Star acting talent has signed up to the season as well as the announcement of a special Gala Performance.
Keith Allen, Phil Davis, Paapa Essiedu, Rupert Graves, Gary Kemp, John Simm and Maggie Steed have joined the extraordinary company of Pinter at the Pinter, the unprecedented season featuring all twenty of Harold Pinter’s one-act plays, running from September 2018 to February 2019, to mark the tenth anniversary of the Nobel Prize winner’s death.
The highly-anticipated season will open with Pinter’s incendiary political works One for the Road, Mountain Language and The New World Order, directed by Jamie Lloyd, and Ashes to Ashes directed by Lia Williams, who is currently wowing critics and audiences alike in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at the Donmar Warehouse.
The cast will include Paapa Essiedu, who won massive acclaim for his portrayal of Hamlet at the RSC and was recently named a Forbes 30 under 30 honoree, alongside Maggie Steed, who returns to The Jamie Lloyd Company having played Queen Margaret opposite Martin Freeman in Richard III at Trafalgar Studios. These plays will be performed in rep – for 26 performances only – with the playful and provocative miniature masterpieces The Lover and The Collection, which feature stage and screen legend David Suchet and John Macmillan.
“I was knocked out when The Jamie Lloyd Company asked me to direct the electrifying Ashes to Ashes and I’m thrilled to be working with the hugely talented Paapa Essiedu. Harold meant the world to me. He could be funny, lacerating and as sensitive as a butterfly all at once. I’ve acted in seven of Harold’s plays; he has been one of my greatest influences in the theatre. This is a very personal endeavour. I will do my best for you, Harold.”- Director Lia Williams
John Simm, Gary Kemp and Ron Cook are reunited with Jamie Lloyd having appeared in his critically-acclaimed production of Pinter’s The Homecoming at Trafalgar Studios. They will appear alongside BAFTA nominee Phil Davis, Celia Imrie, Tracy-Ann Oberman and Abraham Popoola in Party Time and Celebration.
Keith Allen joins Tamsin Greig in Landscape and A Kind of Alaska, directed by Jamie Lloyd, whilst Rupert Graves will join Jane Horrocks, Emma Naomi and Nicolas Woodeson in The Room, Victoria Station and Family Voices, directed by Patrick Marber, who was recently nominated for a Tony Award for his direction of Tom Stoppard’s Travesties. Rupert Graves is reunited with Patrick Marber, who directed him in the 40th anniversary production of Pinter’s The Caretaker in the West End, as well as Marber’s seminal play, Closer, on Broadway.
With a commitment to accessible pricing with the aim of developing a new, more diverse West End audience, The Jamie Lloyd Company is offering 25,000 tickets across the season for £15 for people aged under 30, key workers and those receiving job seekers allowance.
“25,000 good seats for £15 will provide meaningful access to Pinter’s work for new theatregoers who may never have experienced the power of his work before. I feel certain that Pinter, the working-class boy from Hackney, would have approved.” – Actor Paapa Essiedu
To celebrate Harold Pinter’s birthday, Jamie Lloyd will direct a unique charity gala performance of Pinter’s sketches, monologues and poems, alongside extracts from his other plays, prose and political speeches. Further details of this event, performed at the Harold Pinter Theatre on October 10th, will be announced later.
The main season, Pinter at the Pinter, is an unparalleled event featuring all twenty short plays written by the greatest British playwright of the 20th Century, in the theatre that bears his name. They have never been performed together in a season of this kind. Each play runs for a limited number of performances.
The season also includes The Dumb Waiter, starring Danny Dyer and Martin Freeman, which will play alongside A Slight Ache – two early Pinter plays from the 1950s. Olivier Award winner Lyndsey Turner will direct Moonlight alongside a rare chance to see the quirky Pinter gem, Night School. Special rehearsed readings of The Basement, Tea Party and Silence complete the season.
Pinter at the Pinter is part of the Pinter 10 partnership with the BFI, The Harold Pinter Estate and Faber & Faber, which is marking the 10th anniversary of Pinter’s death with a series of events celebrating the life of the most important British playwright of the 20th Century. BFI Southbank will commemorate the anniversary with a season of Pinter’s film and television productions; Pinter on Screen: Power, Sex & Politics will take place at BFI Southbank throughout June and July.
Harold Pinter was born in Hackney, London in 1930. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Pinter was lauded throughout his life as one of the greatest living playwrights, who had a revolutionary impact on how theatre was written and performed, and who it represented on stage. An establishment agitator who challenged injustice, he became as famous for his political interventions as for his writing later in his life.
Other gongs bestowed on Pinter include the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, the Companion of Honour for services to Literature, the Legion D’Honneur, the European Theatre Prize, the Laurence Olivier Award and the Moliere D’Honneur for lifetime achievement. In 1999 he was made a Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature, in addition to 18 other honorary degrees. After working as an actor under the stage name David Baron, Pinter went on to be a theatrical playwright, director, screenwriter and actor.
He wrote his first play The Room in 1957 and from there 29 plays, including The Birthday Party, The Hothouse, The Caretaker, The Homecoming, Old Times, No Man’s Land, and Betrayal. Sketches include The Black and White, Request Stop, That’s your Trouble, Night, and Precisely.
Pinter directed 27 theatre productions while in film he wrote 21 screenplays including The Pumpkin Eater, The Servant, The Go-Between, The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Sleuth. He continued to act under his own name, on stage and screen. His last appearance in 2006, when he appeared in Beckett’s Krapp‘s Last Tape at the Royal Court Theatre. Harold Pinter died on Christmas Eve 2008.