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15 new plays from around the UK

A selection of interesting shows over the next few months in British theatre

Ocean at the End of the Lane, one of the plays making its premiering this autumn

The summer's over, it's getting chillier and it's time to get some theatre booked in! We round up some of the most exciting new plays that will be causing a stir over the next few months.

A Very Expensive Poison:

Reece Shearsmith, Tom Brooke and MyAnna Buring
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

One of the most controversial and disturbing murder cases in British history, the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko is brought to the stage in Lucy Prebble's reimagining of the 2006 events. This promises to be an ominous tale of espionage staged in the heart of London but with far wider international implications. The Old Vic, 20 August to 5 October.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein:


Scottish writer Rona Munro has adapted Mary Shelley's gothic text for the stage in this unique dramatisation of a literary classic. Shelley was only 18 when she wrote Frankenstein and Munro's adaptation places the young writer herself amidst the action with Frankenstein and his monster. This production is set to tour the UK over the autumn/winter season. UK Tour, 5 September to 7 March.


Hugo Weaving (left)
© Eva Rinaldi (flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

For those after a sci-fi theatre fix, Solaris begins in a matter of days- the production aims to reflect the epic nature of space journeys whilst also exploring themes of romance and loss. A little acting stardust is scattered in the form of Hugo Weaving as a video space doctor. Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, 12 September to 5 October.

Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp:

Sarah Niles, Toby Jones and Deborah Findlay
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Offering four shorter plays over the course of an evening's entertainment, Caryl Churchill's newest production looks set to extend her reputation as one of theatre's most imaginative and disruptive playwrights. Even at the age of 81, she shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. Royal Court Theatre, 18 September to 12 October.

Rebel Music:

Rebel Music

Middle Child, a Hull-based theatre company, is bringing a show to Birmingham in September that will entice music lovers. Set against the backdrop of The National Front's growing success in 1970s Britain, Rebel Music follows three young Midlands pals who navigate a period of great upheaval, both personal and political. Birmingham Repertory Theatre, 19 September to 5 October.

The Last King of Scotland:

The Last King of Scotland rehearsal shot
(© Helen Murray)

This is a story that needs little introduction – a text that inspired an Oscar-winning film, starring James McAvoy and Forest Whitaker, which has engrossed viewers for over a decade. Playwright Steve Waters has adapted The Last King of Scotland into what looks an exciting stage production at The Crucible. The Crucible Sheffield, 27 September to 19 October.

There are no beginnings:

Julie Hesmondhalgh
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Charley Miles' new play is due to premiere at The Leeds Playhouse in October and does not appear to be for the faint-hearted. Set amidst the Yorkshire Ripper murders that terrified the North during the 1970s, There are no beginnings focuses upon the women whose lives were ruled by fear, anger and solidarity during this period. Leeds Playhouse, 11 October to 2 November.

When the Crows Visit:

Indhu Rubasingham (Director)
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Indian playwright Anupama Chandrasekhar's newest work is a harrowing exploration of the lengths to which a mother will go to protect her son. Inspired by both Norwegian Henrik Ibsen's play Ghosts and real-life events in India, this new production at the Kiln looks to be a dark and thrilling affair. Kiln Theatre, 23 October to 30 November.

Light Falls:

Light Falls
© Royal Exchange

As if Sarah Frankcom's farewell production as the Royal Exchange's artistic director needed any more hype, the iconic and indomitable Jarvis Cocker has provided the music for Simon Stephens' Light Falls. Royal Exchange Manchester, 24 October to 16 November.

The Arrival:

The Arrival

An exciting part of Lynette Linton's inaugural season as the Bush Theatre's artistic director, The Arrival is Olivier award-winning director Bijan Sheibani's (The Brothers Size, Barber Shop Chronicles, Dance Nation) debut play. Bush Theatre, 21 November to 18 January.


Jackie Sibblies Drury
(© Ali Wright 2015)

Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for drama, Fairview is a play that has garnered exceptional praise for its exploration of the relationship between race and power. This production at the Young Vic will be the first time the play has been shown to audiences outside of America. Young Vic, 28 November to 18 January.

Snow White:

© Claire Haigh / Design Joe Roberts

This production looks to be a perfect Christmas present for the entire family, as a Brothers Grimm story is performed at Bristol's Tobacco Factory, co-produced with New International Encounter and Cambridge Junction. Music, magic and humour are sure to abound in one of the best-loved fairy tales of all time. Tobacco Factory Theatres Bristol, 28 November to 19 January.

Spassky v Fischer:

Spassy v Fischer
© Hampstead Theatre

More than just a play about two of the greatest chess players of all time Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer, Tom Morton-Smith's thriller assumes continental scope: two grandmasters are used as pawns by their respective governments in a Cold War battle. Hampstead Theatre, 29 November to 18 January.


© ClnBrk

Framed over 100 scenes, Alice Birch's radical new work focuses on the impact that prison and the criminal justice system can have upon women and their families. This production aptly celebrates 40 years of Clean Break, a theatre company committed to helping female (ex) convicts both inside and outside of prison to get involved with drama. Donmar Warehouse, 11 October to 30 November.

Ocean at the End of the Lane:

Ocean at the End of the Lane

Author of celebrated novels such as Coraline and Stardust, Neil Gaiman's latest outing debuts at the National Theatre in early December. Predictably for the writer, this production looks set to be an enchanting journey filled with wonder and imagination. National Theatre, 3 December to 25 January.

Honorable mentions

Continuing a solid partnership, Annie Baker will return to the National with The Antipodes, while Breach Theatre are going festive with a new bombastic take on Joan of Leeds, about the true story of a medieval nun who goes on the run. There will be new writing galore at the Royal Court.