Francesca Annis will play matriarch Mrs Conway in JB Priestley’s 1937 “time play” Time and the Conways, which will mark director Rupert Goold’s National Theatre debut, opening on 5 May 2009 (previews from 28 April) in rep in the NT Lyttelton (See News, 10 Nov 2008).

Annis was seen in the West End earlier this year, along with Catherine Tate, in David Eldridge’s Under the Blue Sky. Her other myriad stage credits include Epitaph for George Dillon, Blood, Shoreditch Madonna, Henry IV, The Vortex, Ghosts, Mrs Klein and the Hackney Hamlet with Ralph Fiennes. She’s recently been seen on screen in Cranford.

The first Priestley play revived at the NT since Stephen Daldry’s multi award-winning 1992 production of An Inspector Calls, Time and the Conways centres on another seemingly golden family and, from the perspective of daughter Kay’s 21st birthday in 1919, shuttles into their future and back again to see where the seeds of their downfall were planted. Also confirmed for the cast is Adrian Scarborough.

Since winning a hat trick of Best Director awards for last year’s Patrick Stewart-led Macbeth, Goold has remained busy with productions including Six Characters in Search of an Author, No Man’s Land and the upcoming Oliver! in the West End.


In other National Theatre casting updates:

  • Toby Jones (pictured) – who won a 2002 Olivier Award for The Play What I Wrote and has since had success on screen with the likes of Infamous, City of Ember, Frost/Nixon and W - will return to the stage to play Ivanov in the revival of Tom Stoppard and Andre Previn’s 1977 “play for actors and orchestra” Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, opening in the NT Olivier on 26 January 2009 (previews from 12 January). A dissident is locked up in an asylum with a real lunatic who thinks he’s surrounded by an orchestra. Punchdrunk’s Felix Barrett and NT associate director Tom Morris direct the co-production with Southbank Sinfonia orchestra. Joseph Millson plays Alexander.

  • Michelle Dockery – who played Eliza in Peter Hall’s production of Pygmalion, which transferred to the Old Vic this past summer – joins Ciaran Hinds and Rory Kinnear in Peter Flannery’s new stage adaptation of the 1994 Oscar-winning Russian film Burnt by the Sun (Utomlyonnye solntsem), which receives its world premiere, directed by Howard Davies, opening in the NT Lyttelton on 3 March 2009 (previews from 24 February).

  • And in the NT Cottesloe, Anastasia Hille takes the title role in James Macdonald’s new production of the 16th-century classic Dido, Queen of Carthage, Christopher Marlowe’s first play, which opens on 24 March 2009 (previews from 17 March). Hille’s previous NT credits include Waves, Women of Troy, A Dream Play and The Oresteia.

    - by Terri Paddock