Season of World Premieres at Hampstead Theatre

10 January 2011

Three new plays at Hampstead Theatre, London from 16 April 2011 – 18 June 2011

The RSC announces further details of its three new plays at Hampstead Theatre as part of a Season of World Premieres running for 10 weeks

16 April – 18 June 2011

  • Little Eagles by Rona Munro, directed by Roxana Silbert
  • Silence by David Farr and Filter, directed by David Farr
  • American Trade by Tarell Alvin McCraney, directed by Jamie Lloyd

Little Eagles

16 April – 7 May 2011

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first orbit around the earth, Little Eagles by Rona Munro is the story behind the battle for military supremacy and the competitive fury of the Cold War. Written from a wholly new angle, the play reveals how Sergei Korolyov, chief designer and unsung hero of the Soviet space programme, struggled to meet the military demands of his ruthless political masters, Khrushchev and Brezhnev, whilst devoting as much time as possible to the space programme. And it shows how he was forced to risk the lives of his pilots, his beloved 'little eagles', including Gagarin, the first cosmonaut, whose achievement amazed and delighted the world.

Little Eagles presents a riveting portrait of a flawed genius, and in doing so brings this fascinating and little-known story vividly to life.

It is directed by RSC Associate Director Roxana Silbert. The play was developed in association with Davidson College in the USA.

Rona Munro has written extensively for stage, film, radio and television including Iron (Traverse Theatre Edinburgh and Royal Court), The Last Witch (Edinburgh International Festival) and Ladybird Ladybird directed by Ken Loach.

Cast includes: Charles Aitkin, Joseph Arkley, Brian Doherty, Darrell D'Silva, Noma Dumezweni, Dyfan Dwyfor, Phillip Edgerley, Greg Hicks, James Howard, Ansu Kabia, Debbie Korley, John Mackay, Sandy Neilson, Peter Peverley, Oliver Ryan, Hannah Young, Samantha Young.

The production is designed by Ti Green with lighting by Chahine Yavroyan. Music and Sound by Ben and Max Ringham. Movement is by Ayse Tashkiran.

Silence

12 – 28 May 2011

The second RSC show at Hampstead Theatre is Silence – a devised production created by Filter and David Farr.

Left alone in an unfamiliar land, Kate struggles to silence the noises in her head and begins to question her own sanity. In London Michael listens carefully to a conversation recorded twenty years ago. Can he hear a third silent person on the tape?

From urban noise to rural emptiness, through rationalism to spirituality, from Russia to the UK, Silence is the latest collaboration between the celebrated theatre company Filter and David Farr. Filter's unique collaborative language creates rich stories that awaken the imaginative sense of an audience. Their previous work includes Twelfth Night for the RSC, Water co-created with David Farr, Three Sisters for the Lyric Hammersmith, and Caucasian Chalk Circle for the National Theatre.

Cast includes: Christine Entwisle, Mariah Gale, Paul Hamilton, Richard Katz, Jonjo O'Neill, Patrick Romer and Katy Stephens.

The RSC cast will be joined by Oliver Dimsdale and Ferdy Roberts from Filter.

The production is designed by Jon Bausor with lighting by Jon Clark. Music and Sound are by Tim Phillips

American Trade

2 - 18 June 2011

American Trade, which rounds off the season, is a feisty new play by the RSC's Playwright in Residence, Tarell Alvin McCraney.

When things get a little too hot for him in New York, good-looking, charismatic hustler Pharus escapes the clutches of rap star Jules and moves to London, where he sets up an escort business under the guise of a model agency.

American Trade is a funny, uncompromising and outspoken play about survival, which challenges assumptions about racial and sexual identity. It is also a celebration of 21st century London in all its extravagant, confusing and dynamic diversity. The play will be directed by Jamie Lloyd.

The production is designed by Soutra Gilmour with lighting by Neil Austin, Music and Sound by Ben and Max Ringham. Movement is by Ann Yee.

Cast includes: Adam Burton, David Carr, Geoffrey Freshwater, Gruffudd Glyn, Kathryn Hunter, Tunji Kasim, Debbie Korley, Dharmesh Patel, David Rubin, Sophie Russell, Simone Saunders, Peter Shorey, Clarence Smith, James Traherne, James Tucker, Larrington Walker, Kirsty Woodward, Hannah Young and Samantha Young.

Tarell Alvin McCraney was the RSC/ CAPITAL CENTRE Warwick International Playwright in Residence in 2009-2010 and is a writer, director and performer. For the RSC he co-edited and directed the Young People's Shakespeare production of Hamlet, which plays in the RSC's London Season at the Roundhouse this winter. His plays include Wig Out, The Brother/Sister Plays trilogy (In the Red and Brown Water, The Brothers Size, Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet) Choir Boy, Again and Again, A Meditation on Antigone and The Breach. Tarell was the recipient of London's Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright 2008, the inaugural New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award 2009 and the 2009 Steinberg Award.

During the same ten weeks Hampstead Downstairs will present two under-the-radar premieres of new work. For further information about these plays please contact Clióna Roberts on 020 7704 6224 / cliona@crpr.co.uk or Sharon Kean on 020 7354 3574 / sharon@keanlanyon.com

RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd said: “When Ed Hall invited us to return to Hampstead it was perfect timing for us. These three plays are the fruit of long and sustained relationships with Rona, Tarell and Filter and will be the final project for the RSC Ensemble. Two and a half years of playing together in Stratford and London, in Shakespeare and in contemporary Russian work, has prepared the Ensemble perfectly for this season.”

All three plays will be performed by the current RSC Ensemble who are currently performing in the season of Shakespeare plays at the Roundhouse which opened on 30 November 2010 and runs until 5 February 2011.

Roxana Silbert is RSC Season Director for Hampstead 2011.

She said: “I loved working at Hampstead last year on David Grieg's Dunsinane. It feels good to be returning to Ed Hall's re-invigorated space. There's also an extraordinary vitality about this spring at the RSC and I am thrilled to be curator of this season of work at Hampstead. The acting company have been closely involved in the development of these plays over the last two years and so bring a sense of anticipation and fearlessness with them to the rehearsal room.”

Hampstead Theatre Artistic Director Edward Hall said “I am delighted to welcome the RSC back to Hampstead, and to be creating this ground breaking season of World Premieres with Roxana Silbert. This thrilling new venture includes five major new works from some of the leading voices in theatre today over a ten week period”.

RSC Events

Director live web chats

In these 40 minute online discussions, this is the chance to put questions to the creative teams behind this season of new work. See the play, then post comments and questions via Twitter, Facebook or the RSC website, and then log on to a live web chat to hear responses from the teams. The forum will remain open throughout the season so the discussion can continue about the plays at any time.

Little Eagles Saturday 23 April, 6pm

Silence Saturday 21 May, 6pm

American Trade Saturday 11 June, 6pm

Meet the authors
A panel discussion with Rona Munro, Filter and Tarell Alvin McCraney
Hosted by Jeanie O'Hare, RSC Company Dramaturg
Tuesday 3 May, 6 –7pm
Embassy Theatre, Central School of Speech & Drama
Tickets £3.50
An opportunity to hear about three distinct processes of creating new work at the RSC: from Rona Munro who has developed her work with the acting ensemble; from Filter about the devising process for Silence and from Tarell Alvin McCraney, our embedded writer in residence. Organised in partnership with Central School of Speech & Drama, as one of the Authoring Theatre events.

Adelaide Road

To celebrate the RSC London residences at Hampstead Theatre and the Roundhouse, Adelaide Road takes the road that links the two theatres as inspiration for an exciting new participatory project. Inspired by Shakespeare's As You Like It, poet in residence Aoife Mannix will work with local communities in Camden as they explore themes of exile, home and community. You will be able to follow the story of Adelaide Road through a digital map at www.rsc.org.uk/adelaideroad that will be launched in May 2011, and audiences will be able to access the project through an iPhone app.

See www.rsc.org.uk/events for more details of all RSC Events throughout the season.

RSC productions at Hampstead Theatre at a glance:

Little Eagles

By Rona Munro

An RSC commission

Directed by Roxana Silbert

Previews from Saturday 16 April 2011

Press Night: Thursday 21 April 2011, 7pm

Silence

Created by Filter and David Farr

Directed by David Farr

Royal Shakespeare Company in association with Filter

Previews from Thursday 12 May 2011

Press Night: Wednesday 18 May 2011, 7pm

American Trade

By Tarell Alvin McCraney

An RSC commission

Directed by Jamie Lloyd

Previews from Thursday 2 June 2011

Press Night: Wednesday 8 June 2011, 7pm

Booking information

Hampstead Theatre Box Office: 020 7722 9301 or http://www.hampsteadtheatre.com/

In person: Hampstead Theatre, Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage, London NW3 3EU

The RSC's 16-25 Year old £5 ticket offer is available during this season.

For further information on the RSC plays at Hampstead, please contact Philippa.harland@rsc.org.uk or 020 7845 0512

Notes to Editors:

  • April 12 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first orbit around the Earth. The character of Gagarin is included in Rona Munro's play Little Eagles.
  • April 2011 also marks the 50th birthday of the RSC and a new season of plays in Stratford-upon-Avon.
  • In spring 2010 the RSC performed David Greig's Dunsinane and Dennis Kelly's The Gods Weep at Hampstead Theatre. The National Theatre of Scotland is now presenting Dunsinane in association with the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh and will perform in the Swan theatre in Stratford from 15 June – 2 July after receiving its Scottish premiere in May 2011.
  • The RSC's 2011 New Work at Hampstead Theatre is generously supported by THE BLAVATNIK FAMILY FOUNDATION
  • The RSC Ensemble is generously supported by THE GATSBY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION and THE KOVNER FOUNDATION
  • The RSC Literary Department is generously supported by THE DRUE HEINZ TRUST
  • RSC London Education partner 2011 – THE NOMURA CHARITABLE TRUST

Director biographies

Roxana Silbert is an Associate Director at the RSC. For the RSC she has directed Dunsinane by David Greig, which the National Theatre of Scotland will revive and tour in 2011, Brixton Stories by Biyi Bandele and the RSC's first play on Twitter – Such Tweet Sorrow. Previously she worked with Rona Munro on Iron (Traverse/Royal Court) and Long Time Dead (Paines Plough/Plymouth Theatre Royal/Traverse). She was previously Artistic Director of Paines Plough (2005 - 2009), Literary Director at the Traverse Theatre and Associate Director at the Royal Court Theatre. Recent theatre credits include The Comedy of Errors at the Manchester Royal Exchange. With Paines Plough her directing credits include Orphans and After The End, both by Dennis Kelly, Roaring Trade by Steve Thompson, Dallas Sweetman by Sebastian Barry, Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat by Mark Ravenhill, Strawberries in January by Evelyne de las Chenliere and two seasons of Play, Pie and a Pint including Being Norwegian by David Greig.

David Farr is an Associate Director of the RSC. For the RSC he has directed King Lear and The Winter's Tale with the current ensemble at the Roundhouse, and then as part of the Lincoln Center Festival 2011 in New York. For the RSC's 50th birthday season 2011, he directs Harold Pinter's The Homecoming in the Swan Theatre. He has also directed Coriolanus, Night of the Soul and Julius Caesar for the Company. With Filter he co-wrote and directed Water at The Lyric Hammersmith, which is revived at The Tricycle Theatre in January this year. David was Artistic Director of the Lyric Hammersmith from 2005 - 2009 where he also directed the 50th anniversary production of Pinter's The Birthday Party and an acclaimed version of Kafka's Metamorphosis. He also writes for film and TV, including episodes of BBC1's Spooks; and has co-written Hanna, a screenplay for Focus Features to be released in 2011 starring Saoirse Ronan and Cate Blanchett.

Jamie Lloyd is Associate Director of the Donmar Warehouse, for whom his directing credits include Passion, Polar Bears, Piaf and the forthcoming The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He has also directed Salome for Headlong, The Little Dog Laughed, Three Days of Rain (Olivier Award nomination for Best Revival) and The Lover and The Collection in the West End, and The Pride (Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement) at the Royal Court.

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