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National Theatre new season to feature Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls, Andrea Levy’s Small Island and Cate Blanchett

Caryl Churchill. Photo: Marc Brenner Caryl Churchill. Photo: Marc Brenner
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Rufus Norris will direct the world premiere of an adaptation of Andrea Levy’s novel Small Island as part of the National Theatre’s 2019 season, which will also include a new production of Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls and Blanche McIntyre making her NT directorial debut.

Actors lined up to appear in the new season of work include Alex Jennings, Lindsay Duncan, Roger Allam and Cate Blanchett.

Small Island, which explores the connected history of Jamaica and the UK around the time of the docking of the HMT Empire Windrush, will be adapted by Helen Edmundson and runs in May on the Olivier stage.

Meanwhile, David Hare is transposing the story of Peer Gynt to the 21st century, with Peter Gynt, opening in July. This is a co-production with the Edinburgh International Festival and will be directed by Jonathan Kent.

Peter Gynt will star James McArdle in the title role.

The Lyttelton Theatre will include a new version of Moliere’s Tartuffe, by John Donnelly, opening in February. McIntyre directs the play, in her NT debut.

Churchill’s Top Girls, directed by Lyndsey Turner, previews from March, followed by Githa Sowerby’s Rutherford and Son, directed by Polly Findlay. This runs in May on the Lyttelton stage, starring Allam as Rutherford.

Hansard, a new play by actor Simon Woods, follows, directed by Simon Godwin. It stars Jennings and Duncan as a married couple “reckoning with a fundamental difference they cannot resolve”.

Inua Ellams returns to the NT with a new version of Chekhov’s Three Sisters, directed by Nadia Fall, artistic director at Theatre Royal Stratford East.

The Dorfman’s programme includes the previously announced When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other, Twelve Variations on Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, opening in January and starring Blanchett. It is directed by Katie Mitchell and also stars Stephen Dillane.

Tickets for this will be sold via an online ballot opening on November 22. Approximately 10,000 pairs of tickets will be available.

Bruce Norris’ new play, Downstate, will open in March, directed by Pam MacKinnon, while Anna, created by Ella Hickson and Ben and Max Ringham, promises a “headphone-based thriller” set in 1968, in communist East Berlin.  Using binaural sound as a central feature, the production is directed by Natalie Abrahami.

The Dorfman will also stage the European premiere of Annie Baker’s new play, The Antipodes, directed by Lila Neugebauer.

In addition, the NT has announced that Lenny Henry is to star in a new one-man play about comedian Richard Pryor, called Richard Pryor on Fire. It will be directed by Paulette Randall and opens in 2020.