We got to hear stories from experts and see the backstage of the opera. Very nice. I don’t speak the language of the performers but they got excited (or shy) when we drew them so we communicated with gestures. They came a long way from mainland china to perform on the festival, sleeping in hammocks under the temporary theatre that is built for the event.
Our guide - a coordinator told us many festival customs and taboos, with some of his personal ghost experiences. I couldn’t imagine the great amount of work put into holding a traditional event like this. With the lack of support from the government and sponsors, a decline in believers or people interested at all nowadays, all they can do is to keep going, for the people who still religiously or habitually attend and enjoy the festival.
The Donmar Warehouse is building a temporary theatre for an all-female Shakespeare trilogy that will see, on some days, Dame Harriet Walter performing the demanding roles of Brutus, Henry IV and Prospero back to back.
The artistic director, Josie Rourke, on Wednesday announced that the Donmar was breaking out beyond its compact Covent Garden home in London for a 13-week season of Julius Caesar, Henry IV and The Tempest in a new, purpose-built, 420-seat space next to King’s Cross station.
Rufus Norris today announced 12 productions that will be coming to the National Theatre in 2016. You can read about each production below, including Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs, directed by Yaël Farber and the return to the NT of Rory Kinnear, as Macheath in Simon Stephens’ new translation of The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.
Rufus also announced four new Associates: sound designer Paul Arditti, directors Nadia Fall and Simon Godwin, and actor Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.
Full details on the productions
Les Blancs by Lorraine Hansberry Olivier Theatre From March Yaël Farber will direct her first production for the National Theatre and also the first play by Lorraine Hansberry to be produced here. Her recent work in the UK includes The Crucible for The Old Vic, Nirbhaya at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival, and Mies Julie at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival and Riverside Studios. Travelex £15 tickets.
The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill A new translation by Simon Stephens Olivier Theatre From May Rufus Norris will direct this production, in which Rory Kinnear returns to the National. He will play Macheath. Travelex £15 tickets.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom by August Wilson Lyttelton Theatre From 2 Feb Dominic Cooke’s production will play in the Lyttelton Theatre, as previously announced. The cast will include Sharon D Clarke, O–T Fagbenle, Lucian Msamati and Giles Terera.
The Suicide by Suhayla El-Bushra, after Erdman Lyttelton Theatre From April This production, set in contemporary Britain, will be directed by Nadia Fall in the Lyttelton Theatre from April. Currently Writer in Residence at the NT Studio, Suhayla El-Bushra’s plays include Pigeons at the Royal Court, Cuckoo at the Unicorn, The Kilburn Passion at the Tricycle and Fingertips for Clean Break at Latitude; she was a core writer on the TV series Hollyoaks. Travelex £15 tickets.
The Deep Blue Sea by Terence Rattigan Lyttelton Theatre From June Carrie Cracknell returns to the NT to direct.
The Plough and the Stars by Sean O’Casey Lyttelton Theatre From July Howard Davies will direct.
Cleansed by Sarah Kane Dorfman Theatre From February Katie Mitchell directs. This will be the first production of a play by Kane at the NT.
The Flick Dorfman Theatre From April Sam Gold directs Annie Baker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Originally produced in New York by Playwrights Horizons, followed by a transfer to Barrow Street Theatre, The Flick is presented in association with Scott Rudin. Annie Baker’s plays include John, Circle Mirror Transformation and The Aliens, all directed by Sam Gold, who recently won a Tony Award for his direction of the Broadway musical Fun Home.
Sunset at the Villa Thalia by Alexi Kaye Campbell Dorfman Theatre From May Simon Godwin will direct this new play, Alexi Kaye Campbell’s NT debut.
Iphigenia in Splott by Gary Owen Temporary Theatre 27 Jan to 20 Feb The production is presented by the Sherman Cymru, following lauded runs in Cardiff and Edinburgh. It is directed by Rachel O’Riordan, with Sophie Melville recreating her award-winning performance as Effie.
The Solid Life of Sugar Water by Jack Thorne Temporary Theatre 26 Feb to 19 Mar Graeae Theatre Company’s co-production with Theatre Royal, Plymouth, highly praised at the Edinburgh Festival, comes to the Temporary Theatre, with Genevieve Barr and Arthur Hughes, again directed by Amit Sharma.
Brainstorm by Ned Glasier, Emily Lim and the company Temporary Theatre From March Islington Community Theatre’s production, which enjoyed a sell-out run earlier this year, returns to the Temporary Theatre.
Coming up in November is a set of debates in association with the Guardian, chaired by Evan Davis and Emily Maitlis, on topics including: The Red Lion and the future of football, As You Like It and living in the city, Waste and the new political age, Jane Eyre and feminism and wonder.land and the digital world.