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Kennedy Center spotlights Blighty

Fest to stretch from April to July

WASHINGTON — Another British invasion will occur here this spring when the Kennedy Center hosts a mammoth festival to showcase the arts of the United Kingdom.

Theater, ballet and modern dance, chamber and folk music, film and new symphonic works will be included in the smorgasbord. The festival will stretch from April 3 to July 10 and will periodically involve six of the Center’s seven stages.

Details of the festival were unveiled by Michael M. Kaiser, the Kennedy Center’s new president, who recently left his job as executive director of the Royal Opera House (he signed the contract authorizing the Royal Ballet’s participation). Also on hand were British Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer and Deborah Bull, a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet and member of the Arts Council of England.

The festival will offer four major theatrical productions: a new adaptation of Carlo Goldoni’s “A Servant to Two Masters” in a co-production from the RSC and the Young Vic; the U.S. premiere of Nicholas Wright’s new version of Frank Wedekind’s “Lulu,” featuring Anna Friel, a co-production by the Kennedy Center and the Almeida Theater; the Shared Experience Theater Co.’s production of George Eliot’s novel “Mill on the Floss”; and “Spoonface Steinberg,” a one-woman show written by Lee Hall and performed by Kathryn Hunter, also a U.S. preem.

Dance programming includes performances by the Royal Ballet of several works of its founding choreographer, Sir Frederick Ashton.

In addition, a festival of British film will be offered in collaboration with the American Film Institute at the AFI Theater.

A predicted highlight of the festival will be the National Symphony Orchestra’s performances of numerous British works, including Leonard Slatkin’s version of “The Last Night of the Proms.” The NSO will also perform Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem” and the U.S. premiere of James MacMillan’s “Britannia.” In addition, there will be a mini-Shakespeare festival, consisting of three orchestral programs hosted and narrated by Christopher Plummer.

Separately, the Washington Performing Arts Society will present the London Symphony during the festival.

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