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Churchill, Butterworth & Crimp headline Royal Court autumn season

By • West End
Outgoing Royal Court artistic director Dominic Cooke has announced his penultimate season at the helm of the Sloane Square venue, which runs from September to January and features new plays by established Court writers Caryl Churchill, Martin Crimp and Jez Butterworth, among others.

Tarell Alvin McCraney and EV Crowe will also return with second plays in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs while Lucy Kirkwood makes her Court debut with a new play in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs.

The autumn season opens with a return to the Court for Caryl Churchill with her new play Love and Information, which runs in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from 14 September to 13 October 2012 (previews from 6 September). Directed by James Macdonald (Mike Bartlett's Cock), it's billed as a "fast moving kaleidoscope" and involves "more than a hundred characters try to make sense of what they know".

It's followed in the Theatre Downstairs, from 31 October to 24 November (previews from 25 October), by Lucy Kirkwood's new comedy NSFW. Drawn from the internet acronym Not Safe For Work, it explores "power games and privacy in the media and beyond", and is directed by Simon Godwin (The Witness).

Rounding off the season in the main theatre, from 12 December to 19 January (previews from 6 December), is Martin Crimp's In the Republic of Happiness. Billed as a "violent satire", it's set during a family Christmas which is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of the provocative Uncle Bob.

In the Theatre Downstairs

The season opens in the smaller Upstairs space with Tarell Alvin McCraney's new play Choir Boy (10 September-6 October, previews from 4 September). Directed by Cooke, it's set in an all boys, all black American prep school and "scores a gospel refrain of the politics of minority and masculinity".

It's followed, from 26 October to 17 November (previews from 26 October), by the premiere of Jez Butterworth's first new play since his multi award-winning smash hit Jerusalem. Titled The River it centres on a man and a woman during a moonless night in a "remote cabin on the cliffs" and reunites the creative team behind Jerusalem, led by director Ian Rickson

Tickets for The River will not be on sale in advance, but will instead go be sold online at 9am the day of performances, with an allocation being sold at the venue box office an hour later.

And completing the season is EV Crowe's new play Hero, directed by Royal Court associate Jeremy Herrin. Running from 29 November to 22 December (previews from 23 November), it's the story of a gay primary school teacher and his conflict with a straight colleague.

Announcing the season, Dominic Cooke, who will be succeeded by Vicky Featherstone in April next year, said: “It’s a privilege to welcome back some of the UK’s most influential playwrights to the Royal Court in my penultimate season as artistic director.

“A new play by Caryl Churchill is a major cultural event. To have that joined by the latest work from Martin Crimp and Jez Butterworth in the same season is a rare and thrilling prospect. These are writers who have reshaped the theatrical landscape and challenged us to imagine ourselves in new ways. Their new plays are as startlingly original as anything they’ve written. Each writer has a long history with the Royal Court and I’m honoured to be welcoming them back this season."


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