Kirsty Bushell, Martin Chamberlain, Grace Cooper Milton, Davood Ghadami, Trystan Gravelle, Jadie-Rose Hobson, Adam James, Geraldine James, Sioned Jones, Barbara Kirby, Esther McAuley, Genevieve O’Reilly, Lara Rossi, Helen Ryan, Nick Sidi, Zara Tempest-Walters, Danny Webb, John Webber and Shane Zaza.

Nikki Amuka-Bird, David Calder, Nancy Carroll, Lindsay Duncan, Alan Howard, Alex Jennings, Paterson Joseph, Maureen Lipman, Paul Ready, Patricia Routledge, Simon Russell Beale and John Shrapnel will be among the ensemble of leading NT actors reading extracts (edited by Edward Kemp) from the KING JAMES BIBLE as part of its 400th anniversary celebrations. The twelve extracts will be directed by Nicholas Hytner, James Dacre and Polly Findlay in the Lyttelton Theatre from 8 October – 6 November.

Dates and times of the readings vary and can be found in the rep leaflet or NT website, alongside casting details.

Release issued by: National Theatre


National Theatre website

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📷 Main photo: Dominic Cooke directs Shakespeare’s THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, with Lenny Henry making his NT debut in the Olivier Theatre

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