Sam Mendes’s production of ‘King Lear’, Tori Amos’s delayed musical and a one-off, fiftieth anniversary megamix of the National Theatre’s greatest hits were all unveiled by National Theatre boss Nicholas Hytner at a press conference outlining the theatre’s year ahead.
And in the shorter term, plans for The Shed – the temporary replacement for the about to be refurbished Cottesloe theatre – were firmed up. The £1.8m building (paid for entirely out of the profits made by ‘War Horse’) will sport an edgier programme than the Cottesloe, with the initial season including Rob Drummond’s death-defying existentialist ‘magic show’ ‘Bullet Catch’ (May 21-Jun 1) and anarchic New Yorkers The TEAM’s brilliant anti-capitalist ‘musical’, ‘Mission Drift’ (Jun 5-28).
In the main houses, tickets will go on sale next month for Hytner’s much-trailed production of ‘Othello’ (above), which stars Adrian Lester as Shakespeare’s tragic moor and Rory Kinnear as his nemesis Iago; it plays in the Olivier from April 16. And in the Lyttelton, Howard Davies will direct a new translation of Mixim Gorky’s black comedy ‘Children of a Sun’ (from April 9).
The biggest news comes later in the year, however: after much delay delay, Tori Amos’s Marianne Elliott-directed musical ‘The Light Princess’ will finally be coming to the Lyttelton in October; the NT will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary with a one off, Hytner-directed performance in the Olivier that will bring together actors and plays from the theatre’s history; and this time next year, director Sam Mendes will follow up ‘Skyfall’ and his forthcoming ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ musical by directing the great Simon Russell Beale in the title role of Shakespeare’s ‘Lear’, a project that has long been in the making.
Tickets for ‘Othello’, ‘Children of the Sun’ and extensions to current shows including Alan Bennett’s ‘People’ go on sale Feb 15; tickets to Shed shows go on sale Mar 1. For info, see nationaltheatre.org.uk.