A/V Room









Francesca Annis heads for Pirandello's Henry IV

Preview by Jack Foley

FRANCESCA Annis is to return to the Donmar Warehouse in May, for the premiere of Tom Stoppard’s new version of Pirandello’s Henry IV, before taking it on the Donmar’s first-ever tour to Salford, Bristol and Liverpool.

The screen and stage veteran will appear alongside former Almeida artistic director, Ian McDiarmid, in the production, which runs from May 4 to June 26, before touring in July.

Henry IV will tells the story of an Italian nobleman who, after falling from his horse during a pageant, believes himself to be his carnival character, the medieval German Emperor, King Henry IV.

He subsequently lives this vision for 20 years, until a plot is hatched to shock him from his 'madness' and into the 21st Century.


Annis, who last appeared in the 2003 revival of Coward’s The Vortex, and McDiarmid, will be joined in the cast by Robert Demeger, Orlando Wells, David Yelland, Brian Poyser, Nitzan Sharron, Neil McDermott, James Lance, Stuart Burt and Tania Emery.

The decision to follow the West End run with a national tour has been taken by the Donmar’s artistic director, Michael Grandage, as a way of extending the theatre’s audience base.

He had planned to do this as part of London’s fringe, before taking it nationally and internationally, but was advised by the Arts Council to take it to the current destinations, as they were viewed as being areas that would welcome high-quality drama from the Donmar.

Subsequent Donmar production tours will be selected from the as-yet unannounced 2005 season.

Henry IV will be followed at the Donmar, from November 29, 2004 to February 12, 2005, by Grandage's revival of the Tony Award-winning musical, Grand Hotel.

The current show is Charlotte Jones’ The Dark, which receives its world premiere on March 23, and continues until June 26.

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