The Michael Grandage Season


As the 2012 theatre season begins to draw to a close the spotlight is already on 2013 and the array of brand new productions arriving in London’s West End. From fantastic revivals of musical such as ‘A Chorus Line’ to transfers of Broadway hits such as ‘The Book of Mormon’ and ‘Once’, there is already a definite buzz about the season. Among the host of plays opening next year, which already includes Pinter’s ‘Old Time’, Ayckbourn’s ‘Relatively Speaking’ and ‘Quatermaine’s Terms’, Michael Grandage’s newly founded company presents their inaugural season at the Noel Coward Theatre.

After a period of 10 years as Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse, Michael Grandage handed over the post to Josie Rourke in early 2012. His credits at the venue included a wide range of successful productions such as ‘King Lear’ starring Derick Jacobi, ‘Red’ starring Eddie Redmayne and ‘Frost/Nixon’ which went on to transfer to the West End. His commitment to the venue throughout the ten year period resulted in it succeeding  on a National and International scale, pushing the boundaries of theatre and quickly becoming one of the most prolific ‘Off-West End’ venue. Whilst the venue continues to thrive under new leadership, Grandage’s new company prepares to bring their first year long season to London audiences. Launched in June 2012 under the name ‘The Michael Grandage Company’ the fifteen-month season aims to engage a new generation of theatre goers through a collection of play revivals and new writing with some of the finest acting talent from around the globe. The five productions have been scheduled to give new audiences a chance to see a collection of well-known plays in a different context, each presented at The Noel Coward Theatre in the heart of London’s West End. Upon launching the season 100,000 seats were offered to audiences for only £10 each, in an move to break down the barriers that restrict some people from attending the theatre. This effort to diversify audiences was met with overwhelming approval from both the Society of London Theatre and audiences themselves, who snapped up the tickets to see some of their favourite stars live on stage.

The season is outlined below:

Privates on Parade

1st December 2012 – 2nd March 2013 

Simon Russell Beale stars in a revival of Peter Nichols’ ‘play with music’ that marks the opening of the Michael Grandage Season. Grandage returns to the play he originally presented at the Donmar Warehouse in 2001. Set in the late 1940s during the Malaysian Emergency, this hilarious farce follows the activities of the Song and Dance Unit South East Asia. Private Flowers travels to join the group and is caught up in the exploits of flamboyant Captain Terri Dennis, whose drag act lightens the spirits of the troops and provides a number of colourful characters such as Carmen Miranda and Vera Lynn.

Peter and Alice

9th March 2013 – 1st June 2013 

John Logan’s brand new play imagines a meeting between Alice Liddell and Peter Llewelyn Davis, the inspiration behind famous children’s books ‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll and ‘Peter Pan’ by J.M Barrie. As the pair meet we see an extended reality between the two and fact and fiction merge together to create an interesting and heartwarming narrative. Ben Whishaw stars as Peter, alongside national treasure Judi Dench as Alice. Logan’s previous play ‘Red’ was directed by Grandage and went on to win a number of Tony Awards on Broadway.

The Cripple of Inishmaan

8th June – 31st August 2013 

The boy wizard returns to the London stage in his first West End show since the sell out production of ‘Equus’. After almost a year on Broadway with the company of ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’, Daniel Radcliffe brings Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy back to London. Set off the West Coast of Ireland on the small islands of Arran, provincial lives are changed when a film crew arrives to explore the town, and a young crippled orphan dreams of a new life.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

7th September – 16th November 2013

Shakespeare’s most loved comedy is given new life in a brand new production starring David Walliams and Sheridan Smith. Two of the nation’s favourite television personalities come together in this hilarious comedy of errors that sees a group of lovers journey into the woods where they collide with a quarrelling Fairy King and Queen and a band of ‘rude’ mechanicals. Smith’s stage credits have included Olivier Winning performances in ‘Legally Blonde’ and ‘Flare Path’ as well as a successful run of ‘Hedda Gabler’ at the Old Vic Theatre.

Henry V

23rd November 2013 – 15th February 2014

The season finale reunites Hollywood heart-throb Jude Law with Michael Grandage, after the pair last worked together on the Donmar’s production of ‘Hamlet’ that transferred to the West End. In Shakespeare’s most patriotic of history plays, the young Prince Hal takes over the thrown and is sent to France to fight in the Hundred Year’s War, rallying the troops and winning the hand of Katherine. This spectacular new production is set to be the perfect theatrical end to 2013.

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