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Sophie Okonedo to star as Cleopatra in National’s 2018 season

Sophie Okonedo. Photo: Uli Weber
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Sophie Okonedo, Colin Morgan and Rhys Ifans are among the actors that will feature in the National Theatre’s 2018 season, it has been announced.

The London theatre has unveiled its programming for next year, including a three-part play about the rise and fall of Lehman Brothers and classics adapted by Polly Stenham and Patrick Marber.

Sam Mendes will return to the NT in July 2018 to direct The Lehman Trilogy by Stefano Massini, which has its UK premiere courtesy of an adaptation by NT deputy artistic director Ben Power.

Ifans will star with Indira Varma in Exit the King, an adaptation of Eugene Ionesco’s play by Marber, who also directs, while Stenham takes on Strindberg’s Miss Julie, in a reimagining of the play directed by Carrie Cracknell and starring Vanessa Kirby.

Okonedo has been confirmed to join the previously announced Ralph Fiennes in Antony and Cleopatra, opening in the Olivier in September 2018.

Also in the Olivier, Ian Rickson directs a new production of Brian Friel’s Translations, starring Morgan, while shows in the Lyttelton include Rodney Ackland’s Absolute Hell and David Hare’s new play, I’m Not Running, directed by Neil Armfield.

Armfield, who is artistic director of the Adelaide Festival is making his NT debut with the production.

New work also comes from Natasha Gordon and Laura Wade, who makes her NT debut with Home, I’m Darling.

It is a co-production with Theatr Clwyd and will be directed by its artistic director Tamara Harvey, also making her debut at the NT.

Other co-productions include The Great Wave, by Francis Turnly, produced by the Tricycle Theatre and directed by Indhu Rubasingham.

Elsewhere, An Octoroon, which ran at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond earlier this year, transfers to the Dorfman, and Justin Audibert directs a new production of The Winter’s Tale for primary schools, opening in the Dorfman.

The NT has also announced a new community theatre initiative called Public Acts, inspired by a similar project by the Public Theater in New York.

It will see the NT work with a number of partners, including the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and several community organisations, to create work for the NT’s stages featuring non-professional actors.

The project will begin in London with plans to expand nationally in future years.

The first production will be Pericles, directed by Emily Lim on the Olivier stage and featuring a small cast of professional actors and around 200 non-professional performers.

Elsewhere, the NT has announced a schools tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which has been specially adapted to visit secondary schools.

It will travel the country in autumn 2018, particularly targeting areas with lower engagement in theatre.

The season in full

Translations by Brian Friel
Directed by Ian Rickson
Starring Colin Morgan
Olivier Theatre
May 2018

Exit the King by Patrick Marber
Directed by Patrick Marber
Starring Indira Varma and Rhys Ifans
Olivier Theatre
July 2018

Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare
Directed by Simon Godwin
Starring Sophie Okonedo and Ralph Fiennes
Olivier Theatre
September 2018

Absolute Hell by Rodney Ackland
Directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins
Lyttelton Theatre
April 2018

Julie by Polly Stenham
Directed by Carrie Cracknell
Starring Vanessa Kirby
Lyttelton Theatre
June 2018

The Lehman Trilogy by Stefano Massini, adapted by Ben Power
Directed by Sam Mendes
Lyttelton Theatre
June 2018

I’m Not Running by David Hare
Directed by Neil Armfield
Lyttelton Theatre
Autumn 2018

The Great Wave by Francis Turnly
Directed by Indhu Rubasingham
Dorfman Theatre
March 2018
Co-produced with the Tricycle Theatre

Nine Night by Natasha Gordon
Directed by Roy Alexander Weise
Dorfman Theatre
April 2018

An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by Ned Bennett
Dorfman Thatre
June 2018

Home, I’m Darling by Laura Wade
Directed by Tamara Harvey
Starring Katherine Parkinson
Dorfman Theatre
July 2018
Co-produced with Theatr Clwyd

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