Unlike the first two years of Bridge, in which two classics were performed in rep by the same cast, in 2012, Richard III will be the sole offering. The company will still be a mix of leading British and American actors, with further casting to be announced closer to the time.
Richard III will run at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music from February to April 2012 before a brief tour and then a season at the Old Vic from May to August 2012. Following London, the production will embark on more extensive worldwide touring from the end of August through October 2012. Exact dates and international engagements are still to be announced.
According to a spokesperson, both the adjustment of the calendar and the focus on a single production will allow the Bridge Project more time and resources to implement a more ambitious international outreach.
Richard III reunites Kevin Spacey and Sam Mendes as actor and director for the first time since Mendes famously directed Spacey in his (Mendes’) 1999 film debut American Beauty, for which they both won Oscars. Since launching his tenure as artistic director of the Old Vic in 2004, Spacey’s acting credits on this stage have included National Anthems, The Philadelphia Story, Speed-the-Plow, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Inherit the Wind and another Shakespeare Dick in 2005, Richard II, directed by Trevor Nunn, for which he received the Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Actor.
Commenting on the 2012 season, Sam Mendes said in a statement: “I am absolutely delighted to be working with Kevin again for the first time since American Beauty, and I am doubly thrilled that he will be leading year three of the Bridge Project. Richard III is a play I love, and a role I think Kevin is born to play.”
Kevin Spacey added: “Sam is one of the finest directors I have had the pleasure to work with and to gain this opportunity is beyond my wildest hopes. I love Sam’s perspective on a role, carving and shaping the actor. With such a remarkable character before me, I have a feeling this one is going to be a memorable experience. It is also my hope to bring a comprehensive educational programme and opportunities for emerging artists along with our travels, making an argument for the living theatre in all the major cities we will visit throughout 2012.”
In the first year of the Bridge Project in 2009, Simon Russell Beale, Sinead Cusack, Rebecca Hall and Hollywood’s Ethan Hawke featured in the company performing The Winter’s Tale and Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard. This year’s two Shakespeares, As You Like It and The Tempest, were led by Stephen Dillane, Juliet Rylance, Ron Cephas Jones and Christian Camargo.