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Hytner and Starr’s Bridge Theatre to launch first season with new Richard Bean play

Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr will launch the Bridge Theatre with a new play by Richard Bean. Photo: Haworth Tompkins
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  • Bridge Theatre opens in October
  • New work from Richard Bean, Lucy Prebble and Sam Holcroft
  • Ben Whishaw to star in Julius Caesar
  • Simon Russell Beale to star as Bach in new Nina Raine play

Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr's new London theatre will open later this year with a season that includes new work by Richard Bean, Lucy Prebble and Sam Holcroft.

The Bridge Theatre's inaugural season also includes a promenade production of Julius Caesar, starring Ben Whishaw as Brutus. It runs from January 20, 2018.

It will also feature Michelle Fairley as Cassius, David Calder as Caesar and David Morrissey as Mark Antony.

Julius Caesar will be directed by Hytner, and is one of four productions he is directing in the first season.

He will also take on a new comedy by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman, Young Marx. It will star Rory Kinnear in the title role, alongside Oliver Chris as Engels.

The production will open the 900-seat Bridge Theatre in October. It is the first venture from Hytner and Starr’s London Theatre Company.

When it opens, in a development near Tower Bridge, it will be the first large-scale, commercial theatre to be built in central London since the New London Theatre was created in 1973.

The theatre, helmed by former National Theatre director Hytner and executive director Starr, will focus on new work, with "the occasional classic".

Prebble will re-imagine Bizet's opera Carmen, as Carmen Havana, in a production directed by Hytner and choreographed by Miguel Altunaga.

New work also includes Nightfall by Barney Norris, directed by Laurie Sansom; a play by Lucinda Coxon, based on the novel Alys, Always and directed by Hytner; John Hodge's Flatpack; The Black Cloud by Sam Holcroft – based on Fred Hoyle's novel; and a play by Nina Raine based on the life of JS Bach – played by Simon Russell Beale.

“We want to make bold, popular theatre. We've commissioned ambitious plays that reach out to embrace the audience, and we've built an environment for them that is exciting, welcoming and flexible – a theatre that can be changed to suit the show,” Hytner said.

The auditorium can be adapted into end-on, thrust and promenade formats.

Hytner and Starr said they hope to open more theatres in London, as well as host productions from the subsidised sector and transfer its own shows to the West End.

Hytner added: "We reckon that London needs new theatres, designed for the shows that people make in the 21st century and the expectations that audiences have for a really good night out."

The venue will stage work Tuesday to Sunday, with Monday nights dedicated to the live recording of a new podcast series, a programme of gigs, and conversation events on food, fashion, politics and sciences.

Tickets will be priced between £15 – for under 26s – and £65, with premium seats also available.

The season at a glance:

Young Marx

By Richard Bean and Clive Coleman
Directed by Nicholas Hytner
Starring: Rory Kinnear and Oliver Chris
October 18 to December 31, opening night October 26

Julius Caesar

Directed by Nicholas Hytner
Starring: David Calder, Michelle Fairley, David Morrissey and Ben Whishaw
January 20 to April 15, opening night January 30

Nightfall

By Barney Norris
Directed by Laurie Sansom
April 28 to June

From summer 2018

Alys, Always

By Lucinda Coxon
Directed by Nicholas Hytner

Flatpack

By John Hodge

A New Play About JS Bach

By Nina Raine
Starring: Simon Russell Beale

The Black Cloud

By Sam Holcroft

Carmen Havana

By Lucy Prebble
Directed by Nicholas Hytner
Choreography by Miguel Altunaga

Read The Editor's View: Bridge Theatre brings Netflix revolution to UK stage

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