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Mitchell Helms NT Beauty & Beast, Hall's Night

The National Theatre today (23 September 2010) announced the productions in their new booking period, with Katie Mitchell returning to direct a production of Beauty and the Beast following the success of her The Cat in the Hat at the National last Christmas. Also confirmed were dates and casting for Alan Ayckbourn's Season's Greetings directed by Marianne Elliott and Peter Hall's production of Twelfth Night.

Having directed last year's family Christmas hit, The Cat in the Hat, National Theatre associate Katie Mitchell returns to the NT Cottesloe with a devised production of Beauty and the Beast which will open on 1 December 2010 (previews from 24 November). The adaptation of the classic French fairy-tale will combine text by award winning playwright Lucy Kirkwood with movement, puppetry and video projection. Billed as "exploding with music and magic," the show will be suitable for children aged eight and up.

The cast have today been announced as Mark Arends (Cat in the Hat at the National Theatre and Old Vic), Sian Clifford (Pieces of Vincent at the Arcola), Kate Duchene (Henry VIII at Shakespeare's Globe), Kristin Hutchinson, Sean Jackson and Justin Salinger. They will work with choreographer Joseph Alford, puppet maker Matthew Robins and video designers Fifty-Nine Productions to create the piece.

A devised adaptation of the Dr Seuss children's story, Mitchell's The Cat in the Hat was the National's first major work for three to six year olds. The production transferred to the Young Vic where it ran for three months until March of this year following its limited Chritmas run at the Cottesloe.

The full cast has now been announced for the National's revival of Alan Ayckbourn's Season's Greetings will open in the NT Lyttelton Theatre on 8 December 2010 (previews from 1 December). As previously reported the cast will star Catherine Tate, Mark Gatiss, Jenna Russell and Katherine Parkinson. She is no stranger to the National Theatre however, having appeared in The Way Of The World and The Prince’s Play before her more recent BBC comedy and Dr Who roles.

Tate is joined in the all-star ensemble by Mark Gatiss whose recent credits include All About my Mother at the Old Vic and 2006 film Starter for Ten; Katherine Parkinson who will be well known as hapless manager Jen to fans of Channel 4's The IT Crowd; Jenna Russell, who recently starred in the Open Air Theatre, Regent Park's production of Into the Woods and Neil Stuke who appeared in last year's Menier Chocolate Factory production of Rookery Nook. The rest of the cast were today announced as Oliver Chris, David Troughton, Nicola Walker and Marc Wootton.

Further casting was also announced for Twelfth Night which will open in the NT Cottesloe on 18 January 2011 (previews from 11 January). Directed by Peter Hall to celebrate his 80th birthday, and starring his daughter Rebecca in her National debut, the production will run until 2 March 2011.

As previously reported by Whatsonstage.com, Simon Callow will play Sir Toby Belch with Rebecca Hall as Viola. Amanda Drew, who will play Olivia, was recently seen in the West End as the female lead in Rupert Goold's Enron. Simon Paisley Day, who recently appeared in the Noel Coward play Private Lives, takes on the role of Malvolio.

Joining them in the cast are Marton Csokas (Orsino), Charles Edwards (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), Samuel James, James Clyde, Cornelius Booth, David Ryall, Jeffry Wickham, Finty Williams, Ben Mansfield and Richard Keightley.

Also announced by the National Theatre today were full UK tour dates for Nicholas Hytner's Hamlet with Rory Kinnear in the title role and The Habit of Art with Desmond Barrit as WH Auden and Malcolm Sinclair as Benjamin Britten.

Hamlet, which opens in the NT Olivier on 7 October 2010 (previews from 30 September) will tour with its original National Theatre cast to Salford, Nottingham, Woking, Milton Keynes and Plymouth. The production will tour the UK from 8 February to 12 March 2011 before playing two nights in Luxembourg.

Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art, which originally played the NT Lyttelton from 17 November 2009 (previews from 5 November) with Richard Griffiths as poet WH Auden opposite Alex Jennings as composer Benjamin Britten, will tour the UK from 28 September with dates in Birmingham, Salford, Llandudno, Belfast, Nottingham, Leeds, and Newcastle before finishing its run in Glasgow on 27 November 2010.


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