Follow Us on Twitter

Joe Wright to direct Chiwetel Ejiofor at Young Vic

Joe Wright, director of Atonement

Story by Jack Foley

JOE Wright is to direct Chiwetel Ejiofor in new play A Season In The Congo at the Young Vic next year (2013).

The production will follow the story of DR Congo’s first independence leader, Patrice Lumumba, who was assassinated in 1960. It was written by Martinique poet and politician Aime Cesaire.

The acclaimed film director is also due to direct Arthur Wing Pinero’s Trelawny of The Wells at the Donmar Warehouse in Covent Garden.

Both plays mark his London stage debut, although Wright himself is no stranger to the stage, having been brought up at the Angel Theatre in north London, where his parents ran the puppet theatre.

He also set his most recent film – a re-working of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina – inside a Russian theatre.

The London stage was an automatic next step and he told The Guardian newspaper that he had approached the artistic directors of both the Young Vic and the Donmar directly to be given the opportunity.

“I’ve been wanting for some time to work in theatre,” he said. “So, I decided to make a concerted effort this year as I’ve made five films in eight years and I just felt I wanted a different kind of rhythm.”

Chiwetel Ejiofor in Redbelt

Although a cast for Trelawney of the Wells has yet to be announced, his Young Vic debut is sure to be one of London’s hottest tickets, especially as it marks the return of Ejiofor to the London stage.

The actor, whose film roles include Inside Man and Children of Men, will play Lumumba in A Season In The Congo in what will be his first theatre role since winning the best actor prize at the 2008 Laurence Olivier Awards for his interpretation of Othello.

The play is receiving its UK premiere as part of the Young Vic’s 2013 season.

Further works include Feast, featuring music and dance, directed by Rufus Norris, and the return of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, as well as a new version of Public Enemy by David Harrower to be directed by Richard Jones and American Lulu, a radical interpretation of Alban Berg’s incomplete, 20th Century opera Lulu, which will be transported to the smoky jazz clubs of America’s Deep South in the 1950s.