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National Theatre set to reopen in October with new Clint Dyer and Roy Williams play

Giles Terera will star in the play, which is a follow up to Dyer and Williams' Death of England

Roy Williams, Giles Terera and Clint Dyer
© Helen Murray

The National Theatre has revealed plans to reopen in late October with a new play in the Olivier space.

Entitled Death of England: Delroy and written by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams, the solo piece will star award-winning actor Giles Terera (Hamilton, Rosmersholm). It is a follow-up to Dyer and Williams' 2020 play Death of England, which ran earlier this year in the venue's Dorfman space and was performed by Rafe Spall.

The upcoming show, which is yet to reveal running dates or ticket details, was commissioned by the NT's new work department at the start of lockdown, and has been written over the subsequent five months. Delroy focusses on a different character mentioned in the original Death of England – telling the story of a Black working-class man arrested on his way to hospital.

Dyer and Williams said: "There's a moment in Death of England at his father's funeral where Michael tells Delroy, 'you may act like us and talk like us, but you will never be one of us'. In telling Delroy's story, we hope to take audiences on an illuminating journey into the Black British psyche and realities of a 'tolerant' England in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement."

Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre said: "This week Death of England: Delroy will have its first workshop as we finally, carefully open the doors of the theatre to artists and put in place plans to start live performance again this autumn. Clint Dyer and Roy Williams have delivered another explosive piece of work; set during lockdown and charting its own fearless and provocative course through the same subjects as its prequel, and a very English reflection of the Black Lives Matter movement.

"It is so important for us to be welcoming artists back into the building again, and planning for doing the same for our much-missed audiences. The moment the incomparable Giles Terera steps out on the Olivier stage at that first performance will be an incredible one, and I'm thrilled to be reopening our theatre with such an important and timely piece of work."

The piece will have set and costume design by Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey and ULTZ, with lighting design by Jackie Shemesh and sound design by Pete Malkin and Ben Grant. Safety measures for the audiences are also to be confirmed.

The news comes as the government gives the green light to socially distanced indoor performances – as revealed yesterday evening. Indoor socially distanced shows, including the Bridge Theatre's new season, the Southwark Playhouse revival of The Last Five Years and the world premiere of the Sleepless musical, based on Sleepless in Seattle, as well as The Mousetrap in the West End, can all now go ahead.

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