Michael Sheen to Star in London Under Milk Wood as National Theatre Reopens

London News   Michael Sheen to Star in London Under Milk Wood as National Theatre Reopens
The U.K. venue will also present the stage adaptation of Hirokazu Kore-eda's After Life in June.
Michael Sheen
Michael Sheen Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

After a shutdown last spring due to the coronavirus pandemic—and a fall reopening, and a subsequent winter reclosure—London’s National Theatre aims to welcome back in-person audiences in June. The U.K. venue’s largest performance space, the Olivier Theatre, will be home to a production of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood starring Michael Sheen. Performances will begin June 16.

Featuring additional material by Siân Owen and directed by Lyndsey Turner, the production will be staged in-the-round. The Olivier shifted to this configuration when it reopened for the cut-short Death of England: Delroy. The cast also includes Tony nominee Susan Brown, Ifan Huw Dafydd, Alan David, Michael Elwyn, Kezrena James, Karl Johnson, Gaynor Morgan Rees, Anthony O'Donnell, Siân Phillips, and Cleo Sylvestre.

The creative team includes set and costume designer Merle Hensel, lighting designer Tim Lutkin, movement director Imogen Knight, sound designer Donato Wharton, and composer Edward-Rhys Harry.

The National’s smaller Dorfman Theatre will reopen June 2 with its previously announced production of After Life, written by Jack Thorne and directed by Jeremy Herrin. The two conceived the project, a co-production with Headlong, with Bunny Christie, inspired by the Hirokazu Kore-eda film.

Initial casting includes Olatunji Ayofe, Danielle Henry, Maddie Holliday, Togo Igawa, Anoushka Lucas, Kevin McMonagle, Simon Startin, Luke Thallon, June Watson, and Millicent Wong. The production will feature set and costume design by Christie, lighting by Neil Austin, movement direction by Shelley Maxwell, video design by Max Spielbichler, and sound design by Tom Gibbons.

Both productions are scheduled to run through July 24. Though the U.K. government hopes to lift all remaining capacity restrictions for theatres (as part of Step 4 on its reopening roadmap) June 21, the National will present both productions with socially distanced seating in place for all performances.

Additional programming, including the return of Death of England: Delroy and the previously announced revival of The Normal Heart, will be revealed at a later date.

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