Michael Boyd, who handed the artistic director reins at the Royal Shakespeare Company over to Gregory Doran at the end of last year, will make his post-RSC directing debut by helming the UK premiere of new American drama The Big Meal at Theatre Royal Bath's Ustinov Studio in the new year.
Dan LeFranc's contemporary comic drama, which was first seen in Chicago in 2011, launches the third "American Season" at Theatre Royal Bath. It runs from 12 March to 5 April 2014 (previews from 6 March) and is presented in association with HighTide Festival.
The Big Meal begins with the first meeting of Sam and Nicole in a typical suburban restaurant and continues through five rollercoaster generations and 80 years in the life of a modern American family. The production is designed by Tom Piper, a frequent collaborator of Boyd's during his ten years running the RSC. After announcing his departure from the RSC, Boyd was knighted in the 2012 Queen's Birthday Honours for his services to drama.
The Big Meal is followed in The American Season 2014 by two more UK premieres. Keith Huff's gritty two-hander A Steady Rain, running 9 April to 10 May and directed by David Grindley, sends the lives of two Chicago cops spinning out of control. The 2009 Broadway premiere starred Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. Huff's other credits include TV's Mad Men and House of Cards.
The season concludes with Lynn Nottage's multi award-winning 2003 play Intimate Apparel, running from 29 May to 28 June 2014 and directed by Laurence Boswell. Set in New York in 1905, the story centres around Esther, a black seamstress who sews exquisite lingerie for her wealthy white clients and prostitutes. Nottage's other plays include the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined, which had its London premiere at the Almeida Theatre two years ago.
No casting has yet been announced for the American Season 2014. Previous successes originating from the Bath season include the UK premiere of Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room or the vibrator play. Also directed by Boswell, it won last year's Theatre Award UK for Best Play and has just transferred to London's St James Theatre, where it opened last week, starring Natalie Casey.