LENNY HENRY RETURNS TO THE STAGE IN
AUGUST WILSON’S KING HEDLEY II AT
THEATRE ROYAL STRATFORD EAST
FURTHER DETAILS ALSO ANNOUNCED FOR
FALL’S INAUGURAL SEASON PROGRAMMING
Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nadia Fall, today announces Lenny Henry to take on the role of Elmore in August Wilson’s King Hedley II as part of her inaugural season. This marks the first time Wilson’s work will be staged at Theatre Royal Stratford East.
In April, Theatre Royal Stratford East presents a Derby Theatre and Pilot Theatre co-production of Malorie Blackman’s novel Noughts and Crosses. Adapted by Sabrina Mahfouz and directed by Esther Richardson, the production opens at Stratford East on 24 April and running until 5 May.
The season concludes with a Theatre Royal Stratford East and ENO co-production of Benjamin Britten’s masterpiece Noye’s Fludde. Lyndsey Turner directs a new production which combines the talents of professional singers, actors and musicians with those of school children and the local community. The production opens on 3 July, with previews from 1 July and runs until 13 July.
Also going on sale today is the already announced co-production with English Touring Theatre of Peter Shaffer’s classic play Equus. Directed by Ned Bennett, the play opens on 21 February.
In addition, at every performance of every show over half of the tickets are priced under £25, with £10 tickets available for those aged under 26.
Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nadia Fall, said today, “There’s just so much to get excited about as our 2019 shows go on sale today. I’m thrilled that Lenny Henry will be appearing at Theatre Royal Stratford East in August Wilson’s ferocious and timely play King Hedley II. Taking on the role of Elmore, this will be the first time that Lenny Henry has appeared on our stage and also the first time that the great August Wilson’s work has been performed here. Our co-production with English Touring Theatre of Peter Shaffer’s Equus also goes on sale today, re-imagined by the theatre maverick Ned Bennett, it’s sure to be the play as you’ve never seen it before. Young people have always been at the heart of Theatre Royal Stratford East and we hope that they and their families will enjoy Pilot Theatre’s production of Noughts and Crosses, from the celebrated novel by Malorie Blackman in a new adaptation by Sabrina Mahfouz. Our co-production with English National Opera of Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde, will see the brilliant Lyndsey Turner direct this joyous production, which combines the talents of professional artists alongside an army of local school children and community groups. It’s a brilliantly busy year ahead, designed to offer something for everyone.”
Theatre Royal Stratford East and English Touring Theatre present
by Peter Shaffer
Directed by Ned Bennett
15 February – 23 March 2019
Press night: 21 February, 7pm
Award-winning director Ned Bennett brings Peter Shaffer’s psychological thriller Equus to the stage in a bold new production of the critically-acclaimed classic.
When teenager Alan Strang’s pathological fascination leads him to blind six horses, psychiatrist Dr. Martin Dysart is tasked with uncovering the motive behind the boy’s violent act. As Dysart delves into Alan’s world of twisted spirituality, passion and sexuality, he begins to question his own sanity and motivations in a world driven by consumerism.
Equus is a co-production between UK Theatre Award winners English Touring Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East.
Sir Peter Shaffer’s (1926 – 2016) plays include The Salt Land, The Prodigal Father, Balance of Terror, Five Finger Exercise (Evening Standard Drama Award), The Private Ear, The Public Eye, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Black Comedy, White Lies, The Battle of Shrivings, Yonadab, The Gift of the Gorgon, Lettice and Lovage and Amadeus (Evening Standard Drama Award and Tony Award for Best Play). His plays adapted for film include Five Finger Exercise, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Equusand Amadeus (Academy Award for Best Picture), for television The Salt Land and Balance of Terror,and for radio The Prodigal Father and Whom Do I Have the Honour of Addressing?. In 1994, Shaffer was Visiting Professor of Contemporary Drama at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford. He was awarded the CBE in 1987 and was knighted in 2001.
Ned Bennett directs Equus. He is an award-winning theatre director, who trained at the Royal Court, the National Theatre and LAMDA. His work includes the Evening Standard Award-winning An Octoroon, which opened at the Orange Tree Theatre in Spring 2017 and will transfer to the Dorfman in Summer 2018, and Buggy Baby which opened at the Yard Theatre in March of this year. He directed the Bruntwood Prize-winning Yen at the Manchester Royal Exchange which transferred to the Royal Court in 2016, and Pomona which was commissioned by the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and transferred to the Orange Tree, and then to the National Theatre. Pomona and Yen won Bennett the UKT Best Director award 2015. Pomona won four Off-West End awards: Best Director, Best Production, Best New Play and Best Lighting Design.
English Touring Theatre is one of the UK’s leading touring companies, winning the UK Theatre Awards Best Touring Production in 2014, 2015 and 2016. ETT works with exciting artists to stage an eclectic mix of new and classic work for audiences throughout the UK and overseas; theatre that is thrilling, popular and engaged in the contemporary world. At the heart of everything ETT does is the passionately held belief that everyone, wherever they are in the country, deserves to have access to world class theatre. In 2017 ETT toured to 40 venues throughout the UK, with productions including Sam Holcroft’s Rules for Living, Richard Twyman’s critically acclaimed production of Othello and the 20th anniversary tour of The Weir, which finished its nationwide tour this year, winning the Manchester Theatre Award for Best Visiting Production. 2018 sees the company celebrate its 25th anniversary.
Derby Theatre and Pilot Theatre present
Co-produced by Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Mercury Theatre Colchester and York Theatre Royal
NOUGHTS AND CROSSES
By Malorie Blackman
Adapted by Sabrina Mahfouz
Directed by Esther Richardson
24 April – 5 May
Press night: 24 April, 7:30pm
“Why love, if losing hurts so much?”
Sephy and Callum sit together on a beach. They are in love.
It is forbidden.
Sephy is a Cross and Callum is a Nought. Between Noughts and Crosses there are racial and social divides. A segregated society teeters on a volatile knife edge.
As violence breaks out, Sephy and Callum draw closer, but this is a romance that will lead them into terrible danger.
This gripping Romeo and Juliet story by acclaimed writer Malorie Blackman and adapted by Sabrina Mahfouz is a captivating drama of love, revolution and what it means to grow up in a divided world.
Schools workshops and free online learning resources are available alongside this production. Please see pilot-theatre.com.
Sabrina Mahfouz is a playwright, poet and screenwriter. Her play With a Little Bit of Luck (Paines Plough) was broadcast on BBC1xtra and performed across the UK. Other theatre works include Chef (winner of a 2014 Fringe First Award), Dry Ice (nominated for Stage Award for Best Solo Performance) and Clean (Traverse Theatre and New York). Mahfouz has a published poetry collection, How You Might Know Me, was a contributor to The Good Immigrant and has edited The Things I Would Tell You. Her first play for children, Zeraffa Giraffa won Best Production for Young People at the Off West End Awards 2018 and she is currently writing a biopic of Wiley, the ‘godfather of grime’.
Malorie Blackman has written over 60 books for children and young adults, including the Noughts and Crosses series, Thief and most recently her science fiction thriller Chasing the Stars. Her work has also been adapted for TV with the 6-part adaptation of Pig-Heart Boy winning a BAFTA and Noughts and Crosses is currently in production for the BBC. In 2005, Blackman was honoured the Eleanor Farjeon Award in recognition of her distinguished contribution to the world of children’s books. In 2008, she was awarded OBE and between 2013 and 2015 she was the Children’s Laureate.
Esther Richardson is the Artistic Director of Pilot Theatre. She has directed over 25 theatre productions in the UK, including her most recent production of Brighton Rock, adapted by Bryony Lavery. Esther was the founding Artistic Director of Theatre Writing Partnership – a new writing development company based in Nottingham UK (funded by the Lottery and ACE from 2001 to 2012). The company was nominated for the prestigious Stage/TMA’s Special Achievement in Regional Theatre Award when Esther was running the company in 2006. Her film work includes two successful shorts, which led her to be selected for Creative England’s ifeatures scheme in 2012/13.
Theatre Royal Stratford East present
KING HEDLEY II
By August Wilson
Directed by Nadia Fall
17 May – 16 June
Press night: 23 May, 7pm
1980s Pittsburgh, a city in decay. Against the backdrop of Reagan’s America, King, an ex-con, is trying to rebuild his life and start a family. He’s got hopes and dreams of opening a video store and building a new life. If only he can get ten thousand dollars together, if only he can catch a break. In his dusty backyard he plots and plans with his friend Mister, but is this all a pipe dream?
Featuring Lenny Henry as smooth-talking hustler Elmore, August Wilson’s touching and angry, King Hedley II is a quest for redemption for one man and a whole community.
Lenny Henry has been a comedian since the age of 16. He has risen from being a cult star on children’s television to becoming one of Britain’s best-known comedians, as well as a writer, philanthropist and award-winning actor. In recent years he has starred in The Comedy of Errors at The National Theatre, Fences at the Duchess Theatre, and in 2017 he made his Donmar Warehouse debut in The Resitable Rise of Arturo Ui. He has also been a Trustee of the National Theatre since February 2016. His television credits includeBroadchurch, The Syndicate and the biographic Danny and The Human Zoo. Henry’s Production Company, Douglas Road, has achieved success in partnership with Burning Bright on the recently acclaimed The Commonwealth Kid documentary. As a co-founder of Comic Relief he was delighted to announce this year that the British Public has donated over £1billion to Comic Relief over the last 30 years. He is a strong advocate for diversity, taking his work on the subject to Cannes in order to deliver the Keynote speech launching the idea of offering tax breaks for diversity, as well as talks given in Rome to the global TV and film insider audience. Henry was chosen by Baroness Doreen Lawrence to interview three beneficiaries of the Stephen Lawrence trust at his memorial in 2018.
August Wilson (1945–2005) was an American playwright. He won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for his play Fences and earned a second Pulitzer Prize for The Piano Lesson. His other notable works include Seven Guitars, Gem of the Ocean, Jitney and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Nadia Fall trained at Goldsmiths College (MA Directing) and on the NT Studio’s Directors programme. Her directing credits include The Suicide, Our Country’s Good, Dara, Chewing Gum Dreams, Home, Hymn, The Doctor’s Dilemma (National Theatre), Hir, Disgraced (Bush Theatre), R and D (Hampstead Theatre), Way Upstream (Chichester Festival Theatre), Hobson’s Choice (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), How Was It For You? (Unicorn Theatre), Sticks & Stones (Polka Theatre), The Maids (Lyric Hammersmith), Miss Julie (Croydon Warehouse Theatre) and Wild Turkey (Site Specific). As Associate Director, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Gielgud Theatre), Collaborators, The Habit of Art (National Theatre); and as Staff Director, Rocket to the Moon, Really Old, Like Forty Five, Phèdre and Much Ado About Nothing (National Theatre). Fall has directed at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Unicorn Theatre and led participation initiatives with partners such as the Young Vic, Clean Break, Soho Theatre and the Royal Court. She is also an acting coach, supporting professional actors for film and stage.
Theatre Royal Stratford East and English National Opera present
By Benjamin Britten
Directed by Lyndsey Turner
1 July – 13 July
Press night: 3 July, 7pm
God is angry, and a flood is coming. But Noah is building a boat: wide enough and deep enough not just for his family, but for a cargo of birds and beasts, both great and small. For forty days and forty nights, this chorus of unlikely shipmates endure a mighty storm, in the hope that a new world will be waiting for them on the other side.
Lyndsey Turner directs a joyous new production of Benjamin Britten’s masterpiece combining the talents of professional singers, actors and musicians with those of school children and the local community. Marking the first collaboration between Theatre Royal Stratford East and English National Opera, Noye’s Fludde speaks of courage, redemption and the promise of a new beginning.
Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976) was a British composer, pianist and conductor. The most significant British composer of the post-war period, Britten was the first British composer to devote the major part of his output to the operatic stage. Beginning with the international success of Peter Grimes in June 1945, his sixteen operas, which include chamber operas and works for children, are now considered repertory pieces. Other notable works include Paul Bunyan, Billy Budd and Gloriana, The Rape of Lucretia, Curlew River and Death in Venice. Among Britten’s notable achievements outside the opera house were orchestral pieces such as the Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Sinfonia da Requiem, The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra,Spring Symphony and Symphony for Cello and Orchestra.
Lyndsey Turner’s previous work includes Philadelphia, Here I Come!, Fathers and Sons, and Faith Healer (Donmar Warehouse), Girls and Boys (Royal Court), Tipping The Velvet (Lyric Hammersmith), Hamlet (Barbican), Chimerica (Almeida & West End), Saint George and the Dragon, Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, Edgar and Annabel, There is a War (National Theatre).
English National Opera believes that opera of the highest quality should be accessible to everyone.
A national company of international standard, ENO forges ground-breaking collaborations across art forms, and our world-class productions inspire, surprise, and captivate. We sing in English and believe that singing in our own language connects the performers and the audience to the drama onstage and enhances the experience for all. ENO performs a wide repertoire of opera from classic favourites and seminal works, to contemporary titles and brand new commissions. In 2017 we staged the World Premieres of operas Marnieand The Winter’s Tale. With 2,359 seats, our home, the iconic London Coliseum on St Martin’s Lane, is the largest theatre in London. It was designed for Sir Oswald Stoll by Frank Matcham, the leading theatre architect of his day. Between April 2016 and July 2017, 346,400 people came to enjoy an ENO performance either at the London Coliseum or at another venue in London. In addition, more than 188,000 people saw an ENO co-production outside of the UK. It is central to ENO’s mission to ensure that price is never a barrier for people wanting to enjoy great opera. 42,500 tickets at £20* or less are available for performances across ENO’s 2018/19 season (around 23% of tickets to every show) and we provide great seats at significantly reduced prices to Under 30s and full-time students through our Access All Arias scheme.
We nurture talent across the entire company, whether on-stage, backstage, or in the pit; and we provide a platform for young singers to develop global careers. 80% of ENO singers and conductors are British born/trained/resident.
For more information on ENO and our upcoming productions, please visit eno.org