Almeida Theatre unveils season of revivals and new writing

Last Updated on 21 May 2021 by Showcall Editorial Team

Saoirse Ronan is set to make her UK stage debut as part of the new season at London’s Almeida Theatre including Yaël Farber’s Macbeth, a revival of musical Spring Awakening and new work

Almeida Theatre

London’s Almeida Theatre has announced its 2021/22 season including productions of the musical Spring Awakening and Macbeth and new writing by Josh Azouz and Yomi Ṣode.

The shows feature actors such as Saoirse Ronan, James McArdle, Adrian Lester, Danny Sapani, Amara Okereke and Laurie Kynaston and acclaimed directors including Blanche McIntyre, Yaël Farber, Miranda Cromwell and the theatre’s artistic director, Rupert Goold.

In line with any Covid restrictions, the building will reopen next month for the world premiere of And Breathe…, a live theatrical adaptation of poems from Manorism, the forthcoming collection by Nigerian British writer and performer Yomi Ṣode.

It will be performed by David Jonsson, with music composed and performed live by Femi Temowo. It is directed by Miranda Cromwell who was director of the Young Vic’s award-winning Death of a Salesman. It runs from 16 June to 10 July.

Critically acclaimed new play Hymn by Lolita Chakrabarti will have its live stage premiere from 16 July to 13 August after being streamed online in February. Exploring what it means to be a good father, brother or son, it will again star Adrian Lester and Danny Sapani.

It is directed by Blanche McIntyre, with set and costume by Miriam Buether, lighting by Prema Mehta, sound by Gregory Clarke, musical direction by DJ Walde and movement direction by Robia Milliner.

The world premiere of Josh Azouz’s Once Upon a Time in Nazi-Occupied Tunisia will run from 21 August to 18 September. Set in a labour camp in Tunisia in 1943, it is a “brutally comic new play about home and identity, marriage and survival, blood and feathers”.

Directed by Eleanor Rhode, it is the latest work from the writer of The Mikvah Project at London’s Orange Tree Theatre and Yard Theatre and Buggy Baby at the Yard Theatre.

James McArdle and Saoirse Ronan will star in Yaël Farber’s new production of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth from 25 September to 20 November.

With acclaimed Scottish actor and Olivier Award nominee McArdle as Macbeth, Ronan will be making her UK stage debut in the role of Lady Macbeth. She made her Broadway debut, as Abigail Williams in The Crucible, in 2016 and has been nominated for four Oscars in a film career that includes Atonement, Lady Bird, Brooklyn, and Little Women.

Farber’s most recent work includes Hamlet at St Ann’s Warehouse in New York City, Blood Wedding at the Young Vic, Knives in Hens at the Donmar Warehouse and Les Blancs at the National Theatre.

Much-loved modern musical Spring Awakening receives its first London revival since it first burst onto the London stage in 2009. Based on the classic play by Frank Wedekind, it features music by Duncan Sheik and book and lyrics by Steven Sater. It won the Tony and Olivier awards for best musical.

Directed by Rupert Goold, the revival will run at the Almeida from 30 November to 22 January with a cast including Amara Okereke as Wendla and Laurie Kynaston plays Melchior. Further cast are still to be announced.

The latest season will be completed by The Key Workers Cycle – a collection of plays by Francesca Beard, Sonali Bhattacharyya, Josh Elliott, Annie Jenkins, Eno Mfon, Nessah Muthy, Danusia Samal, Yomi Ṣode, and Molly Taylor.

Created in partnership with All Change and Clean Break, it comprises nine short plays celebrating the humour, the hope and the stories of those who keep our daily lives running – echoing the medieval mystery plays that brought together communities of craftsmen and merchants to act out the stories of famous miracles.

Drawing on the surrounding area of Islington, it will be performed by a company of professional actors, local community participants and key workers, running from 31 January to 5 February 2022.

The cycle includes The Social Care Workers’ Play by Francesca Beard, The Teachers’ Play by Sonali Bhattacharyya, The Funeral Directors’ Play by Josh Elliott, The Delivery Drivers’ Play by Annie Jenkins, The Women’s Centre Workers’ Play by Eno Mfon, The Midwives’ Play by Nessah Muthy, The Refuse Collectors’ Play by Danusia Samal, The Supermarket Workers’ Play by Yomi Ṣode and The TFL Workers’ Play by Molly Taylor.

Productions will be filmed and released digitally where possible.

Previously postponed productions of Jeremy O Harris’ “Daddy”: A Melodrama, Beth Steel’s The House of Shades and Carmen Nasr’s The Maladies will be staged in 2022.

Goold said: “Although still battered and bruised by the last 14 months, and keenly aware that many within this industry continue to suffer as a result of the pandemic, this announcement today feels like an exhalation and moment to pay tribute to the endurance and creativity shown by so many friends and colleagues.

“We’re announcing six new productions, including three world premieres – four if you include Hymn which plays to in-person audiences for the first time – plus two classic revivals, and a list of writers, directors and actors who are largely new to the Almeida.

“As with our brief re-opening to audiences in December last year, considerable work has gone into ensuring that the theatre is safe and in line with the latest Covid government guidelines, including upgraded fresh air ventilation. We will initially go on sale with social distancing in place and this will be reviewed as the government guidelines change.

“It’s particularly exciting to announce Almeida For Free performances across the whole season, with all tickets for those performances available for free to anyone 25 and under, alongside our long-standing commitment of £5 tickets for those aged 25 and under across all runs.

“I want to thank everyone that has supported us since we first closed the theatre in March 2020. We wouldn’t be here without you. We can’t wait to fully open again as a theatre for London and Islington and are delighted that we can pay tribute to some of our extraordinary local residents in January 2022 with The Key Workers Cycle. Over the coming months we will be recruiting local community participants to get involved with the production.”

About Mark Ludmon 318 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre, hospitality and drinks after starting in regional daily newspapers. He has an MA in early modern literature and history, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and a theatre studies MA from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He is a former panellist for the Olivier Awards. He tweets at @MarkLudmon.