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
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished

TV reviewGrace Dent: Jimmy McGovern's new drama sheds light on sex slavery in the colonies

Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
music
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl
filmFirst look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month
TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel
film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
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.

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable