Theatre News

Bryan Cranston to make UK theatre debut in new National Theatre season

The season also includes John Tiffany’s ”Pinocchio”, Rory Kinnear in ”Macbeth” and a UK tour of ”People, Places and Things”

Bryan Cranston will make his UK theatre debut
Bryan Cranston will make his UK theatre debut
© David Gordon

Bryan Cranston will make his UK debut this year in Ivo van Hove's production of Network at the National.

Cranston in the 2014 Broadway production of All the Way
Cranston in the 2014 Broadway production of All the Way
© Joan Marcus

Best known for playing Walter White in the television series Breaking Bad, Cranston will play Howard Beale in the adaptation of Paddy Chayefsky's 1976 film. Beale is a news anchor who is told he is to be fired due to bad ratings, and tells his audience that he will kill himself live on air within the week. It is well known for Beale's "I'm Mad as Hell" rant about the state of America.

It has been adapted by Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall, and will have set and lighting by Jan Versweyveld, video by Tal Yarden, costumes by An D’Huys, music by Eric Sleichim and sound design by Tom Gibbons. It will open in the Lyttelton in November 2017.

Rory Kinnear in Macbeth

Elsewhere in the season, Rufus Norris will direct Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff in Macbeth in spring 2018. The production, which is the first time Norris has directed a Shakespeare play in 25 years, will open in the Olivier as well as being broadcast to cinemas by NT Live in 2018.

It's also been announced that Duff will appear in Common when it opens in the Olivier on 6 June.

John Tiffany to direct Pinocchio

Harry Potter director John Tiffany will direct the world premiere of Disney's Pinocchio by Dennis Kelly. The show will have songs from Walt Disney's 1940 film adapted by Martin Lowe. The film featured songs such as "When You Wish Upon A Star", "I've Got No Strings" and "Give A Little Whistle". It will open in the Lyttelton in December 2017.

Playwright Annie Baker will return to the National following last year's five-star play The Flick. Her new play, John, will be directed by James Macdonald when it opens in the Dorfman in early 2018. Georgia Engel will appear in the production, with further casting to be announced.

Rory Mullarkey's new folk play Saint George and the Dragon will open in the Olivier in October. The world premiere will be directed by NT associate Lyndsey Turner, and tells the story of the knight who became a myth.

Rob Drummond will bring a new one-man show about democracy to the Dorfman. The Majority will be directed by David Overend and will open in August 2017.

Beginning, David Eldridge’s new play, will also get its world premiere in the Dorfman. Directed by Polly Findlay, it is set in north London in the early hours of the morning, and follows two people who meet after a party. It opens in October.

Amadeus will also return to the Olivier in January 2018, with Lucian Msamati will reprising his role as Antonio Salieri.

People, Places and Things to tour UK

Denise Gough (Emma) in People, Places and Things
Denise Gough in People, Places and Things
(© Johan Persson)

The National's production of People, Places and Things will open at St Ann’s Warehouse in New York in October. Denise Gough will reprise her Olivier Award-winning role as Emma. Further cast details and dates are to be announced.

The production will also tour the UK with a new cast. It begins at HOME, Manchester on 22 September before touring to Oxford Playhouse (11 to 14 October), Theatre Royal Bath (17 to 21 October), Bristol Old Vic (24 to 28 October), Exeter Northcott Theatre (31 October to 4 November), Nuffield Southampton Theatres (7 to 11 November)  and finish at Liverpool Playhouse Theatre (14 to 18 November).

Further casting for Follies

Further casting has also been announced for Follies. Josephine Barstow, Tracie Bennett, and Peter Forbes will join the previously announced cast which includes Imelda Staunton, Philip Quast and Janie Dee.

Click here to read our interview with Rufus Norris