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Stars line up for Michael Grandage

Michael Grandage

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

MICHAEL Grandage, former Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse, is launching his new production company later this year with a 15-month season at the Noel Coward Theatre.

The company’s inaugural season, which runs from December 2012 to February 2014, boasts a line up of big names from the world of stage and film, among them Judi Dench, David Walliams, Sheridan Smith, Jude Law, Ben Whishaw, Simon Russell Beale and Daniel Radcliffe.

Each production will be directed by Michael Grandage and run for 12 weeks, with 200 tickets to every performance – over 100,000 across the season – available for just £10.

The season opens with a revival of Privates on Parade, starring Simon Russell Beale as the cross-dressing Captain Dennis, whose performances of Marlene Dietrich, Vera Lynn and Carmen Miranda form the centrepiece of Peter Nichols’ award-winning comedy set against the murderous backdrop of the Malaysian campaign at the end of the Second World War.

Privates on Parade runs from December 1, 2012 to March 2, 2013.

Next comes John Logan’s new play Peter and Alice, starring Judi Dench as Alice and Ben Whishaw as Peter.

When Alice Liddell Hargreaves met Peter Llewelyn Davies at the opening of a Lewis Carroll exhibition in 1932, the original Alice in Wonderland came face to face with the original Peter Pan.

In Logan’s first new play since the Tony Award-winning Red, enchantment and reality collide as this brief encounter lays bare the lives of these two extraordinary characters.

Peter and Alice runs from March 9 to June 1, 2013.

Following Peter and Alice will be The Cripple of Inishmaan, with Daniel Radcliffe in the title role of what will be the play’s first major London revival since it premiered at the National Theatre in 1996.

Set on the remote island of Inishmaan off the west coast of Ireland, word arrives that a Hollywood film is being made on the neighbouring island of Inishmore. The one person who wants to be in the film more than anybody is young Cripple Billy, if only to break away from the bitter tedium of his daily life.

Martin McDonagh’s comic masterpiece examines an ordinary coming of age in extraordinary circumstances and confirms his position as one of the most original Irish voices to emerge in the second half of the twentieth century.

The Cripple of Inishmaan runs from June 8 to August 31, 2013.

Next its the turn of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, starring Sheridan Smith as Titania and David Walliams as Bottom.

Lysander loves Hermia and Hermia loves Lysander. Helena loves Demetrius; Demetrius used to love Helena but now loves Hermia. When Hermia’s father insists she choose Demetrius as a suitor she escapes with Lysander into the surrounding forest where Oberon and Titania, the King and Queen of the Fairies are having their own battle of love.

As the human and magical worlds collide, mischief and chaos erupt as love at first sight proves a reality for some and makes an ass of others.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs from September 7 to November 16, 2013.

And finally comes Henry V, starring Jude Law, who continues his collaboration with Michael Grandage that began with Hamlet in 2009. Law also appeared in the Donmar’s award-winning production Anna Christie, part of Grandage’s final season as Artistic Director.

Can the King of England hold his nerve to embrace his duty, command his men and lead his country to victory in France? Shakespeare’s great play of nationhood investigates the bloody horrors of war and the turbulence of a land in crisis.

Henry V runs from November 23, 2013 to February 15, 2014.

Casting for Henry V announced.