Glenn Close (pictured) is confirmed to play Blanche Dubois in a new National Theatre production of Tennessee Williams' classic A Streetcar Named Desire. The revival will open in the NT's 900-seat Lyttelton Theatre in autumn 2002. The casting of Close is one of the calendar highlights, combining old and new, over the next year in which the NT celebrates 25 years in its South Bank home.

Other highlights include the return of previous artistic directors, Peter Hall and Richard Eyre, a revival of Harold Pinter's No Man's Land directed by the author, a new Tom Stoppard trilogy, and a fresh outing for the musical South Pacific, not seen in London for 13 years.

In 2002, Peter Hall will direct Euripides The Bacchae, in a new version by Colin Teevan that will reunite Hall with Harrison Birtwistle who will write extensive music for it. And Richard Eyre, the predecessor to current NT artistic director Trevor Nunn, will direct a new play by Nicholas Wright, provisionally titled The House of Secrets.

First off though, in December of this year, Pinter's No Man's Land, one of the first productions to play at the South Bank-situated NT 25 years ago, will open at the Lyttelton Theatre with Corin Redgrave and John Wood starring. In the same month, the whimsical National Theatre of Brent will present their The Mysteries of Sex, directed by Martin Duncan and performed by Patrick Barlow and John Ramm.

The NT's production of South Pacific will form part of the international celebrations next year for the centenary of the birth of Richard Rodgers. It will be directed by Trevor Nunn, with musical staging by Matthew Bourne, design by John Napier and lighting by David Hersey.

2002 will also see the premiere of a new trilogy - set in 19th century Russia - by Tom Stoppard. A new NT ensemble, directed by Nunn, will be created to perform across all three pieces. Other major productions include a new version of Moliere's Tartuffe starring Martin Clunes, a new play by Sebastian Barry called Hinterland, directed by Max Stafford-Clark and co-produced by Out of Joint and Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, and a new version of Buchner's Woyzeck directed by Katie Mitchell.

All of the above will be in addition to the six-month "Transformation" season which will see the Lyttelton Theatre converted into two separate performance spaces mounting 14 productions of new writing between May and September 2002. In a press conference held today at the National, Nunn proudly pointed out that, with these programming announcements, by the end of this year, the NT will have achieved its aim of making fully 50% of its output focused on new work.

- by Terri Paddock