In need of a culture fix this autumn? Get booking as some of Hollywood’s finest luminaries take to the West End stage
A spell on the stage is a must for most serious actors at some point in their careers; no matter how many blockbuster credits they’ve clocked up.
Plays demand a different, more intimate energy from film and TV stars, with all the tension of delivering in the moment.
From Maisie Williams’ stage debut to Sophie Okonedo’s slant on Shakespeare, come see which high-profile actors are treading the boards in the West End this season - diaries at the ready…
Cate Blanchett makes her National debut
Two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett makes her debut at the National Theatre in When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other, a contemporary drama about sexual desire and its toxic impact on men, women and the roles that they play.
January 2019, National Theatre
Maisie Williams plays stage for the first time
It may feel surreal seeing Maisie Williams outside her usual territory of bloody medieval feuding, but this fresh offering from Hampstead Theatre is well worth the step change. Williams makes her debut in I and You, a compelling story about a housebound teenager who forges an unlikely friendship with a visiting classmate.
From October, Hampstead Theatre
Gillian Anderson joins forces with Lily James
Lily James takes time out from a hectic filming schedule (including an upcoming Richard Curtis project) to join Hollywood royalty Gillian Anderson in this hotly tipped production of All About Eve. Roll up for an explosive exposé of celebrity culture and the dark side of showbiz.
February 2019, Noël Coward theatre
Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo take on Shakespeare
Expect thespian fireworks as heavyweights Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo unite in Antony & Cleopatra. All the usual Shakespeare ingredients - tragedy, treachery, war and passion - are promised in this “triumphant” and “spectacular” stage outing.
On now, National Theatre
Mel Giedroyc gets musical
The former Bake-Off presenter is without her usual sidekick Sue Perkins for a turn in Stephen Sondheim musical Company. The 30-something male lead is swapped for a woman in this production (played by Rosalie Craig) and Giedroyc takes on the part of one of her married best friends. Broadway hot shot Patti LuPone also stars.
On now, Gielgud Theatre
Jade Anouka plays Shakespeare’s most eloquent female lead
You may recognise Jade Anouka from the ITV drama Trauma (she’ll also appear in Cleaning Up this autumn alongside Sheridan Smith) but the actor has a ream of theatre credits to her name, too. Settle in for a powerful performance as she takes on the lead role of Margaret of Anjou, widow to King Henry VI, in this re-telling of four Shakespeare plays.
On now, Royal Exchange Manchester
Rhys Ifans and Indira Varma play at monarchs
Game of Thrones’ Indira Varma is right at home in this dynastic tragi-comedy, playing the first queen to Rhys Ifans’ bombastic king. With the kingdom falling apart, how will the sovereigns fare in the final hours of his life? Settle in for a riotous ride.
On now, National Theatre
An all-star cast tackle Pinter
Pop along to The Harold Pinter Theatre this season and you’ll be rewarded with an all-star cast unpicking the playwright’s surrealist works. Keith Allen, Lee Evans, Tamsin Greig and Meera Syal (pictured) will work their chemistry on-stage in Landscape and A Kind of Alaska. Downton Abbey’s Penelope Wilton will appear in select performances, too.
From October, The Harold Pinter Theatre
Vanessa Redgrave works her magic
A veteran of stage and screen, Vanessa Redgrave is never anything short of captivating. Get set for a stellar performance from her in this re-run of a smash hit Young Vic production. The Inheritance brings a modern-day spin to E. M. Forster’s novel Howard’s End, based around the lives of young, ambitious New Yorkers dealing with the legacy of previous generations.
On now, Noël Coward theatre
Tracy-Ann Oberman steps into the lights
She’s best known for playing Dirty Den’s missus in EastEnders, but Tracy-Ann Oberman gets her teeth into Harold Pinter this winter, with a double billing of his plays Party Time and Celebration. She’s joined by Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet fame and actor Celia Imrie in the bittersweet comedy production.
From December, The Harold Pinter Theatre