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Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams star in Mary Stuart at the Almeida

Mary Stuart: Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams photographed by Miles Aldridge.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING his critically acclaimed productions of Uncle Vanya and Oresteia, Almeida Theatre Associate Director Robert Icke will adapt and direct Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart at the Islington venue – from December 9, 2016 (previews from December 2) to January 21, 2017.

Playing both Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart, Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams trade the play’s central roles, decided at each performance by the toss of a coin.

Two queens. One in power. One in prison. It’s all in the execution. Schiller’s political tragedy takes audiences behind the scenes of some of British history’s most crucial days.

Juliet Stevenson returns to the Almeida Theatre having previously appeared in Duet for One alongside Henry Goodman. Most recently, she played Winnie in Beckett’s Happy Days at the Young Vic. Her other theatre credits include The Seagull, Private Lives, Caucasian Chalk Circle, Hedda Gabler and Yerma (National Theatre); Les Liaisons Dangereuses, As You Like It, Troilus and Cressida, Measure for Measure and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RSC); and The Heretic, Alice and Death and The Maiden (Olivier Award for Best Actress) at the Royal Court.

Her screen credits include Departure, Mona Lisa Smile, Bend it Like Beckham, Emma, Truly Madly Deeply and the upcoming Let Me Go (film); The Enfield Haunting, The Village, White Heat, The Accused, The Road from Coorain, The Politican’s Wife and the forthcoming BBC drama One of Us (TV). Stevenson was awarded a CBE in 1999 for her services to drama.

Lia Williams returns to the Almeida having previously appeared in Oresteia (Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress) and Harold Pinter’s Celebration. Her other theatre credits include Old Times (West End); Arcadia and Skylight (Broadway, National Theatre and West End, Tony and Olivier Award nominations for Best Actress); Earthquakes in London, The Hothouse and Mappa Mundi (National Theatre); Oleanna, King Lear and My Child (Royal Court); The Homecoming (Gate Theatre, Dublin, West End and Broadway); and The Lover and The Collection (Donmar Warehouse).

Her screen credits include The Crown, Secret State, Doc Martin, May 33rd, The Russian Bride, Imogen’s Face, A Shot Through the Heart, Flowers of the Forest, Seaforth and Mr Wroe’s Virgins (TV); Jonathan Toomey, The King is Alive, Different for Girls, The Fifth Province, Firelight, Dirty Weekend and La Suite Blanche-Neige (film).

As Director, Williams’ credits include The Match Box for the Liverpool Playhouse and the Tricycle Theatre and the films Feathers, The Stronger, Dog Alone, and the feature documentary Nanabozhung.

Since joining the Almeida in 2013, Associate Director Robert Icke has created and directed new adaptations of Uncle Vanya, Oresteia (also West End; winner of the Olivier, Critics’ Circle and Evening Standard Awards for Best Director) and the multi-award winning 1984 with Duncan Macmillan (also West End as well as UK, USA and international tours) at the Almeida. His work as a director includes The Fever (The May Fair Hotel), Mr Burns (Almeida) and Boys and Romeo and Juliet (Headlong). He will make his National Theatre debut directing The Red Barn, at the Lyttelton Theatre in October.

Mary Stuart will be designed by Hildegard Bechtler, with lighting by Jackie Shemesh, video by Tim Reid, and original composition by Laura Marling, a Brit Award-winning and multiple Mercury Music Prize nominee who has released five studio albums and garnered global critical acclaim. Casting is by Julia Horan CDG.

Image: Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams photographed by Miles Aldridge.

Tickets for Mary Stuart and Hamlet will go on public sale on Thursday, September 8. Priority Booking will open to Almeida Members at Designers’ Circle level and above on Tuesday, August 30. Booking for Friends opens on Thursday, September 1. Available from the box office on 020 7359 4404 (10am – 7.30pm) or online at www.almeida.co.uk/.