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National Theatre - June to November 2012

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE NATIONAL Theatre has announced its forthcoming programme and it includes new productions of Howard Barker’s Scenes from an Execution, with Fiona Shaw; Tirso de Molina’s Damned by Despair, with a cast led by Sebastian Armesto and Bertie Carvel; and This House.

A new play by James Graham, This House opens in the Cottesloe Theatre on September 25 (previews from September 18) and runs in repertoire until December 1, 2012. NB: Following a sell-out run in the Cottesloe, the production transferred to the Olivier Theatre in February 2013.

It’s 1974 and the UK faces economic crisis and a hung parliament. In a culture hostile to co-operation, it’s a period when votes are won or lost by one, when there are fist fights in the bars and when sick MPs are carried through the lobby to register their vote.

It’s a time when a staggering number of politicians die, and the building creaks under idiosyncrasies and arcane traditions.

Set in the engine rooms of Westminster, This House strips politics down to the practical realities of those behind the scenes: the whips who roll up their sleeves and on occasion bend the rules to shepherd and coerce a diverse chorus of MPs within the Mother of all Parliaments.

Jeremy Herrin directs a cast that includes Phil Daniels, Philip Glenister and Julian Wadham.

They are joined by Gunnar Cauthery, Charles Edwards, Vincent Franklin, Christopher Godwin, Andrew Havill, Ed Hughes, Helena Lymbery, Lauren O’Neil, Matthew Pidgeon, Richard Ridings, Giles Taylor, Tony Turner and Rupert Vansittart.

Phil Daniels has previously appeared at the National Theatre in Carousel, Dealer’s Choice and The Winter’s Tale. His screen credits include Quadrophenia, Scum, Breaking Glass, EastEnders and Blur’s Parklife.

Philip Glenister, who will making his National Theatre debut in This House, is well known on television for his roles in Mad Dogs, Ashes to Ashes, Life on Mars and Clocking Off.

Julian Wadham’s many appearances at the National Theatre include Much Ado About Nothing, Tartuffe, The Winter’s Tale and The Madness of George III.

Jeremy Herrin is Associate Director of the Royal Court Theatre. His recent credits include Absent Friends (West End), Uncle Vanya (Chichester Festival Theatre), Death and the Maiden (West End), South Downs (Chichester Festival Theatre and West End), and Children’s Children (Almeida Theatre).

James Graham won the Pearson Playwriting Bursary in 2006 and went on to win the Catherine Johnson Award for Best Play of 2007 for Eden’s Empire. His plays also include Tory Boyz (National Youth Theatre at the Soho Theatre), The Whisky Taster (Bush Theatre) and Bassett (NT Connections).

This House will be designed by Rae Smith, with lighting design by Paule Constable, music by Stephen Warbeck, choreography by Scott Ambler and sound by Ian Dickinson. The production is sponsored by Neptune Investment Management, the National’s Cottesloe Partner.