Former Doctor Who Matt Smith is set to star in a new production of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London’s West End next year.
An Enemy of the People will play the Duke of York’s Theatre from 6 February 2024 for two months.
It will be the first time Matt Smith has appeared on the West End stage since 2021, when he performed in Lungs at The Old Vic alongside Clare Foy.
Directed by German director Thomas Ostermeier, this is the first English language production of Ostermeier’s acclaimed version of Henrik Ibsen’s classic play.
The play was performed at the Barbican Theatre in 2014 in German, as well as performances around Europe and in New York.
Michael Billington in the Guardian said of the 2014 production, which he gave 5 stars, that it was “like a rowdy version of Question Time” and that “Ibsen’s drama scales new heights of excitement and fascination”. In the German version, audience members were asked to vote on the debate at the heart of the play.
Matt Smith takes the role of Thomas Stockmann, a doctor and medical officer who discovers that the public baths in his home spa town are contaminated. When he decides to go public with his findings in a newspaper to demand that the council sorts out the problem, he faces intense opposition as it threatens the livelihood of his town, and is declared a public enemy.
Alongside Doctor Who, Matt Smith’s other TV roles include HBO’s House of the Dragon, playing the Duke of Edinburgh in Netflix series The Crown, and his film work incudes Morbius, and Last Night in Soho.
This production of An Enemy of the People has been adapted from Ibsen’s original by Ostermeier and Florian Borchmeyer, with further creatives and casting to be announced.
Actor Matt Smith said, “Thomas Ostermeier pushes the form and boundaries of theatre; I have been a fan for quite some time. Seeing his Richard III with Lars Erdinger was electric. When I heard he was interested in coming to the British stage for the first time, with Ibsen’s classic An Enemy of the People I was delighted to say the least. It is an honour to be able to work with him on this great play and become part of this unique project. We’re beginning an exciting casting process, and I very much look forward to returning to The Duke of York’s Theatre early next year.”
Director Thomas Ostermeier said: “As we face the immediate impact of climate change and global warming, and our seeming incapacity to change these burning threats, Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People is unfortunately more relevant than ever. This is an urgent reason to create an English version of the production for London, and I look forward to collaborating with Matt Smith, an actor whose body of work I greatly admire.”
Producers David Binder, Benjamin Lowy, and Emily Vaughan-Barratt commented, “It is thrilling to be able to announce the magnificent artistic marriage of Thomas Ostermeier, his seminal An Enemy of the People, and the extraordinary actor Matt Smith for the West End next year. This celebrated production has been enjoyed in German around the world and to be able to present this production in English at the Duke of York’s is an absolute privilege. Matt is a brilliant and daring actor who is going to thrill audiences as Dr Stockmann, and Thomas is a visionary artist, and we are so lucky he is making his West End debut with this admired production.”