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Phyllida Lloyd to direct all-female Henry IV in Donmar Warehouse season

Donmar Warehouse artistic director Josie Rourke. Photo: John Hunter
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Phyllida Lloyd will return to the Donmar Warehouse to direct an all-female production of Henry IV, the second of a trilogy of Shakespearian productions that began with Julius Caesar in 2012.

The show forms part of the Donmar’s autumn season announcement which also sees productions of the musical City of Angels and a revival of Kevin Elyot’s My Night With Reg, which will mark the show’s 20th anniversary and will star Julian Ovenden.

The theatre has also added a new role of trainee artistic director to its existing development scheme, as well announcing Nick Payne as its writer in residence.

Lloyd’s production of Henry IV will star Harriet Walter as King Henry, Jade Anouka as Hotspur, Clare Dunne as Hal and Ashley McGuire as Falstaff. It will run from October 3 to November 29, with press night on October 9.

Speaking during the season launch at the Donmar’s new studios, artistic director Josie Rourke said: “There’s a mission behind this work, which is a really great question about who owns Shakespeare. Yes it’s about gender, it’s about diversity, it’s also about class, and it’s also about, for the Donmar and for Phyllida, how we can extend the project of these productions beyond our stage into the lives of young people.”

Henry IV will be designed by Ellen Nabarro, with costume by Deborah Andrews, original designs by Bunny Christie, lighting by Neil Austin, music by Gary Yershon and movement by Ann Yee.

Robert Hastie will direct the 20th anniversary production of Kevin Elyot’s My Night With Reg, which stars Ovenden as John. He will be joined by Matt Bardock, Jonathan Broadbent, Richard Cant, Lewis Reeves and Geoffrey Streatfield. It will run from July 31 to September 27, with press night on August 5.

The production will be designed by Peter McKintosh with lighting by Paul Pyant and sound by Gregory Clarke.

Rourke will direct the first major revival of Cy Coleman’s City of Angels as the Donmar’s Christmas production. Hadley Fraser will return to the Donmar to play Stine, alongside Rosalie Craig as Gabby/Bobbi and Samantha Barks as Mallory/Avril.

“The wit and the sass and the sex of this show is amazing. It has these unbelievably strong parts for women, and people haven’t written this wittily for women really since that era. It’s a fascinating thing to see that on the page and celebrated,” Rourke explained.

The production will be choreographed by Stephen Mear, with lighting by Howard Harrison, sound by Terry Jardine and Nick Lidster for Autograph, design by Robert Jones and musical direction by Gareth Valentine. It will run from December 5 to February 7, 2015, with press night on December 16.

To coincide with the company’s move to a new base on Dryden Street, the Donmar has announced the creation of a trainee artistic director position, which will run alongside its resident assistant director role.

Rourke explained that the post “is a chance for directors with aspirations to lead theatre companies and buildings to gain unique insight into the day-to-day running of a building”.

Alongside this, Rourke announced the appointment of Payne, who penned the play Constellations, as writer in residence and the continuation of Michael Bruce as composer in residence.

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