The Almeida Theatre, the intimate North London venue currently home to David Hare’s revision of Gorky’s Enemies, has announced its autumn 2006/spring 2007 season.
The first production in the new season, due to open mid-September, will be a revival of Michael Hastings’ Tom And Viv, about the passionate but volatile relationship between T. S. Elliot and Vivienne Haigh-Wood.
Having met at Cambridge, the couple marry after a whirlwind romance, but her instability soon starts to take its toll on them both.
Lindsay Posner is set to direct, following on from a previous Almeida success, his production of Moliere’s The Hypochondriac. His 2005 staging of the UK premiere of David Mamet’s Romance, also at the Almeida, was however less well received. Posner has something of a long standing creative relationship with the works of the American playwright, directing both Oleanna (with Julia Stiles) and A Life In The Theatre (with Patrick Stewart) in the West End over recent years, so it will be interesting to see how he tackles something so stylistically different.
This will be followed by a rare new work for a theatre that has recently come to favour revivals and American imports, the world premiere of Charlotte Jones’ The Lightning Play. Boasting a contemporary North London setting, the play concerns a Halloween party thrown by a celebrity ghost writer. Charlotte Jones’ most recent work in the West End was the stage adaptation of The Woman In White for Andrew Lloyd Webber; The Lightning Play will run from November to January, and be directed by Anna Mackim who was previously responsible for the hilarious Mammals at the Bush.
More new writing follows with another world premiere, that of Frank McGuinness’ There Came A Gypsy Riding. The prolific Irish playwright is best known for works such as Someone Wholl Watch Over Me recently revived at the New Ambassadors with Johnnie Lee Miller. His more recent works include Speaking Like Magpies, part of the RSC Gunpowder season, as well as the current adaptation of Phaedra at the Donmar Warehouse. There Came A Gypsy Riding concerns the McKenna family’s attempts to mark the 21st birthday of their late son Gene. It will run from January to March 2007 and be directed by Michael Attenborough, the Almeida’s Artistic Director.
Later in the year there are plans for Anthony Page (whose production of Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? starring Kathleen Turner has won rave reviews at the Apollo) to direct a new version of Ibsen’s Rosmersholm.
As well as Romance and The Hypochondriac the Almeida’s current season has also included the UK premiere of Sam Shepard’s The Late Henry Moss and a rare revival of Tennessee Williams’ pitch black comedy Period Of Adjustment. Enemies, the last production in the 05/06 season, drew a very positive response from the critics when it opened on 11 May and will run until 24 June.
Public booking for the 2006/07 season at the Almeida opens on 30 May.