Donmar Warehouse Announces 2017 Autumn Programme

Donmar Warehouse Announces 2017 Autumn Programme

The Donmar Warehouse announces today two new plays for the 2017 autumn period. Internationally-acclaimed theatre artist, Yaël Farber, makes her Donmar debut directing David Harrower's haunting Knives in Hens with full casting that includes Christian Cook, Judith Roddy and Matt Ryan. This will be the play's first major London revival since its premiere in 1995, when it instantly established Harrower as one of the UK's leading playwrights.

Kwame Kwei-Armah then returns to the Donmar stage after his hit production of One Night in Miami... to direct Ibsen's masterpiece, The Lady from the Sea, in a new version by Elinor Cook. BAFTA-nominated Nikki Amuka-Bird will lead the cast, playing Ellida.

Making theatre accessible to as many people as possible is at the heart of the Donmar's mission. Knives in Hens and The Lady from the Sea will have KLAXON tickets available throughout the run: an allocation of tickets, starting from £10, put on sale every Monday for performances in the following three weeks. Tickets will be available across the auditorium at every price band.

The Donmar's YOUNG+FREE scheme, which provides free tickets to those aged 25 and under, will also continue throughout the season, with tickets released on the final Friday of every month. YOUNG+FREE is made possible thanks to donations from Donmar audiences via PAY IT FORWARD. These donations and the partnership support of Delta Airlines have allowed the Donmar to allocate almost 9,000 free tickets to those aged 25 and under over the past year.

Audiences can sign up to receive information about tickets on the Donmar's website

The Donmar Warehouse will also present Becoming: Part One, a series of workshop performances written and performed by Rosalie Craig and Michelle Terry. This unique project represents the first time a public performance has taken place in the Donmar's rehearsal space on Dryden Street in Covent Garden from Tuesday 27 June to Saturday 1 July. Tickets are on sale now.

As previously announced, the first of the Donmar's acclaimed Shakespeare Trilogy plays Julius Caesar, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and starring Dame Harriet Walter, will receive its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June, before it is broadcast in UK cinemas this summer from 12 July. Julius Caesar will be distributed by Trafalgar Releasing. Audiences can find details of their nearest screening at

Executive Producer Kate Pakenham said:

Making theatre accessible to as many people as possible remains at the heart of the Donmar's mission and we are delighted to be able to share Phyllida Lloyd's ground-breaking productions with a wider audience on screen. Julius Caesar will be screened in cinemas across the UK from 12 July, with the remaining plays in the Trilogy - The Tempest, and Henry IV - becoming available later in the year.

I am also delighted to see KLAXON and YOUNG+FREE tickets continue to grow in popularity, making sure that tickets for Donmar productions are continually made available, and free to those aged 25 and under.

YOUNG+FREE is made possible by the generosity of the public through PAY IT FORWARD. We have been delighted by the support for PAY IT FORWARD from our audiences and are excited to be working with them to prioritise young people's access to the arts. We are also grateful to the significant support we receive from corporate partners, individual philanthropists and the Arts Council which makes the Donmar's work, both on our stage and beyond, possible.

Artistic Director Josie Rourke said:

The Donmar will once again be home to stories both epic and intimate. This autumn I am delighted to bring you two exceptional plays, celebrating world-class theatre making talent.

I am delighted to welcome the hugely talented Yaël Farber, to direct at the Donmar for the first time, staging David Harrower's haunting modern classic, Knives in Hens. Yaël has assembled a terrific cast which includes Christian Cooke, Judith Roddy and Matt Ryan. This Donmar staging is the play's first major London revival since its premiere in 1995, when it instantly established David Harrower as one of the UK's leading playwrights.

Our Associate Artist Kwame Kwei-Armah will then return after his hit production of One Night in Miami... last year, to direct Ibsen's masterpiece The Lady from the Sea. Writer Elinor Cook has created a beautiful new version of the play and we are thrilled that wonderfully gifted and recently BAFTA-nominated Nikki Amuka-Bird will return to the Donmar and lead the cast, playing Ellida.

The Donmar strives to create a thriving community of artists both at our theatre in Covent Garden and at our rehearsal spaces on Dryden Street. In the next month we will host Becoming: Part One, a unique project which will present public performances at our rehearsal space for the first time. Rosalie Craig and Michelle Terry, both of whom I have had the privilege to direct at the Donmar, will share their very personal experiences of giving birth six months ago in a series of very relaxed workshop performances. This is the first part of a year-long investigation into the 'golden year' of becoming a parent.


Award-winning playwright Bruce Norris' new adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui continues The Power Season at the Donmar Warehouse, starring Lenny Henry in the title role and directed by Simon Evans.

The Power Season concludes this summer with a new musical, The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee Takes Oral Evidence on Whitehall's Relationship with Kids Company. The book and lyrics have been edited by Hadley Fraser and Josie Rourke, based on a House of Commons evidence session, and the music is by brilliant young composer Tom Deering. The piece is directed by Adam Penford and examines how civil society holds itself to account.


By David Harrower

Thursday 17 August - Saturday 7 October 2017

PRESS NIGHT: Tuesday 22 August 2017 at 7pm

Director Yaël Farber

Designer Soutra Gilmour
Lighting Designer Tim Lutkin
Sound Designer Christopher Shutt
Movement Director Imogen Knight

Cast includes Christian Cooke, Judith Roddy, and Matt Ryan

'I have no name for the thing which is in my head. It is not envy. It is more than envy. It does not scare me. I must look close enough to discover what it is.'

A ploughman and his wife live a simple existence in a pre-industrial time, until the hated locAl Miller ensnares them in a struggle of knowledge, power and attraction.

David Harrower's haunting and poetic thriller established him as one of the UK's leading contemporary playwrights. Multi-award winning director Yaël Farber brings her distinctive style to this tense, modern classic.

David Harrower (Writer) is an internationally acclaimed playwright who currently lives and works in Glasgow. Previous work includes Ciara (Traverse Theatre), A Slow Air (Tron Theatre), Good With People (Paines Plough/ Oran Mor, Traverse Theatre), Blackbird (Edinburgh International Festival), Dark Earth (Traverse Theatre), Presence (Royal Court), Kill the Old Torture Their Young (Traverse Theatre), and Knives in Hens (Traverse Theatre and Bush Theatre). Adaptations include Public Enemy, Government Inspector, Sweet Nothings, The Good Soul of Szechuan, Six Characters in Search of an Author (all Young Vic), Tales From the Vienna Woods (National Theatre), Ivanov (National Theatre), Woyzeck (Edinburgh Lyceum Theatre), (Young Vic), Mary Stuart (National Theatre of Scotland) and The Chrysalids (National Theatre, BT Connections). David's work for the screen includes the forthcoming Una, directed by Benedict Andrews. He is the winner of an Olivier Award for Best Play (Blackbird), two CATS Awards for Best Play (Blackbird, Ciara) and numerous other awards.

Yaël Farber (Director) makes her directing debut at the Donmar Warehouse with Knives in Hens. Yaël is a multi-award-winning director and playwright - her recent theatre credits includes writer and director for Salomé and Les Blancs (National Theatre), The Crucible (Old Vic), Nirbhaya (Edinburgh Fringe Festival and international tour), and Mies Julie (Riverside Studios, international tour). Her productions have toured across the USA, UK, Africa, Canada, Australia, Japan, Europe, India, The United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Hong Kong. She has been an invitee at the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab (NYC), a guest artist at Mabou Mines Theatre Company (NYC), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), The Public Theater (NYC) and The Sundance Institute Theatre lab (Utah). She was named Artist of the Year in her native South Africa in 2003.

Christian Cooke (Pony William) makes his Donmar Warehouse debut in Knives in Hens. His previous theatre work includes Experience (Hampstead). His extensive work for television includes The Art of More (Crackle/Sony), Stonemouth (BBC), The Promise (Channel 4), Witches of East End (Fox 21), Trinity (ITV), Demons (ITV), Doctor Who (BBC), Robin Hood (BBC), The Royal (ITV), The Chase (BBC), and Where the Heart is (ITV). For film his credits include Electricity, Love, Rosie, Hello Carter, Destination Wedding, Romeo & Juliet, Unconditional, Cemetery Junction and Wish.

Judith Roddy (Young Woman) makes her Donmar Warehouse debut in Knives and Hens. Recent theatre work includes The Plough and The Stars (National Theatre), A Particle of Dread (Field Day /Signature Theatre NYC), Pentecost (The Lyric Theatre), The Silver Tassie (National Theatre), Big Love and The Dandy Dolls Trilogy (Peacock Theatre, Dublin), Blackbird (Galway Arts Centre), The Wonderful World of Dissocia for Calypso and Sky Road (Theatre Royal, Waterford), Further Than the Furthest Thing and Cruel and Tender (Project Arts Centre, Dublin), The Constant Wife (Gate Theatre, Dublin), Don't Forget to Breathe (Bewley's Café Theatre, Dublin), Tales from Ovid (Theatreworks), Days of Wine and Roses, My Children My Africa for Galloglass and Viola (Classic Stage Ireland), A Whistle in the Dark and Conversations on a Homecoming (Druid Theatre Company). She has also worked extensively with theatre company Pan Pan, with productions that include All That Fall, The Seagull and Other Birds, Everyone Is King Lear, In His Own Home, A Doll House, The Rehearsal: Playing the Dane and The Importance of Nothing. Her film and television credits include The Fall, Out of Innocence, Love is the Drug and Over the Wall. Radio work includes Doctor Who and Law.

Matt Ryan (Gilbert) has previously starred in the Donmar in the West End production of Hamlet with Jude Law and directed by Michael Grandage (Wyndham's Theatre and Broadway) and Small Change by Peter Gill in 2008. Theatre work includes: Thérèse Raquin with Keira Knightley (Roundabout Theater Company); Henry V with Jude Law, directed by Michael Grandage for MGC (Noel Coward Theatre and Broadway); The Gunpowder Season: Speaking Like Magpies, Believe What You Will, A New Way To Please You and Sejanus and The Spanish Golden Age Season: Dog In A Manger, Pedro The Great Pretender and Tamar's Revenge (RSC). Television credits include: the title role in Constantine for Warner Brothers TV for NBC, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behaviour, Wild Decembers, Collision, Consenting Adults, and The Tudors. Film credits include Heart Of Lightness, 500 Miles North, Flypaper, Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day and Layer Cake.


By Henrik Ibsen

In a new version by Elinor Cook

Thursday 12 October - Saturday 2 December 2017

PRESS NIGHT: Wednesday 18 October 2017 at 7pm

Director Kwame Kwei-Armah

Designer Tom Scutt
Lighting Designer Lee Curran

Casting includes Nikki Amuka-Bird as Ellida

Ellida, the lighthouse-keeper's daughter, is trapped in her marriage and longs for the sea. When a former lover returns from years of absence, she is forced to decide between freedom and the new life she has made for herself.

Donmar Associate Kwame Kwei-Armah directs Ibsen's moving play about duty and self-determination following the Olivier Award-nominated One Night in Miami....

Nikki Amuka-Bird, recently nominated for a BAFTA Television Award for NW, returns to the Donmar as Ellida.

Nikki Amuka-Bird (Ellida) returns to the Donmar Warehouse after appearing in World Music by Steve Waters in 2004. Other theatre credits include God Bless The Child, Birdland and Love and Information (Royal Court), The Trial of Ubu (Hampstead Theatre), Welcome to Thebes (National Theatre), and Twelfth Night (Bristol Old Vic) for which she was nominated for an Ian Charleston Award. She has worked extensively in television and has a BAFTA-nomination for her role in the BBC adaption of Zadie Smith's NW. She is perhaps best known for her appearance in BBC One's Small Island, as well with other TV credits including Quarry, Denial, Inside No.9, Luther, House of Fools, Sinbad, Survivors, The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, Torchwood, Robin Hood, The Line of Beauty and Death in Paradise.

Elinor Cook (Writer) was the winner of the George Devine Award 2013 for Most Promising Playwright, and is currently under commission to the Gate Theatre and Warwick Arts Centre (co-commission). She has been commissioned by Paines Plough for The Roundabout 2017 season. Plays include Extra Yaran (Orange Tree Theatre), Pilgrims (HighTide Festival 2016), Ten Weeks and Image of an Unknown Woman (Gate Theatre), The Boy Preference (National Theatre Connections), The Girls Guide to Saving The World (HighTide Festival 2014), and This is Where we got to When you Came in (Bush Theatre). In 2012 Elinor was part of the Royal Court's 'Supergroup' and Paines Plough's 'The Big Room' in association with Channel 4. For television, Elinor wrote an episode of The Secrets for BBC One.

Kwame Kwei-Armah (Director) is Associate Director at the Donmar where his directing credits include the Olivier Award-nominated One Night In Miami.... Kwame is an award-winning British playwright, director, actor, and broadcaster. His plays include Marley, Beneatha's Place, Seize the Day, A Bitter Herb, Blues Brother Soul Sister, Big Nose, and his seminal triptych of plays chronicling the struggles of the British African-Caribbean community in London-Elmina's Kitchen, Fix Up and Statement of Regret-which each premiered at the National Theatre between 2003-2007. With Elmina's Kitchen he became the first Black Briton to have a play produced in London's West End; Elmina's Kitchen and Let There be Love each had their American debuts at Center Stage in the US. He wrote the 2010 teleplay, Walter's War, about the first black commissioned officer to lead British troops during WWI. As an actor, Kwei-Armah has appeared in Casualty, Holby City, Afternoon Play, Between the Lines and The Bill. He has presented documentary programmes for Channel 4 including Christianity: A History and On Tour With the Queen. He has also appeared on Newsnight, Question Time and The Culture Show. He is Artistic Director of Center Stage in Baltimore, Maryland, where he made his directing debut with Naomi Wallace's Things of Dry Hours. Since then he has directed One Love: The Bob Marley Musical at the Birmingham Rep, the Pulitzer nominated playwright Esa Davis's 10-minute play Dave Chappelle was Right for the 24 Hour Plays on Broadway, and two successful productions of his play Let There Be Love at the Tricycle Theatre. Kwei-Armah was Goodwill Ambassador for Trade for Christian Aid; Chancellor of University of the Arts London; and served as Artistic Director for the World Arts Festival in Senegal, a month-long World Festival of Black Arts and Culture. He was awarded an OBE in 2012 for services to drama.

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