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Donmar Warehouse - Autumn 2017 includes Knives in Hens directed by Yaël Farber

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ARTISTIC Director Josie Rourke and Executive Producer Kate Pakenham have announced two new productions at the Donmar Warehouse this autumn: a revival of David Harrower’s modern classic, Knives in Hens, and Ibsen’s masterpiece, The Lady from the Sea, in a new version by Elinor Cook.

Directed by Yaël Farber, Knives in Hens runs from August 22 (previews from August 17) to October 7, 2017.

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, and multi-award-winning director Yaël Farber brings her distinctive style to this tense, modern classic.

The cast includes Christian Cooke (Experience, Hampstead Theatre) as Pony William, Judith Roddy (The Plough and The Stars, The Silver Tassie, National Theatre) as Young Woman and Matt Ryan (Hamlet, the Donmar in the West End, Thérèse Raquin with Keira Knightley, Roundabout Theater Company) as Gilbert.

David Harrower is an internationally acclaimed playwright who currently lives and works in Glasgow. Previous work includes Ciara, Dark Earth and Kill the Old Torture Their Young (Traverse Theatre), A Slow Air (Tron Theatre), Good With People (Paines Plough/Oran Mor/Traverse Theatre), Blackbird (Edinburgh International Festival), Presence (Royal Court) and Knives in Hens (Traverse Theatre/Bush Theatre).

His adaptations include Public Enemy, Government Inspector, Sweet Nothings, The Good Soul of Szechuan and Six Characters in Search of an Author (Young Vic), Tales From the Vienna Woods and Ivanov (National Theatre), Woyzeck (Edinburgh Lyceum Theatre), Mary Stuart (National Theatre of Scotland) and The Chrysalids (National Theatre, BT Connections).

Harrower’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 and Ciara) and numerous other awards.

Yaël Farber makes her directing debut at the Donmar Warehouse with Knives in Hens. She is a multi-award-winning director and playwright, whose recent theatre credits include writer and director for Salomé and Les Blancs (National Theatre), The Crucible (Old Vic), Nirbhaya (Edinburgh Fringe Festival/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.

Farber 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.

Knives in Hens is designed by Soutra Gilmour, with lighting design by Tim Lutkin, sound design by Christopher Shutt and movement direction by Imogen Knight.

The Donmar will also present the previously announced Becoming: Part One, a series of workshop performances written and performed by Rosalie Craig and Michelle Terry performed at the Donmar’s rehearsal space.

The Donmar’s free ticket scheme for those aged 25 and under, YOUNG+FREE, will continue to offer seats for performances across the new season. YOUNG+FREE is funded through the generosity of audiences with the Donmar’s PAY IT FORWARD scheme. KLAXON tickets will also continue across the season. Starting from £10, KLAXON tickets are put on sale every Monday for performances in the following three weeks. Tickets will be available across the auditorium at every price band.

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, starring Lenny Henry, continues at the Donmar Warehouse until June 17. It will be followed – from June 24 to August 12, 2017 – by the new musical The Public Administration and Constitution Affairs Committee Take Oral Evidence on Whitehall’s Relationship with Kids Company.