The National Theatre has today revealed an exciting raft of plans for future productions. Amongst other things, the coming months will feature new plays by Mark Ravenhill, Patrick Marber and Sebastian Barry as well as a new trilogy by Tom Stoppard; directorial returns for Sir Peter Hall and Nicholas Hytner; and another big-budget musical revival in the form of South Pacific.

On the casting front, an NT spokesperson, speaking to, declined to confirm continued hints and rumours about National debuts for Nicole Kidman (in Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea) and Glenn Close (in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire), although she did acknowledge that artistic director Trevor Nunn was in advanced talks with both. Subject to scheduling, both should go ahead. Men Behaving Badly star Martin Clunes, however, is definitely secured for the title role in Moliere’s Tartuffe, directed by Lindsay Posner at the Lyttelton, and Alex Jennings will play Leontes in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, directed by Hytner.

Hytner will also direct Mark Ravenhill’s new play,Mother Clap’s Molly House, in the Lyttelton and on tour. Also transferring to the Lyttelton from the Cottesloe is [Howard Davies’ critically acclaimed, sell-out production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, prior to a West End run.

Meanwhile, in the Cottesloe, new plays will feature strongly. Closer author Patrick Marber will direct his, still untitled, latest play there in June, to be followed by new plays from Charlotte Jones, Sebastian Barry and Nicholas Wright. Jones’s Humble Boy will be directed by John Caird, with Simon Russell Beale leading the cast; Barry’s Hinterland will be directed by Max Stafford-Clark in a co-production between the National, Out of Joint and the Abbey Theatre, Dublin; and details for Wright’s Van Gogh in Brixton.

Prior to Humble Boy, Simon Russell Beale returns to the National with his award-winning performance as Hamlet as John Caird’s production transfers to the Olivier for a limited season, after its sell-out run in the Lyttelton.

Looking further ahead, in the Olivier, Sir Peter Hall and Harrison Birtwistle will reunite for The Bacchae by Euripides in a new version by Colin Teevan; and a major new trilogy by Tom Stoppard will be staged there by Trevor Nunn. And, following the National’s successful productions of the great Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals Carousel and Oklahoma, the theatre has also secured the rights to present the pair’s South Pacific, last seen in London 13 years ago.

More immediately, the National’s productions of Yasmina Reza’s Life x 3, Joe Penhall’s Blue Orange and Michael Frayn’s Noises Off are all readying for imminent West End transfers with All My Sons lined up for the near future (venue to be confirmed), and the bets are on for how many of its 22 Laurence Olivier Award nominations the National can convert when the winners are announced on 23 February.

- by Terri Paddock