Anna Karenina director Joe Wright is to stage A Season in the Congo at the Young Vic next summer, starring acclaimed actor Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Wright, whose Oscar-nominated film Atonement and Pride & Prejudice both starred Keira Knightley, will first direct another play, Arthur Wing Pinero’s Trelawny of the Wells at the Donmar Warehouse in spring 2013. It will be his London stage debut.
Congo, which opens at the Young Vic in July, is by the great Martinique poet and politician Aimé Césaire. It tells the story of a vibrant nation's turbulent first year of freedom.
Ejiofor will play Patrice Lumumba, one of the key figures in the liberation of colonised nations. Like Wright, the Children of Men and Dirty Pretty Things actor is better known for his contributions to film.
It will be Ejiofor’s first return to the stage since winning an Olivier award in 2008 for his Othello at the Donmar Warehouse.
Despite never having directed a play at a London theatre, Wright is no stranger to the world having been brought up at the Angel Theatre where his parents worked.
Congo is part of the Young Vic’s 2013 season announced this morning, which will also include Feast, written by five Yoruba-speaking playwrights and directed by Rufus Norris, and two Ibsens - the return of Carrie Cracknell’s A Doll’s House, and David Harrower’s reworking of Public Enemy, directed by Richard Jones.
Children’s theatre group Fevered Sleep return with their first play for adults since On Ageing, called Above Me The Wide Blue Sky. Kathryn Hunter will direct My Perfect Mind, a true life tale about (and starring) the actor Edward Petherbridge.