Theatre News

Joseph Fiennes to star as Gareth Southgate in James Graham play at the National Theatre

The world premiere piece opens this summer

James Graham and Joseph Fiennes
James Graham and Joseph Fiennes
© Right: Gary William Ogle

James Graham is heading back to the National with a brand-new play about Gareth Southgate.

Titled Dear England, the piece follows Gareth Southgate as he is tasked with the mammoth task of transforming the men's national football team.

Graham explained today: "To tell this story of the national game on the stage of the National Theatre is just the greatest thrill, if an intimidating responsibility. The experience of working on This House at the National Theatre ten years ago changed my life as an emerging writer. Now, with Dear England, to be given the opportunity to shine a light on another public institution in the form of the England men's football team is, I know, an exciting opportunity.

"What Gareth Southgate has attempted in his quiet cultural reform of England football I find epic and deeply moving. And I'm so grateful to be surrounded by some of British theatre's most exciting creative talent to unite around this new show."

Director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris said: "I am delighted to be welcoming James Graham back to the National Theatre this summer with his new play. Dear England is a captivating examination into the complex psychology of the much loved 'beautiful game'."

Joseph Fiennes (The Handmaid's Tale) will take on the role of Southgate in this new play, with further casting to be revealed.

The production will also see Graham reunite with director Rupert Goold after the pair's work on Tammy Faye and Ink, while the creative team also includes set designer Es Devlin, costume designer Evie Gurney, lighting designer Jon Clark and video designer Ash J Woodward.

The play is set to run in the Olivier Theatre at the National from 10 June to 11 August, with tickets on sale on 9 March.

The venue today also revealed plans to transfer its hit production of The Crucible into the West End.