National Theatre to 'take risk' with The Shed's 'more experimental repertoire'

Director Nicholas Hytner today unveiled this year's NT programme with hotly anticipated shows including a four hour Eugene O’Neill play and The Light Princess

As its smallest stage closes for refurbishment the National Theatre is gearing up to host a "more experimental repertoire" in a temporary wooden shed.

A bullet-catching magician and a play about the Occupy Movement will be among the dramas showcased at The Shed as the National celebrates its 50th birthday by undergoing a £70m overhaul.

Renovations at its Cottesloe Theatre start later this month, so while it remains shut a wooden structure in the space where outdoor performances normally take place will house the third stage.

Sir Nicholas Hytner, director of the National, said: “It will be a much fuller and more experimental repertoire that we have been able to do at the Cottesloe.” 

It will offer a range of works, some running for months and others just a few days. “It will be used in a much more freewheeling fashion,” Sir Nicholas said.

The venue has 225 seats and will charge £12 and £20 for tickets.

There will be new work interspersed with overseas productions. Ben Power, associate director responsible for programming at The Shed, said the ethos was “taking what we love about the Cottesloe and encouraging risk” adding it was a “real adventure. Some of it might work, some might not”.

The programme opens in April with a play called Table developed by Rufus Norris, who directed Damon Albarn’s opera Dr Dee at the English National Opera last year. Table follows six generations of one family and the role a particular piece of furniture plays in their lives.

It is followed by Bullet Catch, which arrives from the Traverse Theatre in Glasgow, a piece about a magician written and performed by Rob Drummond. Later in the year the stage will host a new play about the Occupy Movement by Olivier Award-nominated writer Tim Price and director Polly Findlay.

The temporary structure cost £1.8m and was paid for by the profits from War Horse’s run in New York.

The Cottesloe will reopen in April next year renamed the Dorfman in honour of the Travalex founder Lloyd Dorfman who donated £10m to the National and kick started the NT Future programme. Sir Nicholas hoped The Shed would also prove a positive development for the type of plays to be staged at the Dorfman.

Sir Nicholas announced the year’s programme for the National’s other stages yesterday, and said the highly anticipated Othello starring Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear goes into rehearsal next month.

The Olivier Theatre will stage Edward II, The Amen Corner by James Baldwin and directed by Rufus Norris, with King Lear directed by Sam Mendes and starring Simon Russell-Beale coming in January 2014.

Other notable productions this year include the troubled musical The Light Princess by Tori Amos. The show is an adaptation of the 1864 fairy tale by George MacDonald. It was first announced in 2011 and scheduled to open last April, but was postponed.

The National will also put on Eugene O’Neill’s heavyweight Strange Interlude, the first time at the theatre for over three decades. While some productions have run to five and a half hours, Sir Nicholas said this version would probably be cut to a little under four hours. The play will star Anne-Marie Duff and Charles Edwards.

Sir Nicholas is also planning an event to mark the 50th anniversary in October, with a “celebration” of the company’s history.

The Society of London Theatre released figures showing ticket sales were up in 2012, which surprised some in the year of the Olympics. Sir Nicholas was not one of those surprised. “I was never in the gloom and doom party.”

He has been an advocate of support for regional theatre, and after another strong year in London, he added that theatres in the capital had an obligation to support their regional counterparts “where we can”.

Sir Nicholas has been outspoken in his criticism of the Government’s arts policy and once again called for the cuts to end. “It has been a consistent part of the case made that the more you put in, the more you get out the other end,” he said.

“I still don’t see how on one hand the acceptance that public investment in the arts is an engine of growth, I don’t see how you can accept that and not accept the argument that it is therefore worth thinking about maintaining the current level of funding.”

He added: “You’ve heard it before but I’m not going to stop saying it.”

Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Healy of The 1975 performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset

music
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Arts and Entertainment
The Clangers: 1969-1974
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

film
Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

music
Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific