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Rufus Norris announces National Theatre 2016 season

Rufus Norris. Photo: Paul Plews

New plays by David Hare and Lucy Kirkwood feature as part of Rufus Norris’ latest National Theatre season, which will see Robert Icke, Vicky Featherstone and Ivo van Hove make their directorial debuts at the venue.

Actors lined up to appear on its stages include Helen McCrory, Tamsin Greig – who stars as Malvolio in Twelfth Night, rewritten as Malvolia – and Lucian Msamati.

Msamati will star as Salieri in Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, which runs in the Olivier Theatre in October. It will be directed by Michael Longhurst.

Van Hove will direct Hedda Gabler, opening in the Lyttelton in December. He previously helmed the play at the New York Theatre Workshop and for Toneelgroep Amsterdam, but will recreate the production for the NT with a British cast.

Also in the Lyttelton, McCrory will play Hester in The Deep Blue Sea, directed by Carrie Cracknell and opening in June, with Hare’s new play The Red Barn, directed by Icke, opening there in October.

Featherstone will direct Lee Hall’s Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, which is a National Theatre of Scotland and Live Theatre production that makes its London debut in the Dorfman in August.

The Dorfman will also host A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer, by Bryony Kimmings and Brian Lobel, with music by Tom Parkinson, in October. This follows a run at Home in Manchester. Kimmings directs.

Kirkwood’s new play, Mosquitoes, will be directed by Norris and opens in the Dorfman in January, with a new play by Nina Raine, called Consent, playing from April next year in a co-production with Out of Joint.

Norris’ season also includes a number of co-productions, with Jonathan Kent’s Young Chekhov season, which previously ran at Chichester Festival Theatre, opening in the Olivier in July. Anna Chancellor and James McArdle will reprise their roles in the production.

Meanwhile, Sally Cookson’s Peter Pan, a co-production with the Bristol Old Vic, will run in the Olivier in November. It originally played in Bristol in 2012.

The Olivier will also be home to Simon Godwin’s production of Twelfth Night, with Godwin also directing Antony and Cleopatra in 2018, starring Ralph Fiennes. Twelfth Night, opening in February 2017,  will star Greig as Malvolia.

Yael Farber directs Les Blancs by Lorraine Hansberry in the Olivier from March, starring Sian Phillips and Danny Sapani, with Simon Stephens’ translation of The Threepenny Opera, directed by Norris, opening in May. The show stars Rory Kinnear as Macheath and the cast also includes Rosalie Craig.

Howard Davies will direct Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars in the Lyttelton in July, with Marianne Elliott’s production of Angels in America, by Tony Kushner, opening in the theatre in April next year.

Meanwhile, Sam Crane, Elizabeth McGovern, Ben Miles and Pippa Nixon will star in a new play by Alexi Kaye Campbell, called Sunset at the Villa Thalia, from June in the Dorfman.

The NT also announced today that it had appointed Lenny Henry to its board, and that it was committing to a 50:50 gender split in terms of directors and living writers working on its stages by 2021.