London's Almeida Theatre Announces Fresh Takes on Ibsen and Chekhov | Playbill

News London's Almeida Theatre Announces Fresh Takes on Ibsen and Chekhov London's Almeida Theatre, currently in the midst of a three-play season of ancient Greek plays, has announced that in the fall and winter it will continue to re-invigorate the classics with a fresh take on two 19th century classics by Ibsen and Chekhov.

Richard Eyre, who previously directed Ibsen's Hedda Gabler and Ghosts for the Almeida (both of which transferred to the the West End, with the latter also playing a season at New York's BAM), is to direct his own new version of a third Ibsen play Little Eyolf, beginning performances Nov. 19 prior to an official opening Nov. 26, for a run through Jan. 9. The cast will be led by Jolyon Coy and Lydia Leonard, and will also include Sam Hazledine, Eve Ponsonby and Eileen Walsh.

The production will be designed by Tim Hatley, with lighting by Peter Mumford, sound by John Leonard and video by Jon Driscoll.

Coy's previous theatre credits include Creditors (Young Vic), Holy Warriors and Antony and Cleopatra (both Shakespeare's Globe), Wendy and Peter Pan (RSC), Our Boys (West End's Duchess) and Posh (Royal Court and West End's Duke of York's). Screen credits include the upcoming Disney film Beauty and the Beast and the upcoming BBC War and Peace.

Leonard was most recently seen on stage in Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies (RSC, West End and Broadway), for which she was Tony nominated for her performance as Anne Boleyn. Other theatre credits include Onassis (West End), Electra (Young Vic), Time and the Conways (National Theatre) and Frost/Nixon (Donmar Warehouse and West End). TV credits include "Life in Squares," "Ambassadors," "Spooks" and "Law and Order."

Robert Icke, whose Almeida production of Oresteia has now transferred to the West End's Trafalgar Studios, will direct his own new version of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, beginning performances Feb. 5 prior to an official opening Feb. 12, for a run through March 26. Paul Rhys will make his Almeida debut in the title role. 

Icke, who is the Almeida's Associate director, has also directed The Fever, Mr Burns and 1984 at the Almeida (the latter co-created with Duncan Macmillan and produced in a co-production with Headlong and Nottingham Playhouse which has now played two West End seasons after its runs in Nottingham and the Almeida).

Rhys's previous stage credits at the National Theatre include Measure for Measure (Critics' Circle Award for Best Shakespearean Performance), The Invention of Love and King Lear (Olivier nomination for Best Supporting Actor). Other stage credits include The Master and Margarita (Barbican Theatre), Hamlet and A Long Day's Journey into Night (both Young Vic) and Design for Living (Donmar Warehouse).

In a press statement announcing the productions, Rupert Goold, the Almeida's artistic director, has commented, "We follow our Almeida Greeks with a double-header of late 19th-century masterpieces by two of the world's most important and influential playwrights. Written less than five years apart, these plays offer startlingly fresh reflections on our lives and our theatre — and how we can understand them."

To book tickets, which go on sale to Almeida members Sept. 8 and on general sale from Sept. 15, contact the box office on 020 7359 4404, or visit

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