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New Ella Hickson play and Sophie Treadwell revival lead Almeida Theatre 2018 season

The Almeida Theatre. Photo: Philip Vile
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A new play by Ella Hickson and a revival of Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal feature in the new Almeida Theatre season.

Hickson last premiered a play at the north London theatre in 2016 – Oil – and she returns with The Writer, directed by Blanche McIntyre.

Artistic director Rupert Goold said the new play, as with Hickson’s other work, is “a hugely ambitious, deeply political play that consistency challenges what theatre can and should be”.

Meanwhile, Natalie Abrahami directs a new production of Treadwell’s 1928 play Machinal, which tells the real-life story of convicted and executed murderer Ruth Snyder.

The play has been revived several times since its original production, once at the National Theatre in 1993 starring Fiona Shaw, and most recently on Broadway in 2014, featuring Rebecca Hall and directed by Lyndsey Turner.

Casting for the new production has not yet been announced, however it will be designed by Miriam Buether with sound by Ben and Max Ringham.

Goold described it as a play that “remains strikingly resonant in its depiction of oppression, gender and power”.

The season also includes the UK premiere of Clare Barron’s Susan Smith Blackburn Prize-winning play Dance Nation. It will run from August and be directed by Bijan Sheibani.

Clare Barron wins Susan Smith Blackburn playwriting prize

Belgian company Ontroerend Goed’s co-production of £¥€$ (Lies), which ran at the Edinburgh Fringe last year, will transfer to the Almeida in July.

The interactive show puts audiences in the shoes of the super-rich and asks them to “call the shots” by becoming the centre of the economy.

Alongside the main programme, the Almeida has announced the return of its Almeida for Free festival, which ran last year during Robert Icke’s Hamlet and dedicated three days of performances to audiences aged between 16 and 25, for free.

This year it will take place in April during the final week of Rebecca Frecknall’s production of the Tennessee Williams play Summer and Smoke, which stars Patsy Ferran, Forbes Masson and Matthew Needham.

Frecknell was a member of the theatre’s 2017 resident director pool, an initiative that will run again in 2018 with 11 new participants. They will work with the organisation over the course of a year to gain experience through accessing resources and working with main stage directors on each productions.

Season at a glance

The Writer by Ella Hickson
Directed by Blanche McIntyre
April 14 to May 26, with press night on April 24

Machinal by Sophie Treadwell
Directed by Natalie Abrahami
June 4 to July 21, with press night on June 11

£¥€$ (Lies) by Joeri Smet, Angelo Tijssens, Karolien De Bleser and Alexander Devriendt
Directed by Alexander Devriendt
Produced by Ontroerend Goed, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Richard Jordan Productions and Vooruit Kunstcentrum in association with Big in Belgium
July 31 to August 18, with press nights on August 1 and 2

Dance Nation by Clare Barron
Directed by Bijan Sheibani
August 27 to October 6, with press night on September 4

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