Award-winning choreographer Matthew Bourne this week premieres the first production by his New Adventures company, Play Without Words, which is the last production in the National Theatre's ambitious £1.5 million, five-month "Transformation" season of new writing in the re-configured Lyttelton Theatre. Play Without Words begins previews tonight, 20 August 2002, before opening on 23 August and continuing to 14 September.

It's Chelsea 1963 and, behind the privileged façade of domestic social order, there lies a struggle for power, territory and sexual domination. Often finding inspiration in cinematic forms, in this case British new wave cinema of the early 1960s, Play Without Words is, true to its title, non-verbal, movement-based storytelling.

For 14 years, Bourne was best known, with producer Katharine Dore, as one half of the renowned Adventures in Motion Pictures whose much-lauded works included the all-male Swan Lake, Cinderella and The Car Man. He announced his solo outfit, New Adventures, in August 2001. Play Without Words reunites Bourne, who has devised the piece, with his award-winning AMP designer Lez Brotherston.

The ensemble cast for the new production are Scott Ambler, Belinda Lee Chapman, Saranne Curtin, Will Kemp, Stephen Kirkham, Michela Meazza, Eddie Nixon, Alan Vincent, Ewan Wardrop and Richard Windsor. Lighting is by Paule Constable, music by Terry Davies and sound by Christopher Shutt.

The next New Adventures outing will be Bourne's version of classic Christmas ballet Nutcracker!, which runs at Sadler's Wells from 20 November 2002 to 25 January 2003, following a brief stint in Bromley and ahead of a ten-week UK tour.

Over the five-month Transformation season, which started in May, 13 world premieres were mounted in the downsized Lyttelton Theatre and the specially built, 100-seat Lyttelton Loft. The Loft season concludes this month, with Simon Bent's The Associate which continues to 31 August ahead of regional dates. Post-Transformation, the Lyttelton will be returned to its original state, in which the first production will be Trevor Nunn's revival of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Glenn Close and Iain Glen.

- by Terri Paddock