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Hampstead Theatre - Autumn 2019 in the Main House

Hampstead Theatre Autumn Season 2019

Season preview

HAMPSTEAD Theatre has announced its Autumn 2019 Season, Roxana Silbert’s first as Artistic Director, and Main House productions include:

The world premiere of The King of Hell’s Palace. Written by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig and directed by Michael Boyd, it runs from September 5 to October 12.

It doesn’t matter if the cat is white or black. As long as it catches mice, it is a very good cat.

Described as a blazing thriller, The King of Hell’s Palace is based on the true story of a whistleblowing heroine and her extraordinary mission to expose a cover-up of epic proportions.

Henan Province, 1992. China is laying the foundations for global wealth and power – business is booming. Yin-Yin, a young Ministry of Health official, finds herself recruited into a new and unusual trade that boasts infinite stock and infinite demand. But amidst the hype and the soaring profits, she rapidly uncovers an unimaginable secret that will test to the limit her loyalties to her profession, to her family and to her country…

Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig is an internationally staged playwright whose plays include Snow in Midsummer (RSC, Oregon Shakespeare Festival); The World of Extreme Happiness (Goodman Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, National Theatre); Lidless (Trafalgar Studios, Page 73 Productions) and 410[Gone] (Crowded Fire Theatre, Yantgze Rep, Rorschach Theatre). Her plays have received the Yale Drama Series Award (selected by Sir David Hare), the Wasserstein Prize, an Edinburgh Fringe First Award, the Keene Prize for Literature and a United States Artist Fellowship. She is currently writing the script for Alan Taylor’s upcoming feature film Gold Mountain.

Michael Boyd’s work has won many UK and international awards, including four Oliviers, and he was knighted for services to drama in 2012. He was the Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 2002-12 and the Artistic Director of the Tron Theatre in Glasgow from 1985-96.

The European premiere of Botticelli in the Fire. Written by Jordan Tannahill and directed by Blanche McIntyre, it runs from October 18 to November 23.

They’re going to kill you. They’re going to worship you, don’t get me wrong. But they are going to kill you.

This hot-blooded and seductive reimagining of Renaissance Italy questions how much of ourselves we are willing to sacrifice when society comes off the rails.

Florence, circa 1482. Playboy Sandro Botticelli has it all: talent, fame, good looks. He also has the ear – and the wife – of Lorenzo de Medici, as well as the Renaissance’s hottest young apprentice, Leonardo.

But whilst he is at work on his breakthrough commission, The Birth of Venus, Botticelli’s devotion to pleasure and beauty is put to the ultimate test. As plague and dissent sweep through the city, the charismatic friar Girolamo Savonarola starts to stoke the fires against the liberal elite. Botticelli finds the life he knows breaking terrifyingly apart, forcing him to choose between love and survival.

Jordan Tannahill is a Canadian playwright, novelist, and director. His plays have been translated into multiple languages and widely honoured. He is the youngest two-time winner of a Governor General’s Literary Award, the preeminent state-sponsored literary honour in Canada, having won for his plays Botticelli in the Fire and Sunday in Sodom in 2018, and Age of Minority: Three Solo Plays in 2014.

Casting announced

The world premier of Ravens: Spassky vs. Fischer. Written by Tom Morton-Smith and directed by Annabelle Comyn, it runs from November 28 to January 18, 2020.

The Cold War is still a war. Soft power is still power. You’re out here playing by the rules … they’re out here playing to the crowd.

This new play depicts a match that became a signature event of the Cold War, exploring how two very different individuals were co-opted to stand for contrasting political systems.

Reykjavik, 1972. All eyes are on Iceland ahead of ‘the Match of the Century’: Boris Spassky vs. Bobby Fischer. For the two contenders, the stakes have never been higher – the world title, unprecedented prize money, and stratospheric fame are all on the table.

But as the Cold War begins to heat up, each side of the Atlantic spots a major opportunity to demonstrate superiority over the other. So why hasn’t America’s knight in shining armour shown up? And why won’t Russia’s grandmaster listen to orders? As the two superpowers prepare their opening gambits in a proxy battle of ideologies, with sport as the weapon of choice, both sides find themselves undermined by their pawns, who seem oddly unwilling to cooperate…

Tom Morton-Smith’s plays include Oppenheimer (RSC/Vaudeville); The Earthworks (RSC); In Doggerland (Box of Tricks – UK tour); Everyday Maps for Everyday Use (Finborough/Papatango); Uncertainty (Latitude Festival) and Salt Meets Wound (Theatre503).

The world premiere of The Haystack. Written by Al Blyth and directed by Roxana Silbert, it runs from January 31 to March 7, 2020.

Yes, we’re geeks, yes, we sit at computers all day, yes, we barely leave Cheltenham, but we are still, when it comes down to it, spies.

Al Blyth’s first full-length play challenges the ‘nothing to hide, nothing to fear’ mantra and explores how we can live honestly, love freely, and stay authentic when the advances in cutting-edge technology outpace the law.

Neil and Zef are two twenty-something computer whizzes with questionable dress sense and a highly developed interest in video games and Netflix. They’re also the UK’s ‘National Defence Information Security Team’ – recruited by GCHQ for their sky-high IQs and ability to work quickly and discreetly, no questions asked.

With unfettered access to the world’s data and infinite powers of electronic intrusion, these unlikely agents are essential cogs in the national security machine. But when their window onto intelligence operations shows them more than they were meant to see, they begin to question their roles in a system whose reach is unlimited but whose safeguards are not…

Al Blyth studied Econometrics and Mathematical Economics at Bristol and L.S.E., before working as a research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. In 2006, he was awarded Soho Theatre’s Westminster Prize, for his play Furnace Four. He was selected for the Paines Plough Future Perfect scheme in 2008, and won Channel 4’s 4Talent Prize for Dramatic Writing the same year.

For more information or to book tickets, call the box office on 020 7722 9301 or visit www.hampsteadtheatre.com/.