Today we announce the Almeida Theatre’s Spring 2020 season:
The return of Mike Bartlett’s acclaimed Albion for a four week run, with Victoria Hamilton reprising her award-winning performance.
The world premiere of Beth Steel’s new play The House of Shades, directed by Blanche McIntyre.
Almeida Artistic Director Rupert Goold said: “When we first produced Albion a year after the EU referendum, it caught a moment fraught with uncertainty about the future direction of the country. Now, two years later, we face a new moment of juncture, with our country and national identity fracturing along the fault lines of that fateful vote in new ways every week. Returning to the garden of Albion, I find Mike Bartlett’s play resonates with an entirely different tone and, with Victoria Hamilton, whose performance as Audrey is one of the finest in my tenure at the Almeida, agreeing to return, it feels important to bring it back, the first production we have revived.
“Alongside Albion, we present two new voices to Almeida audiences – Jeremy O. Harris has been generating major waves on Broadway with Slave Play and now makes his UK debut with “Daddy”, his brave and brilliant exploration of intimacy and power, mentorship and identity in the glamorous retreats of the LA art world. And Beth Steel, already recognised as one of the country’s most ambitious political writers, gives us her new play The House of Shades, whose ghost-filled story charts the journey of a single family over half a century of social and economic change, as the Labour movement they inherited crumbles and reforms around them.
Also announced today is the launch of the Genesis Almeida New Playwrights, Big Plays Programme, and a new Resident Designers scheme.
The Genesis Almeida New Playwrights, Big Plays Programme is a new annual scheme that supports emerging and mid-career writers to develop new plays for larger stages. The first cohort of seven writers is Kendall Feaver, Sami Ibrahim, Charley Miles, Amy Ng, Imam Qureshi, Sam Steiner and Ross Willis. More info here.
The Resident Designers scheme will offer Sound Designers and Set/Costume Designers in the early stage of their careers an opportunity to develop their skills with the support of our Artistic and Production teams. The Almeida is grateful to Universal Music and John and Sarah McNeil for its support of the programme. The Resident Designers include Beth Duke, Catherine Hawthorn, Fizz Margereson, Finlay Forbes Gower, Amy Hayden-Wason and Charley Ipsen. More info here.
Rupert Goold: I'm really excited to be announcing this 2020 season. Two wonderful new plays: Jeremy O. Harris's "Daddy" and Beth Steel's The House of Shades, and before those the first revival we've done in my time at the Almeida which is a return to the garden with my Mike Bartlett's Albion.
Jeremy O. Harris: My name is Jeremy O. Harris and I wrote the play "Daddy". "Daddy" is a melodrama, it's sort of in the tradition of 19th century melodrama. It's about an intergenerational interracial relationship between a man of a certain age who collects art and his 26 year old artist and muse.
Rupert Goold: It's one of the most breathtaking stagings of anything I've ever seen but above all Jeremy's voice is unbelievably rare.
Beth Steel: I'm Beth Steel and I wrote The House of Shades. The House of Shades tells the story of the Webster family across three generations. It's a play that spans half a century of huge political and social change.
Rupert Goold: A play that addresses the decline or the evolution of the labour movement particularly in the north
Beth Steel: It's a haunted play and at its centre is the character of Constance Webster, like a spider weaving a web.
Rupert Goold: This play, The House of Shades, I think is her masterpiece so far.
Albion is a play about a woman who buys a house with a garden and wants to restore it to its former glory. It contains maybe one of the best performances we've had at the Almeida in my time, Victoria Hamilton who went on to win awards for her role as Audrey.
Above all though, Albion is also a play about a divided country. It's not explicitly a play about Brexit but Brexit does sit under it. The main reason we wanted to bring it back was to look at how the play's meaning had evolved in the crazy years we've had since the referendum. Now I think it is more profound and even more moving