*Almeida Announces West End Autumn SeasonDate: 24 June 1998
The Almeida Theatre Company has confirmed that it will bring a full season of work to the West End this autumn. Starting in September at the Albery Theatre, the Company will present two of Racine's tragedies - Phèdre and Britannicus - in repertoire. In 1999, the Albery schedule will feature the first major revival of David Hare s Plenty since its National début in 1978. The Almeida's season at the Albery is presented in addition to the Theatre's work at its fringe home base in Islington, north London.
Phèdre , a new version by poet laureate Ted Hughes, will open at the Albery on 9 September (previews from 3 September) following its world premiere at the Malvern Festival in August. Britannicus, a new version by Robert David MacDonald, will open 4 November (previews from 29 October). Both plays will run in repertoire until 28 November.
The acting company for both plays will include Dame Diana Rigg, Julian Glover, David Bradley, Holly de Jong, Avril Elgar, Barbara Jefford and Toby Stephens.
Rigg's most recent stage credits include Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Medea, both for the Almeida. Other theatre work includes numerous Royal National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Chichester and West End productions. Rigg is perhaps best known for her various film and television roles in programmes such as The Avengers and Mother Love and films like A Little Night Music and A Good Man in Africa.
Both plays will be directed by the Almeida's joint artistic director Jonathan Kent. His many productions for the Almeida include Naked, Medea, The School for Wives, Ivanov and The Government Inspector.
Kent will also direct the 1999 production of Plenty which will star Cate Blanchett, seen most recently opposite Ralph Fiennes in the film Oscar and Lucinda. On stage, Blanchett's work includes Oleanna and Hamlet.
The season at the Albery is the latest in a long line of moves by the Almeida to expand its reach far outside of Islington. Many recent productions - including The Judas Kiss starring Liam Neeson, Naked starring Juliet Binoche and The Iceman Cometh starring Kevin Spacey - have enjoyed hugely successful West End runs. And in August, the Almeida will present a three-week festival of international drama in Malvern, in direct competition with the simultaneous Edinburgh Festival. Several other Almeida productions will be embarking on regional tours over the summer.
The Almeida season at the Albery follows Sir Peter Hall s nine lives production of Oscar Wilde s An Ideal Husband. The production has had more than half a dozen homes to date and continually extended runs on both the West End and Broadway. It is currently booking through to 22 August, with sales remaining strong. Nothing has yet been announced regarding another possible transfer.