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Donmar Warehouse announces Michael Longhurst's second season as Artistic Director

Season preview

THE Donmar Warehouse has announce Michael Longhurst’s second season as Artistic Director and it includes a revival of Steve Waters’ critically acclaimed The Contingency Plan, a double-bill of plays about the climate crisis; Assembly which explores visions of a climate positive future; and the world premiere of a stage adaptation of Ruben Östlund’s film Force Majeure.

However, the season opens with the first major UK production of Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks’ modern epic In the Blood. Directed by Ellen McDougall, making her Donmar debut, it will run from April 17 to June 6, 2020.

Hester will not give up the name of her child’s father. In a world that refuses to let you succeed, how far would you go to provide for your children?

In the Blood is a striking take on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic American novel, The Scarlet Letter.

Suzan-Lori Parks was named among Time magazine’s “100 Innovators for the Next Wave” and is one of the most acclaimed playwrights in contemporary American drama. She is the first African-American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, is a MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient, and in 2015 was awarded the prestigious Gish Prize for Excellence in the Arts. She is also a recipient of a Lila-Wallace Reader’s Digest Award, a CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts, and a Guggenheim Foundation Grant.

Parks’ project 365 Days/365 Plays (where she wrote a play a day for an entire year) was produced in over 700 theatres worldwide, creating one of the largest grassroots collaborations in theatre history.

Her other plays include: Topdog/Underdog (2002 Pulitzer Prize winner), The Book of Grace, Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Musical, In the Blood (2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist), Venus (1996 OBIE Award), The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom (1990 OBIE Award for Best New American Play), The America Play and F***ing A.

Her adaptation of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Her newest plays, Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 and 3) – set during the Civil War – was awarded the Horton Foote Prize and the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama as well as being a 2015 Pulitzer Prize Finalist.

Ellen McDougall is Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre, where her credits include Dear Elizabeth, Effigies of Wickedness, The Tale of the Unknown Island and Idomeneus. Her other recent theatre credits include Our Town (Open Air Theatre), The Wolves (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Othello (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Remains of Maisie Duggan (Abbey Theatre, Dublin), The Glass Menagerie (Headlong), Anna Karenina (Royal Exchange, Manchester) and Ivan and the Dogs (Actors Touring Company/Soho).

In the Blood will be designed by Moi Tran, with lighting design by Azusa Ono. Casting Director is Anna Cooper CDG.

Speaking about his second season Artistic Director Michael Longhurst said:

“As we head into my second season as Artistic Director at the Donmar I am delighted for us to be bringing you more Important Stories, Thrillingly Told. 2020 will see exceptional artists, both new and familiar, joining us here at the Donmar to make inspiring productions that explore the world today.

Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director Michael Longhurst. Photo by Helen Maybanks.

“In April, I am thrilled that Gate Theatre Artistic Director Ellen McDougall will make her Donmar debut, directing the first major UK production of In the Blood. Both epic and personal, Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks’ play is inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic American novel The Scarlet Letter. It asks: how far would you go for your children?

“Then, in June, we are delighted to give a timely revival to Steve Waters’ compelling and acclaimed double-bill of plays, The Contingency Plan. Steve originally wrote the plays ten years ago and has now updated them to reflect a decade of developments in the climate emergency. We are pleased to co-produce this double-bill with Theatr Clwyd (whose Artistic Director Tamara Harvey and I were the original directors in 2009). Rising-star directors Chelsea Walker and Caroline Steinbeis will take the helm on what promises to be both a funny and thrilling pair of plays.

“For The Contingency Plan, the Donmar Warehouse and Theatr Clwyd will also work with Julie’s Bicycle, industry leaders on climate change and environmental sustainability, to ensure that the co-production is made in as sustainable a way as possible. They will work with both venues throughout the design and creation process to advise and consult on best practice and how to minimise the environmental impact of the project. Julie’s Bicycle will then update their Sustainable Production Guide, adding The Contingency Plan as a key case study and demonstrative example of what actions the wider industry might take to address the climate crisis.

“We are excited that, for the first time, we will be creating a production with our newly formed Donmar Local Company. This will play alongside, and in response to, The Contingency Plan. Writer Nina Segal and director Joseph Hancock will work with the company to explore visions of a climate positive future in a new work called Assembly.

“In September, I will then direct a new adaptation of Ruben Östlund’s critically-acclaimed film Force Majeure, written for the stage by Tim Price. This brilliant black comedy tells the awkward and hilarious story of a family turned upside down on a skiing holiday.

“I am thrilled that Tom Scutt continues to support our work as Artistic Associate and mentor to the Donmar’s Resident Design Assistant. Tom has dazzled audiences with his incredible designs for several Donmar shows, as well as making his directorial debut last year. I am also hugely excited that the incredibly talented actor and writer Prasanna Puwanarajah will join Tom as a Donmar Artistic Associate. I can’t wait to work with them both over the next year.”

The Donmar is continuing its commitment to engaging new audiences with DONMAR DAILY RELEASE. Going into its second year, this ticket access scheme will continue to see a minimum of 40 tickets released for sale every morning for the performances seven days later. Audiences can sign up to receive information about productions and ticketing on the Donmar’s website.

The Donmar’s successful free ticket scheme for those aged 16 to 25, YOUNG+FREE, will continue to offer seats by ballot for performances across the new season. YOUNG+FREE is funded through the generosity of audiences and supporters. These donations have enabled the Donmar to allocate more than 21,000 free tickets to those aged under 26.