Director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris today announces upcoming programming with 12 new productions that will play on the National Theatre’s South Bank stages, as he also confirms that he is to step down after ten years as Director in mid-2025 when his current term comes to an end.
Playing in the Olivier theatre from February 2024 is Nye, a new play by Tim Price charting the life of Aneurin ‘Nye’ Bevan and his battle to create the NHS. Directed by Rufus Norris and with Michael Sheen playing Nye Bevan, this Welsh fantasia is both epic and deeply personal.
Later in the year is a new production of William Shakespeare’s Roman tragedy Coriolanus, directed by National Theatre Associate Lyndsey Turner and with David Oyelowo cast as the title role.
Booking dates for Nye and Coriolanus are to be announced.
National Theatre Associate Alexander Zeldin writes and directs The Confessions, which will play in the Lyttelton theatre from October 2023. A love letter to life and theatre, The Confessions charts the course of one life from birth to death, with music composed by Yannis Philippakis.
Olivier Award-winner Rebecca Frecknall makes her National Theatre directorial debut with Alice Birch’s radical adaptation of Federico García Lorca’s modern masterpiece, The House of Bernarda Alba. Harriet Walter is cast as Bernarda Alba and Isis Hainsworth as Adela in this co-production with Playful Productions, playing from November 2023.
Kin, from the critically acclaimed physical theatre company Gecko and created by Amit Lahav, opens in the Lyttelton theatre in January 2024 following a UK tour. In a poetically intoxicating performance, this provocative story of desperation, compassion and acceptance is inspired by the migration stories of Gecko’s international performers.
Tickets for The Confessions, The House of Bernarda Alba and Kin go on sale to the public at 12 noon on Friday 30 June.
Playing in the Lyttelton theatre from February 2024 is Dear Octopus by Dodie Smith. Directed by Emily Burns in its first revival since the 1960s, this play is a tender and touching portrayal of a family on the eve of World War Two. Lindsay Duncan leads the cast, with further casting to be announced. Emily Burns, who directed Jack Absolute Flies Again in the Olivier theatre last summer and adapted Romeo & Juliet for the National Theatre’s award-winning 2021 film, has been invited by Rufus Norris to join the National Theatre as an Associate.
London Tide, based on Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend, will have its world premiere in the Lyttelton theatre in April 2024, adapted by Ben Power with original songs by PJ Harvey and Ben Power and directed by Ian Rickson. Charles Dickens’ final completed novel, a gothic masterpiece of murder, redemption, love and money, is reimagined for the stage in this epic new play with songs. Cast includes Bella Maclean and Ami Tredrea with further casting to be announced.
Tickets for Dear Octopus and London Tide will go on sale later this year.
In the Dorfman from September 2023, National Theatre Deputy Artistic Director Clint Dyer reunites with Roy Williams for Death of England: Closing Time. Exploring family dynamics, race, colonialism and cancel culture, this is the final, standalone chapter of the award-winning Death of England series. The cast is Jo Martin and Hayley Squires. The previous BAFTA-nominated filmed chapter, Death of England: Face to Face, will be screened as part of The Windrush Caribbean Film Festival on Monday 19 June.
Annie Baker returns to the National Theatre with Infinite Life, which has its UK premiere in the Dorfman theatre from November 2023, following a run at Atlantic Theater Company in New York. Directed by James Macdonald, this new play is a surprisingly funny inquiry into the complexity of suffering, and what it means to desire in a body that’s failing you.
Tickets for Death of England: Closing Time and Infinite Life go on sale to the public at 12 noon on Friday 30 June.
Former National Theatre writer in residence Beth Steel will make her National Theatre debut with Till the Stars Come Down, directed by Bijan Sheibani which will play in the Dorfman theatre from January 2024. Set over the course of a wedding, Till the Stars Come Down is a passionate, heartbreaking and hilarious portrayal of a larger-than-life family who are struggling to come to terms with a changing world.
Underdog: The Other Other Brontë will then play from March 2024, written by Sarah Gordon and directed by Northern Stage Artistic Director Natalie Ibu, who both make their National Theatre debuts in this co-production with Northern Stage. Winner of the Nick Darke Writer’s Award in 2022, Underdog: The Other Other Brontë is an irreverent retelling of the lives of the Brontës, looking behind the legend to tell the story of the sibling power dynamics that shaped their uneven rise to fame.
Finally, Olivier Award-winning playwright Katori Hall makes her National Theatre mainstage debut with The Hot Wing King, directed by Roy Alexander Weise as they reunite following their critically acclaimed, sell out production of The Mountaintop. Set in Memphis on the weekend of the hotly anticipated and highly competitive hot wing contest The Hot Wing King tells a story of love, family and masculinity, and will play from July 2024. The play received the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Booking dates for Till the Stars Come Down, Underdog: The Other Other Brontë and The Hot Wing King are to be announced.
Speaking about today’s announcements, Rufus Norris said: ‘It has been and remains the greatest privilege of my career to lead the National Theatre. For the past eight years I have had the honour of shaping the programme of extraordinary work that sparks imagination, brings people together and illustrates the vital role theatre can play in all our lives. The daily highlight has been to work with the peerless theatre-makers who work here, together with the incredible range of freelance artists upon whom the present and the future of the art form relies. I am enormously proud to be part of the diverse, thriving, creative hub the National Theatre is today and am fully committed to steering the course over the next two years. From the work on our stages, to the audiences all around the UK and beyond that engage with us on tour, in cinemas, in schools and at home, the NT entertains and inspires people through our creativity, expertise and unique reach. The magic of the National Theatre is that there is nowhere else like it; to have been a small part in its illustrious history, particularly through the challenges of the last few years, is a true honour.’
Recruitment for the new Director will begin imminently, with an appointment expected towards the end of this year or early into the next.