Damian Lewis (pictured) will star in the National’s upcoming revival of Henrik Ibsen’s rarely performed 1877 thriller Pillars of the Community (See News, 4 Jul 2005). Timed to mark the centenary of the Norwegian dramatist’s death, Samuel Adamson’s new version, directed by Marianne Elliott, opens in the NT Lyttelton repertoire on 1 November 2005 (previews from 21 October).

Lewis plays Bernick, whose business prowess and pristine reputation are threatened by the revelation of a long-buried secret. Desperate to dodge exposure in the kow-towing local community, he devises a pitiless plan which, by a shocking twist of fate, risks the one life he holds dear.

Though now best known for screen roles such as Band of Brothers, Dreamcatcher, Jeffrey Archer: The Truth, Chromophobia, Colditz, Hearts and Bones and The Forsyte Saga, Lewis started his career in the theatre, where his earlier credits included Hamlet, Cymbeline and Much Ado About Nothing at the RSC, Into the Woods at the Donmar and School for Wives at the Almeida. Last year, he returned to the Almeida to star in the world premiere of Five Gold Rings.

In Pillars of the Community, Lewis will be joined by Geraldine Alexander (The Holy Terror) as Betty and Lesley Manville (just seen in the West End with David Schwimmer in Some Girls) as Lona Hessel. The cast also includes: Brid Brennan (as Marta Bernick), Michelle Dockery (Dina Dorf), Michael Gould (Knap), Annabel Leventon (Mrs Rummel), Pamela Merrick (Mrs Lynge), Paul Moriarty (Aune), Justin Salinger (Hilmar Tonnesen), Una Stubbs (Mrs Holt) and Michael Thomas (Rorlund).

In other casting updates for upcoming plays:

  • Full company details have now been announced for Trevor Nunn’s production of Richard II, in which Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey will make his UK Shakespearean debut in the title role. In addition to Julian Glover (as John of Gaunt) and Ben Miles (Bolingbroke), the production will feature Oliver Cotton (currently in The Philadelphia Story at the Old Vic) as the Earl of Northumberland, Peter Eyre (Don Carlo) as the Duke of York and Susan Tracy (Anything Goes) as the Duchess of York. The rest of the cast are Sean Baker, Lewis Barfoot, Kieran Bew, Naomi Capron, David Collings, David Dawson, Jack James, Oliver Kieran-Jones, David Leon, Sidney Livingstone, Ciaran McIntyre, Steven Miller, Iain Mitchell, Genevieve O’Reilly, William Osborne, Alastair Robins, Mark Tandy, David Weston and Glyn Williams. The production is designed by Hildegard Bechtler, with lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by Fergus O’Hare. It runs from 4 October to 26 November 2005 (previews from 14 September) at the Old Vic (See News, 11 May 2005).

    ** DON’T MISS our Whatsonstage.com Outing to Richard II including FREE drink & FREE programme – valid 10 November 2005 only – click here for details! **

  • At Hampstead Theatre, where Michael Pennington takes the title role in Nathan the Wise from 19 September to 15 October 2005 (previews from 15 September), he’ll now be joined by Anna Carteret (Absolutely! Perhaps, Copenhagen), Vincent Ebrahim (TV’s The Kumars at Number 42), Shelley King, Sam Troughton (Buried Child), Justin Avoth, Ewart James Walters and Celia Meiras. Hampstead artistic director Anthony Clark directs.

  • And back at the National, the cast for Helen Edmundson’s adaptation of Jamila Gavin’s Whitbread Award-winning children’s book Coram Boy will include: Sophie Bould (Alice ), Bertie Carvel (Adult Alex), Abby Ford (Young Thomas), Ruth Gemmell (Mrs Lynch), Akiya Henry (Toby ), Rebecca Johnson (Lady Ashbrook), Inika Leigh Wright (Miss Price), Stuart McLoughlin (Adult Thomas), Anna Madeley (Young Alex / Aaron), Katherine Manners (Edward), Eve Matheson (Mrs Milcote), Justine Mitchell (Melissa), Paul Ritter (Otis Gardiner / Mr Philip Gaddarn), Jack Tarlton (Meshak Gardiner) and Kelly Williams (Isobel). Melly Still directs the premiere production, which opens in the NT Olivier on 15 November 2005 (previews from 2 November).

    - by Terri Paddock