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Eldridge, Bartlett, Agbaje & Penhall Return to Court

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The Royal Court has announced its 2012 spring-summer season, which will include new work from returning writers Bola Agbaje, Mike Bartlett, David Eldridge, Nick Payne and Joe Penhall.

There will also be new plays from first-time writers Luke Norris and Hayley Squires as part of the Young Writers Festival, a Royal Court debut from Vivienne Franzmann in her second play and co-productions with Tiata Fahodzi and Paines Plough.

In the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, David Eldridge returns to the Royal Court for the first time since Under the Blue Sky with family drama In Basildon (22 February to 24 March 2012, previews from 16 February) exploring inheritance in the heart of Essex.

Directed by artistic director Dominic Cooke, the cast features Linda Bassett, Debbie Chazen, Christian Dixon, Lee Ross, Ruth Sheen and Jade Williams.

It’s followed by a new production of Mike Bartlett’s award-winning play Love Love Love (3 May to 2 June 2012, previews from 27 April), directed by James Grieve in a co-production with Paines Plough. The play, which toured to acclaim last year following its premiere in Plymouth, looks at the baby boomer generation as it retires.

And Joe Penhall (Blue/Orange) will take a “no-holds-barred approach to childbirth” in Birthday, which runs from 28 June to 4 August 2012 (previews from 22 June), directed by Roger Michell and starring Stephen Mangan. It will be Penhall’s second play in the season following Haunted Child, which, as previously announced, opens in December starring Sophie Okonedo.

In the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Nick Payne’s fourth play Constellations (13 January-11 February 2012) will examine “quantum multiverse theory, love and honeybees”, directed by Michael Longhurst and starring Rafe Spall, who appeared in Payne’s If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet at the Bush.

It's followed by the Young Writers Festival 2012, which features two full productions from new writers under 26, as well as readings and extra events, including a morning of shorts by writers aged eight to 15.

Luke Norris’ play Goodbye to All That (23 February-17 March 2012), directed by Simon Godwin, looks at “the enduring nature of love and asks if it’s ever too late to start again”. And Hayley Squires examines violence, neglect and apathy in the wake of another young soldier’s death in Afghanistan in Vera Vera Vera (22 March-14 April 2012), which is directed by Jo McInnes.

Bola Agbaje returns to the Royal Court with the theatre’s first co-production with British African theatre company Tiata Fahodzi. Set between England and Nigera, Belong (26 April-26 May), which will be directed by Indhu Rubasingham, questions how we define our notion of home.

Vivienne Franzmann's second play The Witness (1 June-30 June 2012), also helmed by Godwin, rounds off the season with a “moral dilemma of modern ethics”.

Looking further ahead, in July 2012, award-winning director Katie Mitchell will premiere a yet-to-be-titled new project with scientist Professor Stephen Emmott, Head of Computational Science at Microsoft Research, about the future of the environment.


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