Branagh Returns to Stage & Shakespeare in 2002Date: 9 May 2001
Director Michael Grandage is continuing his efforts to lure British film stars not only into delivering rare stage performances but into delivering them in Sheffield. A highlight of Grandage's new 2001/2002 season at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre will see Kenneth Branagh taking to the UK stage for the first time in nearly a decade.
Branagh will play the title role next year in Shakespeare's Richard III. The production opens at the Crucible on 19 March 2002 and continues to 6 April 2002 (previews from 13 March). Branagh's star turn follows the Sheffield appearance this past March of Shakespeare in Love's Joseph Fiennes as Marlowe's Edward II, also directed by Grandage.
Writer, actor and director Branagh, of course, is an aficionado of Shakespeare. In addition to his many theatre productions for the RSC, he has been one of the main forces in bringing Shakespeare to film audiences with screen versions of Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Hamlet and Love's Labours Lost. His non-Shakespearean stage acting credits include Another Country (for which he won the Society of West End Theatres and Plays and Players awards for Best Newcomer in 1982), Look Back in Anger, Golden Girls and Public Enemy. He last appeared on stage in the RSC's 1992 production of Hamlet.
Associate director at the Crucible, Grandage has recently won critical acclaim and numerous awards, including several Oliviers, for his productions of Merrily We Roll Along and Passion Play at the Donmar Warehouse as well as the Sheffield Crucible/ Lyric Hammersmith co-production of As You Like It.
The rest of the 2001/2002 ambitious season at Sheffield includes: Moliere's Don Juan, in a new translation by Men Behaving Badly's Simon Nye, directed by Grandage; a double bill of David Mamet - Sexual Perversity in Chicago and The Shawl - directed by Angus Jackson; a Christmas production of the Cole Porter musical, High Society, directed by Fiona Laird; and a new production of Pinter's The Birthday Party, directed by Erica Whyman.
Another highlight of the schedule will be a season of work by playwright Peter Gill, which will run from 22 May to 22 June 2002. In addition to his new play, Original Sin, directed by Gill himself, the season will feature productions of Kick for Touch, Friendly Fire, Mean Tears and Small Change. This major retrospective of Gill's writing will also include discussions, play readings and seminars.
Booking for all shows in the 2001/2002 season opens on 18 June 2001.
- by Terri Paddock