The Orange Tree (OT) today announces its first full year of programming under new Artistic Director Tom Littler. It features world and European premieres by Zoe Cooper and Lucas Hnath; revivals from Mustapha Matura, Noël Coward and Oliver Goldsmith; directors including Trevor Nunn and Matthew Dunster; and Niamh Cusack headlining the first major London revival of Polly Stenham’s breakout hit That Face.
Niamh Cusack will make her OT debut in the autumn with Polly Stenham’s That Face, which won the Evening Standard Charles Wintour Award, the TMA Best New Play Award, and the Critics’ Circle Award. Mustapha Matura’s Meetings follows, with JMK Award winner Kalungi Ssebandeke directing this first major UK revival.
2023 culminates with Tom Littler and Francesca Ellis, directing the 250th anniversary production ofOliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer; alongside the OT’s annual family show, Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol based on Charles Dickens’ novel, adapted and directed by Becca Chadder. In January, Zoe Cooper returns to the OT following the hit premieres of Jess and Joe Forever and Out of Waterwith her new play Northanger Abbey, inspired by Jane Austen’s novel, directed by Tessa Walker – in a co-production with the Octagon Theatre Bolton, the Stephen Joseph Theatre Scarborough and Theatre by the Lake.
2024 will also bring in a production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, adapted and directed by Trevor Nunn; the UK premiere of Kate Attwell’s Testmatch directed by Diane Page, a co-production with ETT (English Touring Theatre) and Octagon Theatre Bolton; a rediscovery of Noël Coward’s Suite in Three Keys directed by Littler; and completing the season, the European premiere of Lucas Hnath’s Red Speedo directed by Matthew Dunster and co-produced with David Adkin. Priority booking for these 2024 productions is open to Members now, with public booking opening in the autumn.
This summer will see the brand-new season open with the OT’s inaugural Greenhouse Festival showcasing the theatre’s OT New Artists programme and marking a new collaboration between the OT and the drama school LAMDA, including the creation of a new Associate Director position. Headlining the Greenhouse Festival will be four productions by graduating LAMDA students, directing modern classics with their fresh and exciting takes on Ross Willis’ Wolfie (directed by Martha Barnett), Enda Walsh’s The Small Things (directed by Robert Elwood), Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal (directed by Anna Hampton) and Eugène Ionesco’s The Chairs(directed by Saniya Saraf).
The OT’s Community team continue their longstanding projects to connect young people with Shakespeare with the return of Primary Shakespeare and Shakespeare Up Close, with a retelling of Hamlet for primary school audiences, and a choice for secondary school students of Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet, in collaboration with Guildford Shakespeare Company. OT Community will also be welcoming back Flute Theatre as an Associate Company at the OT with a production of Twelfth Night directed by Kelly Hunter for autistic individuals and their families.
A selection of these newly announced productions will be available to watch on-demand thanks to the continuation of OT On Screen, allowing greater access for audiences worldwide to connect with the OT digitally.
Tom Littler says today “We’re excited to announce this year of great theatre at the Orange Tree. It builds on the OT’s history of a creative conversation between classics and new work, contemporary revivals and work with and for young people. The Orange Tree is a wonderful space to get to the heart of a play; to the human experience at its centre. These very different plays are united by their compassion and their heart.”
Hanna Streeter, Executive Director, says today “I’m absolutely thrilled about this year-long season in which Tom has honoured the OT’s history of producing early career artists while celebrating some of the greats. We are privileged to be partnering with so many amazing theatres, companies and producers, and it’s with thanks to them, along with our Patrons, Members and loyal audiences, that we can deliver such an ambitious programme.”