National Theatre announces 12 new shows plus West End transfers

National Theatre season to star Michael Sheen, David Oyelowo, Harriet Walter, Isis Hainsworth, Lindsay Duncan & Bella Maclean

Directors include Rebecca Frecknall, Ian Rickson, Rufus Norris, Clint Dyer, Lyndsey Turner, Roy Alexander Weise, Alexander Zeldin, Emily Burns, James Macdonald, Bijan Sheibani & Natalie Ibu

Writers include Tim Price, Katori Hall, Amit Lahav, Ben Power, Roy Williams, Annie Baker, Beth Steel, Sarah Gordon, plus Dodie Smith, Federico García Lorca & William Shakespeare

The National Theatre in London has announced a slew of new programming, including 12 new shows and the transfers of two hit productions: The Motive and the Cue and Standing at the Sky’s Edge.

It was also announced today that Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre will step down when his term comes to an end in mid-2025.

Here is a run-down of the new productions for 2023 / 2024:

Olivier Theatre

Playing in the Olivier theatre from February 2024 is Nye, a new play by Tim Price charting the life of Aneurin ‘Nye’ Bevan and his battle to create the NHS. The play will star Michael Sheen and is directed by Rufus Norris

Also in the Olivier Theatre, David Oyelowo will play the title role in a new production of William Shakespeare’s Roman tragedy Coriolanus, directed by National Theatre Associate Lyndsey Turner.

Olivier Award-winning playwright Katori Hall will make her National Theatre mainstage debut with Pulitzer Prize-winning drama The Hot Wing King, directed by Roy Alexander Weise, as they reunite following their critically acclaimed, sell out production of The Mountaintop. Set in Memphis on the weekend of the hotly anticipated and highly competitive hot wing contest, The Hot Wing King tells a story of love, family and masculinity, and will play from July 2024.

Lyttelton Theatre

Alexander Zeldin writes and directs The Confessions from 19 October to 4 November 2023. A love letter to life and theatre, The Confessions charts the course of one life from birth to death, with music composed by Yannis Philippakis (Foals).

Also in the Lyttelton, Rebecca Frecknall will direct Harriet Walter in a radical adaptation of Federico García Lorca’s modern masterpiece, The House of Bernarda Alba, from 16 November 2023 to 6 January 2024. Also starring Isis Hainsworth (Rebecca Frecknall’s Romeo and Juliet), this is a co-production with Playful Productions and is hotly tipped for a West End transfer.

Kin, from the critically acclaimed physical theatre company Gecko and created by Amit Lahav, opens in the Lyttelton theatre in January 2024 following a UK tour. 

In February 2024, Lindsay Duncan leads the cast of Dear Octopus by Dodie Smith, in the play’s first revival since the 1960s. Emily Burns directs.

Finally, London Tide, based on Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend, will have its world premiere in the Lyttelton theatre in April 2024, adapted by Ben Power (The Lehman Trilogy), with original songs by PJ Harvey and Ben Power, and directed by Ian Rickson. Charles Dickens’ final completed novel is a gothic masterpiece of murder, redemption, love and money, reimagined for the stage in this epic new play with songs.

The cast includes Bella Maclean (Rivals, Sex Education, Spring Awakening), with further casting to be announced.

Dorfman Theatre

In the Dorfman from September 2023, Deputy Artistic Director Clint Dyer reunites with Roy Williams for Death of England: Closing Time. Exploring family dynamics, race, colonialism and cancel culture, this is the final, standalone chapter of the award-winning Death of England series. 

Also in the Dorfman, Annie Baker returns with Infinite Life, which has its UK premiere in the Dorfman from November 2023, following a run at Atlantic Theater Company in New York. Directed by James Macdonald, this new play is a surprisingly funny inquiry into the complexity of suffering, and what it means to desire in a body that’s failing you.

Former National Theatre writer in residence Beth Steel will make her National Theatre debut with Till the Stars Come Down, directed by Bijan Sheibani, and running in the Dorfman theatre from January 2024. 

Underdog: The Other Other Brontë will then play from March 2024, written by Sarah Gordon and directed by Northern Stage Artistic Director Natalie Ibu. Winner of the Nick Darke Writer’s Award in 2022, Underdog: The Other Other Brontë is an irreverent retelling of the lives of the Brontës, looking behind the legend to tell the story of the sibling power dynamics that shaped their uneven rise to fame.

West End transfers

Sam Mendes production of The Motive and the Cue by Jack Thorne will transfer to the Noel Coward Theatre. Running from 9 December 2023 until 23 March 2024, the co-production with Neal Street Productions will see original leads Johnny FlynnMark Gatiss and Tuppence Middleton return to play the iconic roles of Richard Burton, John Gielgud and Elizabeth Taylor.

Standing at the Sky’s Edge, previously announced to run at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, will run from 8 February 2024 until 3 August 2024. The Olivier Award-winning Best New Musical is written by Chris Bush, with songs by legendary Sheffield singer-songwriter Richard Hawley. See here for round-up of stunning 5-star reviews for Standing at the Sky’s Edge.

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