Theatre News

Ben Whishaw stars in Almeida's Greek season

Artistic director Rupert Goold has vowed to “take the Greeks out of the attic”

Ben Whishaw as Baby in Mojo
Ben Whishaw in Mojo in 2013

Ben Whishaw will star in a new version of Euripides' Bakkhai this summer as part of the Almeida's newly announced Greek season.

Whishaw, last seen on the London stage in Mojo in 2013, will play Dionysos in James Macdonald's production, which also stars Almeida returnee Bertie Carvel.

Bakkhai, which runs from 23 July to 19 September, will use a new version by Anne Carson. According to press material: "Using three actors and a chorus, [the production] will echo the original ancient Greek performance model."

The chorus will include Ameira Darwish, Eugenia Georgieva, Kaisa Hammarlund, Hazel Holder, Melanie La Barrie, Elinor Lawless, Catherine May, Louise Mills and Belinda Sykes.

Bakkhai is preceded by another classic tragedy, Oresteia, in a new version created and directed by Almeida associate Robert Icke (1984).

Kate Fleetwood and Rupert Goold
(© Dan Wooller)

Running from 29 May to 18 July it will star Lia Williams, who has previously appeared at the Almeida in Pinter's Celebration, as Klytemnestra.

Rounding off the Greek season is Medea (25 September-14 November), in a new version by feminist writer Rachel Cusk directed by Rupert Goold.

Goold, the Almeida's artistic director, will direct his wife Kate Fleetwood (London Road), making her Almeida debut in the title role.

"We are taking the Greeks out of the attic," Goold said of the new season.

"At the Almeida we strive to create theatre that asks questions of its audiences, of who they are and the world they live in, work that is alive and resonant.

"When we came to the writers of ancient Greece we wanted to be true to their plays – staging them in full complexity, presenting their formal iconoclasm, their humour, musicality, politics, violence and unswerving drama."

Running alongside the season will be a 'Greek Festival' of work in the theatre and off site, including responses, talks, readings and panels.