The Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond has revealed its brand new season, the first under new Artistic Director Tom Littler.
Highlights include world and European premieres by Zoe Cooper and Lucas Hnath; revivals of plays by Mustapha Matura, Noël Coward and Oliver Goldsmith; directors including Trevor Nunn and Matthew Dunster; and Niamh Cusack starring in the first major London revival of Polly Stenham’s breakout hit play That Face.
Niamh Cusack will make her Orange Tree debut in Polly Stenham’s That Face, which won the Evening Standard, TMA and Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play. Directed by Josh Seymour, That Face will run from 9 September to 7 October 2023.
Mustapha Matura’s new play Meetings gets its first major UK revival at the Orange Tree, directed by Kalungi Ssebandeke. Winner of the 2023 JMK Award, the play runs from 14 October to 11 November 2023.
2023 finishes up with Orange Tree Artistic Director Tom Littler and Community Director Francesca Ellis directing the 250th anniversary production of Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer; from 18 November 2023 to 6 January 2024; alongside their annual family show, Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol, based on Charles Dickens’ novel, adapted and directed by Becca Chadder, from 18 December to 6 January 2024.
The New Year sees Zoe Cooper return to the Orange Tree with her new play Northanger Abbey, inspired by Jane Austen’s novel, and directed by Tessa Walker.
This co-production with the Octagon Theatre Bolton, the Stephen Joseph Theatre Scarborough and Theatre by the Lake runs at the Orange Tree from 24 January to 24 February 2024.
That’s followed by a revival of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, adapted and directed by Trevor Nunn, playing from 2 March to 13 April 2024.
The UK premiere of Kate Attwell’s play Testmatch, directed by Diane Page, in a co-production with English Touring Theatre and Octagon Theatre Bolton, will run from 20 April to 18 May 2024.
And a rare revival of Noël Coward’s Suite in Three Keys, directed by Tom Littler, will play at the Orange Tree from 24 May to 6 July 2024. A double-bill of Shadows of the Evening and Come into the Garden, Maud will play in rep with A Song at Twilight.
Finally, the season is completed by the European premiere of Red Speedo by Lucas Hnath, directed by Matthew Dunster (Shirley Valentine, 2:22 A Ghost Story) and co-produced with David Adkin.
Red Speedo runs from 13 July to 10 August 2024.
This summer the Orange Tree will also host the inaugural Greenhouse Festival, showcasing the theatre’s New Artists programme and marking a new collaboration between the Orange Tree and the drama school LAMDA, including the creation of a new Associate Director position, and four productions by graduating LAMDA students.
The Orange Tree’s Community team will also continue their longstanding projects to connect young people with Shakespeare with the return of Primary Shakespeare and Shakespeare Up Close.
Tom Littler said in a press statement: “We’re excited to announce this year of great theatre at the Orange Tree. It builds on the OT’s history of a creative conversation between classics and new work, contemporary revivals and work with and for young people. The Orange Tree is a wonderful space to get to the heart of a play; to the human experience at its centre. These very different plays are united by their compassion and their heart.”
Hanna Streeter, Executive Director, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled about this year-long season in which Tom has honoured the OT’s history of producing early career artists while celebrating some of the greats. We are privileged to be partnering with so many amazing theatres, companies and producers, and it’s with thanks to them, along with our Patrons, Members and loyal audiences, that we can deliver such an ambitious programme.”