Deirdre O'Connell in the Broadway production of DANA H. Photo by Chad Batka

Royal Court reveals new spring/summer 2023 season; Dana H. to transfer from Broadway starring Deirdre O’Connell

The Royal Court Theatre in London has announced that it will present four new works for April to August 2023, plus a transfer from Broadway.

The four new works kick off with No I.D. by Tatenda Shamiso from 18 April to 6 May 2023 in the Jerwood Theatre downstairs. The play tells the story of his experience as a Black transgender immigrant in the UK, fresh from a run at the Vaults.

Hope has a Happy Meal by Tom Fowler, billed as a frenetic quest through a hyper-capitalist country, will run in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs from 3 June to 8 July 2023. You can read an interview with Tom Fowler talking about the creative process here.

Olivier and BAFTA Award-winning playwright Michael Wynne returns to the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Downstairs with Cuckoo from 6 July to 19 August 2023. The play will be a co-production with the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, and promises to be a dark comedy directed by Royal Court Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone.

Finally, Word-Play by Rabiah Hussain will play in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs from 20 July to 26 August 2023, exploring how language seeps into public consciousness. 

The missing Jerwood Theatre Downstairs project for Spring/Summer is going to be announced on 5 April alongside the 2023 Festival d’Avignon programme announcement.

Also coming to the Royal Court is the Broadway transfer of Tony Award winner Dana H. by Lucas Hnath (main photo), which will run in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from 16 January to 9 March 2024.

Deirdre O’Connell will reprise her award-winning tour-de-force performance as Dana, a psych ward chaplain who was held captive by a patient in a series of Florida motels for five months.

Dana Higginbotham’s remarkable true story is told in her own words and using her own voice, with recorded interviews reconstructed for the stage by Dana’s son, playwright Lucas Hnath, and meticulously lip-synced by O’Connell. Directed by Les Waters, Dana H. was first presented at the Vineyard Theatre in New York in 2020, where it received three Obie citations, two Lortel Awards and the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Unique Theatrical Experience. Transferring to Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre, it received three Tony Award nominations, winning Best Actress in a Play (Deirdre O’Connell) and Best Sound Design (Mikhail Fiksel). 

The theatre has also announced a new Living Archive project for over 1600 plays. The archive promises to be a playground for all theatre geeks, audiences, students, educators and lovers of new writing, holding information on over 1600 plays put on at the Royal Court from 1956 to the present day.

The Royal Court has also announced a new storytelling project created with Jewish community groups across the UK called Machloket – a disagreement for a greater good. Working in partnership with Tash Hyman, Nick Cassenbaum and Take Stock Exchangethe project will create a nationwide conversation exploring what it means to be Jewish in the UK today.

Currently playing at the Royal Court is Black Superhero by Danny Lee Wynter, directed by Daniel Evans.

Also, the Royal Court has a West End transfer coming up, with For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets too Heavy by Ryan Calais Cameron coming to the West End’s Apollo Theatre from 25 March 2023.

Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre, said in a press statement: “We are absolutely thrilled to be announcing this varied and beautiful season of work. All the writers and projects are questioning in very different ways our need for community, a need to belong and be understood, a place which holds us. Added to that  we are  finally able to give the first opportunity in our amazing history at the Royal Court to create and open up a Living Archive, questioning what archive is and how it can help us think about the future. We  hope that people will enjoy engaging with us in all these different ways, looking both into our past and being immersed in stories which are fiercely about the now.”

It was announced in February that Royal Court artistic director Vicky Featherstone is stepping down later this year.

More about Dana H. tickets at the Royal Court Theatre in London

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📷 Main photo: Deirdre O'Connell in the Broadway production of DANA H. Photo by Chad Batka

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