The National Theatre has announced further details of the new productions in its autumn season (See News, 5 Feb 2004). In addition to the world premiere of David Hare’s Stuff Happens and the return of His Dark Materials in the NT Olivier, the schedule includes a new one-man show by Antony Sher about Primo Levi, the premiere of Kwame Kwei-Armah’s latest play, Cheek by Jowl director Declan Donnellan’s new version of Nikolai Erdman’s The Mandate and Matthew Warchus’ revival of Sam Shepard’s Buried Child.

In the Lyttelton

Buried Child opens the schedule in the NT Lyttelton, where it runs, in repertory with Alan Bennett’s The History Boys, from 29 September to 15 December 2004 (previews from 18 September). In Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1978 play, it’s a curious homecoming for forgotten son Vince, whose girlfriend can’t stop laughing – until she steps inside his childhood house and meets his half-crazed relatives.

Warchus has previously directed Life X 3 and Volpone at the National. His recent West End productions include Endgame, Tell Me on a Sunday and Our House. Warchus also directed Shepard’s True West in the West End and on Broadway. Buried Child will be designed by Rob Howell, with lighting by Natasha Katz, music by Gary Yershon and sound by Paul Groothuis. Casting has not yet been announced.

In the Cottesloe

Sher’s Primo opens the NT Cottesloe schedule, running from 30 September to 1 December 2004 (previews from 24 September). Sher (pictured) – who starred in his playwriting debut, I.D., last year at the Almeida - has adapted the new piece about the late Auschwitz survivor and author on Levi’s own book, If This Is a Man. Primo is directed by actor-director Richard Wilson and designed by Hildegard Bechtler, with lighting by Paul Pyant.

It’s joined in the Cottesloe repertory, from 26 October 2004 (previews from 15 October), by The Mandate, Nikolai Erdman’s 1924 Russian farce, which was banned for decades in the former USSR. This new version is adapted and directed by Cheek by Jowl’s Declan Donnellan (now an NT associate) and designed by Nick Ormerod with a cast that, to date, includes Deborah Findlay and Sinead Matthews.

The schedule concludes with Fix Up, Kwei-Armah’s follow-up to last year’s award-winning Elmina’s Kitchen, which will once again be directed by Angus Jackson. It’s Black History month but you wouldn’t know it in Tottenham where Revive PLC plan to turn Kwesi’s All Black African Party hotbed into luxury flats. Fix Up opens on 16 December 2004 (previews from 7 December).

In the Olivier

Further casting has also been announced for David Hare’s Stuff Happens, the final production in the Travelex £10 season in the NT Olivier, which opens on 10 September 2004 (previews from 1 September) and continues in repertory until 6 November (See News, 6 Jul 2004). In addition to Alex Jennings (as George W Bush), Nicholas Farrell (Tony Blair), Desmond Barrit (Dick Cheney), Adjoa Andoh (Condoleeza Rice), the cast for Nicholas Hytner’s premiere production will include Isla Blair, Dermot Crowley, Raeda Ghazaleh, Ian Gelder, Ewan Hooper, Iain Mitchell, Philip Quast, Raad Rawi, Larrington Walker and Angus Wright.

Hytner’s two-part production of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials will return with a new cast (to be announced) running from 8 December 2004 to 2 April 2005, following previews from 20 November (See News, 9 Jan 2004).

- by Terri Paddock