Angels in America Alum James McArdle to Lead Peer Gynt at London's National & More Added to 2019-2020 Season

Angels in America Alum James McArdle to Lead Peer Gynt at London's National & More Added to 2019-2020 Season
James McArdle
(Photo: Caitlin McNaney)

London's National Theatre has announced a talent-packed slate of works added to its upcoming season at the Olivier, Lyttelton and Dorfman Theatres. Highlights include David Hare's adaptation of Peer Gynt headlined by recent Angels in America star James McArdle and the European premiere of Annie Baker's The Antipodes directed by Lila Neugebauer in her NT debut.

New to the season at the Olivier Theatre will be Small Island (beginning in May 2019), a new play adapted by Helen Edmundson from Andrea Levy's bestselling novel. Directed by Rufus Norris, the play journeys from Jamaica to Britain through the Second World War to 1948, the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury. Small Island will be broadcast live to cinemas worldwide as part of NT Live.

Next up at the Olivier will be David Hare's new adaptation of Ibsen's Peter Gynt (July 2019) in a co-production with Edinburgh International Festival, directed by Jonathan Kent, with set and costume design by Richard Hudson. In the title role will be James McArdle (Angels in America), reuniting with Hare and Kent, the team behind Young Chekhov at Chichester Festival Theatre and the NT. Peter Gynt will transfer to Edinburgh for the International Festival in August 2019.

A new version of Molière's comedy Tartuffe (beginning on February 9, 2019), adapted by John Donnelly, will play the Lyttelton Theatre, helmed by Blanche McIntyre in her NT debut. Tartuffe follows Orgon, the man who has everything: money, power, a beautiful home and family. But lately he's been questioning the point of it all. When he invites the irresistible Tartuffe into his seemingly perfect household, he unleashes a whirlwind of deception and seduction that threatens everything. The production will feature set and costume design by Robert Jones, lighting design by Oliver Fenwick and music/sound design by Ben and Max Ringham.

Next on the slate at the Lyttelton will be a new staging of Caryl Churchill's Top Girls (beginning on March 26, 2019), with Lyndsey Turner at the helm. Top Girls follows Marlene, the first woman to head the Top Girls employment agency—but she has no plans to stop there. With Maggie in at Number 10 and a spirit of optimism consuming the country, Marlene knows that the future belongs to women like her. Top Girls will feature set design by Ian MacNeil, costume design by Merle Hensel, lighting design by Jack Knowles and sound design by Christopher Shutt.

Last performed at the NT 25 years ago, Githa Sowerby's Rutherford and Son (May 2019) will appear in a new staging at the Lyttelton, directed by Polly Findlay. Rutherford and Son will star Olivier winner Roger Allam (Privates on Parade) as the bullish Rutherford, whose tyranny over his children collides with their own hopes for their future, in this searing depiction of generational warfare and class discrimination. The mounting will feature set and costume design by Lizzie Clachan and sound design by Paul Arditti.

Hansard, the debut play of actor Simon Woods (Rome) will next open at the Lyttelton (September 2019). The play tells the story of Robin (to be played by Alex Jennings) and Diana (Lindsay Duncan), a married couple reckoning with a fundamental difference they cannot resolve. Simon Godwin will direct.

Playwright Inua Ellams will return to the National in the autumn with a new take on Chekhov's Three Sisters (August 2019) in a co-production with Fuel Theatre. Directed by Theatre Royal Stratford East Artistic Director Nadia Fall, this new Three Sisters will transport the play to 1960s Nigeria before, during and after the Biafran Civil War.

New to the season at the Dorfman Theatre will be Anna (May 2019), a new collaboration from Ella Hickson and Ben and Max Ringham. The headphone-based sound thriller will give the audience intimate access to communist East Berlin. Set over one night in 1968, a promising young couple has their love tested by increasing pressure from the state. Anna will be directed by Natalie Abrahami, with set and costume designed by Vicki Mortimer and movement by Anna Morrissey.

Based on the Mr. Gum children's books, Mr. Gum and the Dancing Bear—The Musical! will arrive at the Dorfman in the summer of 2019. With libretto and lyrics by the book's author, Andy Stanton, music by Jim Fortune, direction by Amy Hodge and set/costume design by Georgia Lowe, the show centers on nine-year-old Polly, who is aiming to get Padlock the bear to safety before the villainous Mr. Gum and his sidekick Billy William III prevail.

Pulitzer winner Annie Baker will return to the Dorfman in October 2019 with the European premiere of her play The Antipodes, directed by Lila Neugebauer (The Waverly Gallery) making her NT debut, repeating her work from the play's off-Broadway production with Signature Theatre. Baker's play about stories and the people who tell them follows acclaimed runs of The Flick and John at the NT. The Antipodes will feature set and costume design by Chloe Lamford.

Concluding the National's lineup of work will be Richard Pryor on Fire, a solo play written by and featuring Lenny Henry playing the legendary American comedian, debuting at the Dorfman in 2020. Paulette Randall will direct.

Additional casting and exact production dates for the new entries in the National's season will be announced at a later date.