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Almeida Stages Filumena, Alba, New Dunster & Pryce's Lear

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The Almeida Theatre has announced its spring 2012 season, which will feature new productions of Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba and Filippo’s Filumena (starring Samantha Spiro), as well as the world premiere of Matthew Dunster’s Children’s Children and, as previously announced, King Lear starring Jonathan Pryce.

The new season kicks off, from 26 January to 10 March 2012 (previews from 19 January), with Bijan Sheibani’s new production of Federico Garcia Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba.

Starring Iranian stage and screen actor Shohreh Aghdashloo in the title role, the production will reset the action in Iran where, following her husband’s funeral, powerful matriarch Bernarda Alba decrees to her five daughters that the household will enter a period of eight years mourning.

Bijan Sheibani is an associate director at the National Theatre where he has recently helmed Arnold Wesker’s The Kitchen as well as Greenland and Our Class.

Spiro leads Filumena

It’s followed, from 22 March to 12 May 2012 (previews from 15 March) by artistic director Michael Attenborough’s revival of Edwardo De Filippo’s Filumena, using a new version by Tanya Ronder and starring Olivier Award-winner Samantha Spiro in the title role.

In the balmy heat of late ‘40s Naples, Filumena Marturano lies on her deathbed waiting to marry Domenico Soriano, the man who has kept her as his mistress for twenty-five years. But no sooner has the priest completed the ceremony, than Filumena makes a miraculous recovery. As he reels in shock, Domenico discovers that this brilliant, iron-willed woman has a few more surprises for him.

Samantha Sprio has most recently been seen on stage at the Royal Court in Arnold Wesker’s Chicken Soup with Barley, where she was also seen in The Family Play. Her previous theatre credits include Hello Dolly, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Lady Be Good, Macbeth and The Boys from Syracuse (all for Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Twelfth Night (Donmar Warehouse at Wyndham’s Theatre) and Funny Girl for Chichester Festival Theatre.

Herrin helms Dunster’s Children

Royal Court associate director Jeremy Herrin will direct the world premiere of Matthew Dunster’s Children’s Children, which runs from 24 May to 30 June 2012 (previews from 17 May).

The play centres on Michael and Gordon, who have been best friends since acting college. Now, 20 years later, Michael is Mr Saturday Night TV but failing actor Gordon is struggling with enormous debts. So when Gordon asks Michael to lend him a large sum of money it sets in motion a series of events that reveal irreparable cracks in the characters’ relationships.

Dunster’s writing credits include a new adaptation of Saturday Night Sunday Morning, which opens at the Royal Exchange Theatre in February 2012. Previously his adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Most Incredible Thing was produced at Sadler’s Wells and his play You Can See The Hills received its world premiere at the Royal Exchange Theatre before a transfer to the Young Vic.

Pryce tackles Lear

The season closes with Michael Attenborough’s production of King Lear, starring Jonathan Pryce in the title role and running as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s World Shakespeare Festival.

Running from 11 September to 3 November 2012 (previews from 31 August), it marks a return to the Almeida for Pryce, who previously starred in Edward Albee’s The Goat or, Who is Sylvia? in 2004, which subsequently transferred to the West End.

Pryce’s myriad other stage credits include The Caretaker for Liverpool Everyman and the Trafalgar Studios, Glengarry Glen Ross at the Apollo, A Reckoning for Soho Theatre and My Fair Lady at the National Theatre and the Theatre Royal Drury Lane as well as Oliver! at the London Palladium, Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Uncle Vanya and The Seagull in the West End, Hamlet for the Royal Court, Measure for Measure at the RSC and Comedians at the Old Vic.

King Lear is part of the World Shakespeare Festival for London 2012, which will showcase the “best of the UK and international creative talents, exploring the contemporary relevance of Shakespeare”.


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