Donmar Warehouse Announces Seasons at New King's Cross Temporary Theatre and in New York
The Donmar will break out beyond its Covent Garden home, opening a new, in-the-round, 420-seat temporary theatre at King's Cross in association with Theatre Tracks, immediately adjacent to King's Cross station and directly accessible from King's Boulevard. The Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and starring Harriet Walter in an all-female company, will play a 13-week repertory season, from 23 September to 17 December 2016, of three productions - revivals of the sell-out Julius Caesar and Henry IV and a new production of The Tempest, all set in a women's prison. On special Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy days, all three plays will be performed back to back.
YOUNG AND FREE builds on the success of the Donmar's transformative Front Row ticket scheme. All of the front row for The Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy will be free to 25s and under through the YOUNG AND FREE initiative, and tickets will be released throughout the run on a weekly basis. Support from Delta Air Lines, the Official Airline Partner of the Donmar Warehouse, alongside funding from individuals and trusts and foundations, has made possible 20% of YOUNG AND FREE tickets. The Donmar will challenge the public to make up the final 5% by 'paying forward' £20 tickets into the initiative.
As part of YOUNG AND FREE, the Donmar's Education and Outreach programme will enable 2,300 students from targeted London state schools to see these productions. Alongside these free tickets are creative projects and free workshops, targeted at schools, youth groups, community centres and organisations working with young people at risk of offending, designed to inspire and empower young people with limited experience of Shakespeare performance.
The Donmar New York Season begins with Artistic Director Josie Rourke's production of PRIVACY by James Graham, starring Daniel Radcliffe, which has just extended its run at The Public Theater (5 July - 14 August). The Broadway transfer of Christopher Hampton's LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES, starring Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber and directed by Josie Rourke, follows at The Booth Theater (8 October - 22 January 2017). The Tempest, starring Harriet Walter and directed by Phyllida Lloyd, transfers to New York's St. Ann's Warehouse in the new year (13 January - 12 February 2017).
Artistic Director Josie Rourke said: "It's exciting when the Donmar's productions have a life beyond the Donmar stage. We want to share the work made by artists on the Donmar stage and we want to do that with generosity, with resonance, and with inspiring partners. Over the next eight months, the Donmar's work will travel from the stage at the Public Theater that launched Hamilton, to The Booth Theater on Broadway, to St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn and into a purpose-built temporary theatre, right next to London's King's Cross.
"Although proud of this expansion, we're most enthused about the launch of YOUNG AND FREE. We're living in a London where half our young people don't attend a theatre, a museum or a music event each year. We want to make a quarter of Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy tickets free to those young people. We also hope that YOUNG AND FREE will inspire seasoned theatregoers to pay it forward, and we hope that young people, inspired by their generosity will walk through our doors to experience the Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy.
"I remember very clearly the furore created by the idea of an all-female Shakespeare, when Phyllida Lloyd first staged Julius Caesar with Harriet Walter in 2012. Phyllida Lloyd's work with this diverse, all-female company has been genuinely ground-breaking and in the intervening four years, theatre has got into the fast lane of debate and change. It's time, with these YOUNG AND FREE tickets to join together our question about who gets to play these roles with a renewed mission for who gets to experience them."
In 2012, Phyllida Lloyd's all-female production of Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse placed the play in a women's prison. It stunned audiences on both sides of the Atlantic and challenged the idea of 'Who owns Shakespeare?' In 2014, Phyllida reunited with actor Harriet Walter for Henry IV, the second instalment in what was then announced as a trilogy of works from these major artists.
With the Donmar's education and outreach work in London and New York, both productions proved hugely popular with young audiences and showed how powerfully Shakespeare can develop individual confidence and creativity in those who have never experienced his work before. Importantly, they challenged the notion of who owns Shakespeare and inspired women from all backgrounds.
This autumn the project will conclude with The Tempest, breaking free from the Donmar Warehouse, with a new 420-seat in-the-round temporary theatre, built at the King's Cross Theatre site, in association with Theatre Tracks.
The Tempest marks the reunion of director Phyllida Lloyd with actor Harriet Walter, who will play Prospero. They will be joined by a number of the Henry IV and Julius Caesar cast: Jade Anouka, Shiloh Coke, Jackie Clune, Karen Dunbar, Clare Dunne, Zainab Hasan,Jennifer Joseph, Sophie Stanton, Sharon Rooney, and Caroline Valdés. Others joining the company include Sheila Atim andMartina Laird.
Director Phyllida Lloyd said: "The premise was to take the most voiceless group you might imagine - women prisoners. Refugees from our culture if you like - people without any access to the internet even - and watch them electrify an audience with nothing but Shakespeare's language. Harriet's work ethic defines the whole thing. Mighty verse speaking, the utmost humility and the greatest good humour. The company will follow her anywhere."
Donmar Executive Producer, Kate Pakenham, said: "These two seasons represent our ongoing ambition to share the Donmar's work as widely as possible, and reach new audiences. As we embark on these adventures, we are hugely grateful to the many partners - artists, sponsors, theatres, schools, philanthropists, trusts and foundations, charities, producers and friends - who we are bringing together to make these seasons possible.
"Phyllida Lloyd's all-female Shakespeare productions for the Donmar ask vital questions about access to theatre and ownership of Shakespeare. With her landmark production of 'Julius Caesar' at the Donmar in 2012, we launched the hugely popular £10 Front Row scheme which made the Donmar accessible to a new generation of first-time visitors. In 2014 we took 'Henry IV' to East London's Mulberry School for Girls as part of a major education and outreach project around the production.
Young people's enthusiasm for these productions has encouraged us to launch YOUNG AND FREE for the climax of this Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy at King's Cross. The ambition is to make 25% of all tickets - including the whole front row - free to 25s and under. The initiative is a gift to young theatregoers and a celebration of the power of theatre to empower and inspire. 20% of these tickets have been funded by a combination of sponsorship and philanthropy. We are inviting the public to make up the final 5% by buying a £20 YOUNG AND FREE ticket for a young person. We are excited to share our mission to make these world-class productions free to young people in this way, and present them in such a vibrant part of London.
The Donmar's New York Season represents the range of the Donmar's artistic output under the artistic leadership of Josie Rourke. We are delighted to be working with the phenomenal team at New York's Public Theater to be creating a new production of Josie and James Graham's 2014 Donmar hit, 'Privacy'. We also very much look forward to bringing the Donmar's work back to Broadway with producer Arielle Tepper with the transfer of Josie's production of 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses' to the Booth Theater. It is wonderful to be ending the Donmar's New York Season at the beautiful St. Ann's Warehouse with Phyllida's production of 'The Tempest', where we look forward to being hosted by the inspiring team who we have worked with so happily on Phyllida's previous two productions."
Nat Pieper, Delta's senior vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: "The U.K. is a very important part of our global network and we are committed to giving back to the communities that we serve. We are proud to supporting the work of the Donmar Warehouse and to help make theatre accessible to young people in London, especially in the year that we celebrate Shakespeare's 400th anniversary."
Public booking opens on Wednesday 15 June. Booking for Donmar members begins on Tuesday 7 June. The first Young and Free tickets will be released on Friday 2 September - to register, visit www.donmarwarehouse.com
Photo credit: Holly Wren