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Full NT Casting for Art & Yes, Mitchell Adapts Hat

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The National Theatre has announced further details of its programme for October 2009 to January 2010, which features, as previously announced (See News, 14 Jan 2009), new plays from Alan Bennett and David Hare, as well as two Katie Mitchell productions in the NT Cottesloe: Ferdinand Bruckner's Pains of Youth and a reimagining of Dr Seuss's popular children's story The Cat in the Hat.

The autumn programme also features two solo shows in the Lyttelton - Brian Cox will perform Richard Nelson's monologue adaptation of Nabokov's Lolita (7, 14, 21 September), and American actor John Lithgow presents Stories by Heart, a double bill of stories by PG Wodehouse and Ring Lardner, on 19 and 26 October.

Pains of Youth, which opens on 28 October (previews from 21 October) in the NT Cottesloe, is adapted by Martin Crimp from Bruckner's original and directed by Katie Mitchell. The play is set in a boarding house in 1923 Vienna, as a “discontented post-war generation diagnose youth to be their sickness and do their best to destroy it”. The cast features Sian Clifford, Laura Elphinstone, Cara Horgan, Jonah Russell, Geoffrey Streatfeild and Lydia Wilson.

It's followed in the Cottesloe by Mitchell's newly-announced production of The Cat in the Hat, which opens on 16 December (previews from 11 December). Based on the much-loved book by Dr Seuss about the antics of a mischievous cat, the production is aimed at an audience of 3 to 6-year-olds, and is adapted by Mitchell and designed by Vicki Mortimer.

Katie Mitchell is an associate director of the National Theatre, where credits include Dream Play, The Seagull, Attempts on Her Life and The Waves. An often controversial director who has divided critics with her radical interpretations of classic texts, she was appointed an OBE in this year's New Year's Honour's list (See News, 2 Jan 2009).

Cast: Habit of Art, Power of Yes & Our Class

In the NT Lyttelton, full casting has been announced for Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art, which examines the stormy relationship between Benjamin Britten and WH Auden, imagining a meeting between the former friends, 25 years after they last saw each other, in which they are “observed and interrupted by, amongst others, their future biographer and a young man from the local bus station”.

Joining the previously announced Michael Gambon (Auden), Alex Jennings (Britten), Frances de la Tour and Adrian Scarborough (See News, 24 Apr 2009), are John Heffernan, Elliot Levey and Stephen Wight.

Also in the Lyttelton, casting has been announced for David Hare's recession drama The Power of Yes: a dramatist seeks to understand the financial crisis, which opens on 6 October (previews from 29 September). Angus Jackson will direct a cast that includes: Jasper Britton, Claire Price, Jemima Rooper, Jeff Rawle, Julien Ball, Malcolm Sinclair, Richard Cordery, Jonathan Coy, Paul Freeman, Ian Gelder, John Hollingworth, Bruce Myers, Christian Roe, Peter Sullivan, Nicolas Tennant and Simon Williams.

In the NT Cottesloe, casting has also been announced for Bijan Sheibani's production of Our Class, a new play by Tadeusz Slobodzianek, in a version by Ryan Craig, which joins the rep on 23 September (previews from 16 September). The cast comprises: Michael Gould, Tamzin Griffin, Amanda Hale, Paul Hickey, Edward Hogg, Lee Ingleby, Sinead Matthews, Rhys Rusbatch, Justin Salinger and Jason Watkins.

Other productions in the season include: in the NT Olivier, Bertolt Brecht’s 1939 polemic Mother Courage and Her Children, starring Fiona Shaw and directed by Deborah Warner (See News, 17 Jun 2009), which joins the rep on 16 September 2009 (previews from 9 September); and Mark Ravenhill’s new epic family adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s 2008 children’s novel Nation, directed by Melly Still, which opens on 24 November 2009 (previews from 11 November) and is one of several major productions being broadcast to cinemas as part of the NT Live initiative (See News, 19 May 2009).


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