Opera director Jonathan Miller (pictured) will return to the British theatre stage next year for the first time in nearly a decade to helm a new production of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard at Sheffield Crucible. It’s one of two final shows announced today in Sheffield Theatres’ upcoming 2006/7 season, the second under the artistic directorship of Samuel West (See News, 17 May 2006). The other is a new adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1971 short story Don’t Look Now care of Nell Leyshon and Lucy Bailey.

Season additions

In Chekhov’s 1904 Russian classic, Madame Ranevskaya returns from Paris as the family estate, including her beloved orchard, is about to be sold to pay off mounting debts. Revelling in past glories and extravagances, the family ignores all offers for help.

Since launching his early career with Beyond the Fringe, alongside Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Alan Bennett, Jonathan Miller has become one of the world’s leading opera directors, with myriad credits at English National Opera and Glyndebourne as well as internationally. His Sheffield staging of The Cherry Orchard will run in the Crucible from 20 May to 7 April 2007 (previews from 14 March).

In the Lyceum Theatre, Don’t Look Now will run from 27 February to 10 March 2007 (previews from 27 February). After their daughter is drowned, John and Laura visit Venice to escape their pain. They their meet two sisters, one of whom claims to be psychic and have visions of the dead girl. Du Maurier’s supernatural thriller was originally published under the title Not After Midnight and was made into a 1973 film starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie.

The new adaptation of Don’t Look Now is written by Nell Leyshon and conceived and directed by Lucy Bailey. The pair worked together last year on the premiere of Leyshon’s Comfort Me With Apples, which won the Evening Standard Award for New Playwriting (See News, 28 Nov 2005).

Casting updates

While no casting has yet been announced for either Don’t Look Now or The Cherry Orchard, elsewhere in the Sheffield season, it’s been confirmed that David Bradley (last seen on stage in Henry IV at the National) will join the previously announced Nigel Harman in the revival of The Caretaker this autumn and Beverley Klein (Sweeney Todd in the West End) will join Henry Goodman in classic Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof in the new year.

The Caretaker, directed by Jamie Lloyd, runs from 17 October to 11 November 2006 (previews from 11 October), as part of a programme of events celebrating Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter’s work. Fiddler on the Roof, directed by Lindsay Posner, runs from 5 December 2006 to 20 January 2007 (previews from 30 November). Both productions are mounted in the Crucible (See News, 17 May 2006).

- by Terri Paddock