World premieres set for London’s Royal

U.K. playwrights Churchill, Butterworth on fall lineup


New plays by popular U.K. playwrights Caryl Churchill (“Cloud Nine,” “Top Girls”) and Jez Butterworth (“Jerusalem”) and U.S. scribe Tarell Alvin McCraney lead the pack of six world premieres in the upcoming season at the Royal Court.

Helmer James Macdonald (“Cock”), whose long association with Churchill dates back to his premiere production of her 1989 play “Ice Cream,” directs her new work “Love and Information” on the Court’s main stage from Sept. 6-Oct. 13, with a Sept. 14 opening. Miriam Buether and Laura Hopkins design the production with lighting by Peter Mumford.

Billed as a “fast-moving kaleidoscope,” the play features more than 100 characters attempting to make sense of events.

Scribe Lucy Kirkwood makes her Royal Court debut with “NSFW” (the acronym for Internet material deemed Not Safe For Work). Court associate director Simon Godwin helms this comedy about power games and privacy in modern media. Designed by Tom Pye and lit by Guy Hoare, the production runs Oct. 25-Nov. 24, with an Oct. 31 opening.

Rounding out the mainstage season is “In the Republic of Happiness” by Martin Crimp, helmed by Court a.d. Dominic Cooke (“Clybourne Park”). A provocative satire of contemporary obsessions, Crimp’s play runs Dec. 6-Jan. 19, 2013.

Cooke also continues his relationship with McCraney, whose “Wig Out!” he directed at the Court in 2008. “Choir Boy,” a co-production with Manhattan Theater Club, runs at the Court Upstairs Sept. 4-Oct. 6, with a Sept. 10 opening. It focuses on minority and masculinity via the ambitions of a choir leader at an all-male, all-black American prep school.

Ian Rickson (“Jerusalem”) reunites with Jez Butterworth — all of whose plays he has directed — for “The River.” Designed by Ultz and running Oct. 18-Nov. 17, with an Oct. 26 opening, the play is set in a remote cabin on top of cliffs on a moonless night.

E.V. Crowe, whose striking Court debut “Kin” saw her shortlisted for the Evening Standard’s Most Promising Playwright Award, returns with “Hero.” Directed by Jeremy Herrin (“That Face,” “Absent Friends”), the play examines the dilemmas facing a gay and seemingly undaunted elementary school teacher. Production runs Nov. 23-Dec. 22, with a Nov. 28 opening.

This is the penultimate season from Cooke, who will be succeeded by Vicky Featherstone. In addition to running the two stages in its home venue, Cooke’s Court is co-producing a season of West End transfers of its homegrown hits “Posh” by Laura Wade, “Jumpy” by April de Angelis and “Constellations” by Nick Payne. Its SRO productions of “Belong” and “Vera Vera Vera” have also transferred to Theater Local, Peckham, a new community arts space in South London.

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