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New Norris bows at Royal Court

Outgoing leader sets last slate at London theater

LONDON

Five world preems including “The Low Road,” by Pulitzer and Tony winner Bruce Norris (“Clybourne Park”), and “No Quarter,” by Polly Stenham, headline Dominic Cooke’s outgoing season as a.d. of London’s Royal Court Theater.

Commissioned by the Court, “The Low Road” runs March 21-April 27 on the main stage with a March 27 opening. A fable of free market economics and cut-throat capitalism, it is helmed by Cooke, who directed Norris’ “The Pain and the Itch” and “Clybourne Park,” the latter SRO production transferring to the West End, where it won the Olivier for play. It will be Cooke’s final production at the Court, which he has led for almost seven years.

Royal Court discovery Stenham — whose debut “That Face” won her both of the U.K.’s awards for promising playwrights, transferred to the West End and was seen in Gotham in a Manhattan Theater Club production — returns with “No Quarter.” A study of inheritance and a twist on conventional drawing-room drama, the play marks Stenham’s third collaboration with helmer Jeremy Herrin. Designed by Tom Scutt and lit by Philip Gladwell, it opens the 2013 season at the Court’s Theater Upstairs and runs Jan. 11-Feb. 9 with a Jan. 19 press night.

The mainstage season opens with “If You Don’t Let Us Dream, We Won’t Let You Sleep” (Feb. 15-March 9), the Royal Court debut from Anders Lustgarten. Winner of the inaugural Harold Pinter Playwright’s Award, the play looks at the politics of global banking and austerity. Helmed by Court associate director Simon Godwin, it opens Feb. 20.

“A Time to Reap,” by Polish dramatist Anna Wakulik, runs Feb. 22-March 23 with a Feb. 27 opening in the Theater Upstairs. Translated by Catherine Grosvenor and helmed by Caroline Steinbeis, the play moves from a forested village to London in a drama about abortion, the Catholic Church and the Polish diaspora. The play was written when Wakulik attended the Court’s 2011 International Residency for Emerging Playwrights and has since been developed there.

The final play of the season, currently untitled, is written and directed by Anthony Neilson (“The Wonderful World of Dissocia”). Themes and details are all under wraps for a play that will be created in the rehearsal room. Running April 5-May 4, it will open April 10.

Cooke exits in April, when he will be succeeded by Vicky Featherstone.

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