James McAvoy is to star in a new version of Cyrano de Bergerac in the West End’s Playhouse Theatre, the first in a season of productions at the venue directed by Jamie Lloyd.
Through a sponsorship deal with British Airways, 15,000 tickets will be given away for free to first time theatregoers throughout the nine-month season, which is produced by the Jamie Lloyd Company and Ambassador Theatre Group.
A further 15,000 will offered at £15 for key workers, under 30s and those receiving government benefits including job seekers allowance.
Cyrano de Bergerac, which has been adapted by Martin Crimp, will see Lloyd and McAvoy collaborate for the first time since 2015 when the pair worked together on The Ruling Class at Trafalgar Studios and on an adaptation of Orson Welles’ The Heart of Darkness for BBC Radio 4.
Other collaborations include Macbeth at Trafalgar Studios in 2013 and Three Days of Rain at the Apollo Theatre in 2009.
Lloyd said: “I can’t wait to get back into the rehearsal room with James McAvoy, who shares my commitment to accessibility in the arts. In a radical move for the West End, we will invite thousands of people who have never visited a theatre before to experience our work, performed by world-class actors, for free.”
Announcing 30,000 free or discounted tickets for the Playhouse season, Lloyd said: “Every day, we talk about making theatre more accessible to absolutely everyone, but, inspired by free museum and gallery entry, I believe that true and meaningful access actually means free tickets. I hope that this inspires other theatre companies and producers to investigate similar schemes in the future, changing the landscape of West End theatre forever.”
Cyrano de Bergerac runs will be designed by Soutra Gilmour, with lighting by Jon Clark, sound and music by Ben and Max Ringham and fight direction by Kate Waters. Casting is by Stuart Burt.
It runs at the Playhouse from November 27 to February 29, with press night on December 6.
It is the first production to be announced for Lloyd’s season at the Playhouse, which will continue until August 2020.
Last year, Lloyd curated a six-month season of Harold Pinter’s short plays at the Pinter Theatre, to mark a decade since the playwright’s death.