Full details of the National Theatre's summer season have been announced, including casting for Welcome to Thebes, After the Dance, Danton's Death, Earthquakes in London and the return of The Habit of Art

As previously reported (See News, 26 Mar 2010), former artistic director Richard Eyre will return to the NT to direct the premiere of Moira Buffini's Welcome to Thebes, which opens in the Olivier on 22 June 2010 (previews from 15 June).

Set in the present day, but inspired by ancient myth, the play offers a “passionate exploration of an encounter between the world’s richest and poorest countries, set in the aftermath of a brutal war”. Faced with an impoverished population, a shattered infrastructure and a volatile army, the first democratic president of Thebes, Eurydice, promises peace to her nation. Without the aid of Theseus, the leader of the vastly wealthy state of Athens, she doesn’t stand a chance. But Theseus is arrogant, mercurial and motivated by profit.

Nikki Amuka-Bird and David Harewood lead the cast as Eurydice and Theseus, alongside: Madeline Appiah, Rakie Ayola, Omar Brown, Jessie Burton, Jacqueline Defferary, Daniel Fine, Karlina Grace, Rene Gray, Tracy Ifeachor, Irma Inniss, Chuk Iwuji, Alexia Khadime, Ferdinand Kingsley, Aicha Kossoko, Simon Manyonda, Bruce Myers, Pamela Nomvete, Calre Perkins, Victor Power, Daniel Poyser, Joy Richardson, Vinette Robinson, Zara Tempest-Walters and Michael Wildman.  

Welcome to Thebes is designed by Tim Hatley, with lighting by Neil Austin, music by Stephen Warbeck, choreography by Scarlett Mackmin and sound by Rich Walsh.

It's joined in rep in the Olivier, from 22 July (previews from 15 July) by Michael Grandage's production of Georg Bűchner's Danton's Death, in a new version by Howard Brenton and starring Toby Stephens in the title role (the production marks both Grandage's and Stephens' NT debuts).

The cast will also feature: Max Bennett, Stefano Braschi, Kirsty Bushell, Jason Cheater, Judith Coke, Emmanuella Cole, Ilan Goodman, Taylor James, Barnaby Kay (as Camille), Gwilym Lee, Elliot Levey (as Robespierre), Eleanor Matsuura, Elizabeth Nestor, Alec Newman (as St Just), Chu Omambala, Rebecca O’Mara, Rebecca Scroggs, Jonathan Warde and Ashley Zhangazha.

Danton's Death, which is billed as having "a claim to be the greatest political tragedy ever written", will be designed by Christopher Oram, with lighting by Paule Constable, and music and sound by Adam Cork.

The full cast for Marianne Elliott’s production of Women Beware Women by Thomas Middleton, opening the 2010 Travelex £10 Tickets season in the Olivier on 27 April, is: Samuel Barnett, Nick Blood, Kelsey Brookfield, Raymond Coulthard, Laura Cubitt, James Hayes, Samuel James, Sioned Jones, Brian Kennedy, Vanessa Kirby, James Le Feuvre, Richard Lintern, Adam Maskell, Harry Melling, Chu Omambala, Lauren O’Neil, Mark Rawlings, Sebastien Torkia, Tilly Tremayne, Harriet Walter and Andrew Woodall.

Looking further ahead in the Olivier, it's been confirmed that, as previously tipped (See News, 23 Mar 2010), Broadway stars Sahr Ngaujah and Kevin Mambo, who share the title role, will reprise their performances in Fela! when the production transfers from 16 November 2010. They will lead a yet-to-be-announced new British cast.

In the Lyttelton

Nancy Carroll, Faye Castelow, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Heffernan and Adrian Scarborough will lead the cast of Terence Rattigan’s After the Dance, alongside Pandora Colin, Giles Cooper, Jenny Galloway, Daniel Gosling, Juliet Howland, Nicholas Lumley, Laclan Nieboer, Leo Staar, Hannah Stokely, Giles Taylor, Richard Teverson and Charlotte Thornton. Thea Sharrock’s production opens in the Lyttelton on 8 June 2010.

Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art returns to the Lyttelton rep from 14 July, prior to a UK tour. Desmond Barrit and Malcolm Sinclair will lead a new cast as WH Auden and Benjamin Britten. Barrit played Hector in The History Boys on tour,  at the Lyttelton and in the West End, while Sinclair is currently  appearing in David Hare’s The Power of Yes.

The Habit of Art tour will visit: Birmingham Rep Theatre (28 September – 2 October), The Lowry, Salford (5 – 9 October), Venue Cymru, Llandudno (12 – 16 October), Milton Keynes Theatre (19 – 23 October), The Grand Opera House, Belfast Festival (26 – 30 October), Theatre Royal, Nottingham (2 – 6 November), Leeds Grand Theatre (9 – 13 November), Theatre Royal, Newcastle (16 – 20 November), and Theatre Royal, Glasgow (23 – 27 November).

In the Cottesloe

Mike Bartlett's new play Earthquakes in London opens at the Cottesloe on 4 August (previews from 28 July), directed by Rupert Goold in a co-production with Headlong. The cast includes Jessica Raine (Harper Regan, Gethsemane), Lia Williams (The Hothouse, My Child), Anna Madeley, Bill Paterson and Geoffrey Streatfeild.

Spanning from 1968 to 2525 and back again, the play is billed as a “fast and furious metropolitan crash of people, scenes and decades as three sisters attempt to navigate their dislocated lives and loves, while their dysfunctional father, a brilliant scientist, predicts global catastrophe”.

The production features set designs by Miriam Buether, costume designs by Katrina Lindsay, lighting by Howard Harrison, choreography by Scott Ambler, projection designs by Jon Driscoll and sound by Gregory Clarke.  

The NT also announced today that writer and dramaturg Ben Power has been appointed an associate director. Currently an associate director of Headlong, his plays for the company include Six Characters in Search of an Author and Faustus with Rupert Goold. He has helped in the development of plays including Enron, Complicite’s A Disappearing Number and Earthquakes in London.