News: National Theatre reveals Summer 2024 plans

The National Theatre has announced new productions for all three South Bank stages this summer: Alan Bleasdale’s Boys from the Blackstuff and Mnemonic in the Olivier theatre and The Grapes of Wrath in the Lyttelton theatre, alongside the previously announced The Hot Wing King in the Dorfman theatre. Tickets for all four productions are on sale to the public from Thursday 8 February,  

All shows will have a limited number of 6.30pm performances as part of the National Theatre’s continuing pilot. This trial follows a major piece of research undertaken by the National Theatre to understand more from audiences about their post-Covid lifestyles and habits, including varying working patterns and journey times, particularly for those living outside of London. The early evening performances offer flexibility for audiences to make the most of their evening, with more time after curtain down to eat or to travel. 6.30pm performances fall on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Olivier theatre

Forty years after Alan Bleasdale’s ground-breaking television series, and following its run at Liverpool’s Royal Court, James Graham’s (Dear England) powerful new adaptation of Boys from the Blackstuff comes to the South Bank for a limited run, directed by Kate Wasserberg (Artistic Director, Theatr Clwyd) in her National Theatre debut. In 1980s Liverpool, life is tough as Chrissie, Loggo, George, Dixie and Yosser play the game. But there is no work and no money. What are they supposed to do? Find jobs, avoid the ‘sniffers’, work harder, work longer, buy cheaper, spend less? All whilst having a laugh along the way. Cast includes George Caple, Dominic Carter, Helen Carter, Aron Julius, Nathan McMullen, Lauren O’Neil, Barry Sloane and Mark Womack with further casting to be announced.

Directed by Kate Wasserberg, the set and costume designer is Amy Jane Cook, lighting designer Ian Scott, movement director Rachael Nanyonjo, composer and sound designer Dyfan Jones, associate sound designer Kate Harvey, audio visual designer Jamie Jenkin and fight director Rachel Bown-Williams of Rc-Annie Ltd.

Playing in the Olivier theatre 22 May–8 June, with press night on 29 May.

Boys from the Blackstuff is a Liverpool’s Royal Court production by arrangement with Bill Kenwright Limited.

25 years after its first staging, Complicité’s Mnemonic returns at the National Theatre, conceived and directed by Simon McBurney (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the DeadThe EncounterStreet of Crocodiles). A body is found in the ice, and a woman is looking for her father while a man searches for his lost lover. Mnemonic is as much about origins as it is about memory and remembering what is lost. Mnemonic asks: what is our place in the natural world? How have human relationships with the environment shaped patterns of migration? Who are we and where do we come from? Cast includes Richard Katz and Kostas Philippoglou with further casting to be announced.

Directed by Simon McBurney, the set designer is Michael Levine, costume designer Christina Cunningham, lighting designer Paul Anderson, sound designer Christopher Shutt, video designer Roland Horvath, casting director Alastair Coomer CDG, associate director Christina Deinsberger and associate set designer Peter Butler

Playing in the Olivier theatre 22 June–10 Aug, with press night on 2 July.

Mnemonic is a co-production with Complicité.

Lyttelton theatre

Frank Galati‘s Tony Award-winning adaptation of John Steinbeck’s masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath is directed by Carrie Cracknell (Julie, The Deep Blue Sea). Forced to travel west in search of a promised land, the Joad family embark on an epic journey across America in the hope of finding work and a new life in California. Cast includes Cherry Jones with further casting to be announced.

Directed by Carrie Cracknell, the set designer is Alex Eales, costume designer Evie Gurney, lighting designer Guy Hoare, composer Stuart Earl, staff director Georgia Green and casting by Alastair Coomer CDG and Naomi Downham.

Playing in the Lyttelton theatre 17 July–14 September, with press night on 25 July.

Dorfman theatre

Katori Hall’s (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, The Mountaintop) Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy The Hot Wing King makes its UK debut in a fiery new production directed by Roy Alexander Weise (‘Master Harold’… and the boys, Nine Night). Things are heating up in Memphis as the annual Hot Wing Festival rolls into town. With their sights set on the crown, Cordell, his partner Dwayne and friends Isom and Big Charles team up again as the New Wing Order, with a new attitude and a mouth-watering new wing recipe. But after an unexpected family emergency, their plans get derailed as the men navigate the meaning of love, family and staying true to yourself. Cast includes Kadiff Kirwan with further casting to be announced.

Directed by Roy Alexander Weise, the set and costume designer is Rajha Shakiry, lighting designer Joshua Pharo, composer Femi Temowo, sound designer Elena Peña, choreographer DK Fashola, casting director Jacob Sparrow, dramatherapist Samantha Adams and dialect coach Hazel Holder.

Playing in the Dorfman theatre 11 July–14 September, with press night on 18 July.

National Theatre Learning

This summer, young people from across the UK will take over the Dorfman theatre as the 29th National Theatre Connections Festival returns from 25 to 29 June. Ten new plays from exciting contemporary writers, including Luke BarnesMojisola Adebayo and Yasmeen Khan, will be staged by ten youth theatre groups from across the UK. Over 7,000 young people from Pitlochry to Plymouth are taking part in Connections this year.

The New Views Festival also returns in July. The winning play of the National Theatre New Views playwriting competition for young people will be staged as part of the festival, alongside rehearsed readings from shortlisted writers. New Views sees over a thousand young people writing original scripts inspired by their own experiences. Further details to be announced.

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