Top new plays to see in 2022
Some new work to get excited about
New writing is the backbone of our arts world – without it theatre would become staid and repetitive! So with that in mind, here are a ton of shows we're excited by in 2022.
Jackie Sibblies Drury, Nadia Latif and Tom Scutt have united before on the blisteringly unforgettable Fairview at the Young Vic. They're back in action now for the UK premiere of the 2019 play about the Jamaican-born nurse Mary Seacole.
Donmar Warehouse, from 15 April to 4 June
The Taxidermist's Daughter
Celebrated novelist Kate Mosse is leaping from page to stage with this fresh adaptation of her cherished book, which will premiere at Chichester Festival Theatre. It is a Gothic thriller that, surprisingly, is set in and around the town.
From 8 to 30 April
Jodie Comer makes her West End debut in Suzie Miller's blistering solo show, which follows a high-flying barrister who is forced to re-evaluate her life's principles.
Harold Pinter Theatre, from 15 April to 18 June
To Kill a Mockingbird
Aaron Sorkin of The West Wing tackles the biggest courtroom drama of them all with To Kill a Mockingbird – which has just confirmed its new West End run dates at the Gielgud Theatre. Bartlett Sher (of The King and I) directs, with Rafe Spall leading the cast.
From 10 March
If you haven't heard of RashDash, then that situation should change, pronto. It explores questions of having and becoming mothers, and we're unsure if there'll be a Christina Aguilera number in there.
HOME, Manchester, Tobacco Factory Theatres and Soho Theatre, from 12 May to 13 August
A project shepherded by one Mark Rylance (penned by Stephen Brown), this play follows a rather iconic doctor who battles against the medical establishment to prove that his lifesaving theories are correct. Bristol Old Vic is also finally giving Giles Terera's The Meaning of Zong its stage premiere, hurrah!
Dr Semmelweiss: Bristol Old Vic, from 20 January to 12 February
Rock / Paper / Scissors
Why write and stage one play when you can write and stage three – with the same cast! That's the bold new experiment from the ever wondrous Chris Bush, in a trio of shows at Sheffield Theatres.
From 14 June to 2 July
Florian Zeller has had a whale of a time with the big-screen success of his play The Father, so any new writing from the Frenchman is a must-see moment for UK theatre.
Hampstead Theatre, 4 February to 12 March
The White Card
Claudia Rankine's first published play is all about the invisibility of whiteness and has taken a few years to reach the UK stage – but it's now got a bumper co-production staging, produced by Northern Stage alongside Leeds Playhouse, Birmingham Rep, Soho Theatre and in association with HOME Manchester.
From April 2022
The Father and The Assassin
The National has a big crop of new writing in its 2022 programming, but we're particularly excited about this mammoth new piece by Anupama Chandrasekhar, tracing the life of radical figure Nathuram Godse.
From 12 May
The Bush has knocked it out of the park with new writing in 2021, so we expect nothing less next year. Tyrell Williams' new play, set on and around an inner-city football pitch, takes a much-needed look at modern-day gentrification.
From 16 February to 26 March
The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown's bestselling novel is being brought to the stage for the very first time, featuring a creative team led by & Juliet's Luke Sheppard. The globe-trotting tale featuring the descendants of Christ (!) is likely to be a big-budget rollercoaster.
Tour opens in Bromley on 10 January
Spike Milligan is brought to irreverent life on stage at the Watermill Theatre in this piece, penned by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman.
27 January to 5 March 2022
Lyric Hammersmith Theatre
Call us indecisive, but there's so much good stuff in the Lyric Hammersmith's 2022 season that we don't want to pick. Timberlake Wertenbaker's Brittanicus, set in Roman times, Roy Williams' new version of Hedda Gabler and a fresh, contemporary piece by Mike Bartlett. Plus it all kicks off with the world premiere of Sian Carter's Running with Lions – top notch stuff.
Dates across 2022
Ava: The Secret Conversations
Elizabeth McGovern of Downton fame is turning her hand to playwriting in this intimate insight into the life of silver screen legend Ava Gardner.
Riverside Studios, from 14 January to 16 April
Straight Line Crazy / The Southbury Child
David Hare has never shied away from writing whip-sharp new plays, and he's back at his stomping ground The Bridge Theatre with regular collaborator Ralph Fiennes in tow – all to explore the back-room politics that underpin the US state and the infamous figure of Robert Moses. Stage legend Alex Jennings will also be at the Bridge, in a co-produced world premiere The Southbury Child, which is also set for a run in Chichester.
Straight Line Crazy runs from 16 March to 18 June, The Southbury Child from 1 July to 27 August
The New Diorama has only been around for a decade but the central London venue has already left a huge mark on the global theatre scene, with productions reaching distant shores and giving a platform for mightily cool emerging artists. We're particularly excited about a few bits in the 2022 programming, including a new piece by Rhum and Clay, but Dior Clarke, Stephanie Martin and The PappyShow's latest piece about love and acceptance seems to be brimming with quiet magic.
From 8 to 19 March
The Burnt City
We've been inside (half of) the venue for the mammoth new Punchdrunk show in Woolwich, and the immersive piece looks set to be utterly spellbinding.
Woolwich Arsenal, from 22 March to 28 August
Puppetry and political satire is normally the reserve of Talking Heads, so it's exciting to see George Orwell's 20th-century masterpiece, about a group of farm animals that try to overthrow their masters, make its way to the stage. Opening on tour on 22 February at Birmingham Rep.