Kit Harington is to star as Shakespeare’s Henry V in a contemporary-working day staging that examines the corrupting affect of electricity and “leadership in a time of crisis”.

The output will be introduced in February following year at a recently renovated Donmar Warehouse in London, whose artistic director, Michael Longhurst, has prepared a reopening period of performs discovering the individual’s role in just modern society. Harington, best regarded as Jon Snow in the Tv juggernaut Recreation of Thrones, has previously been seen in the realm of “fantasy leadership”, claimed Longhurst. As Henry V, he will discover “modern political ability and the psychology powering that”. The display will be directed by Max Webster, whose acclaimed Existence of Pi transfers to the West Conclude later on this year.

Webster is “not interested in a creation that has boys waggling swords”, reported Longhurst. “We are, rightly, seriously looking at our leadership in a time of crisis and how it steps up or does not, and how energy can corrupt and what it usually means to have a privileged white person working a region that is a great deal more various than that. And also, of system, our relationship with these throughout the Channel feels absolutely pertinent ideal now – and unification is a topic working even though Henry V.”

‘Access to theatre and fostering that link to society, ideas, neighborhood, empathy and creativeness is vital’ … Michael Longhurst. Photograph: David Jensen

Former Shakespeare productions at the Donmar include things like a searing Coriolanus with Tom Hiddleston, directed by Josie Rourke in 2013. The intimate Covent Backyard theatre, which suits an audience of 251, has a phase “small enough to whisper on and huge adequate to have a entire-sized battle”, claimed Longhurst, who was named as Rourke’s successor as inventive director in 2018. Harington, like Hiddleston, will convey audiences to Shakespeare who might not know the perform, said Longhurst. He praised the Game of Thrones star as an “incredibly delicate actor and extremely funny” and reported it was the right time for him to be using on the function of Henry who has “left powering his lousy boy days and is attempting to step into his electric power as a leader”.

In 2019, the Donmar staged Mike Lew’s engage in Teenage Dick, which relocated Shakespeare’s Richard III to an American high faculty and reimagined the villainous king as a disabled 17-yr-old scholar. A new generation of that engage in, directed by Blythe Stewart, will tour 10 schools in the boroughs of Camden and Westminster this summer time. The very last calendar year has witnessed an “ideological assault on the put of the arts”, mentioned Longhurst. “Politically, we have to stage up to make a stand about what’s useful. Accessibility to theatre and fostering that relationship to culture, strategies, community, empathy and imagination is essential.” About the pandemic, several students have been left without having entry to the theatre. The tour of Teenage Dick, which he calls a “thrilling study of ableism in society”, will carry Shakespeare “in an obtainable sort to a new audience”.

The Donmar’s reopening season commences in September with Lookup Celebration, an interactive present by Inua Ellams (Barber Shop Chronicles) who will execute poetry in response to viewers tips. It claims “laughter, joy and reflection”, mentioned Longhurst. Lookup Occasion is adopted by Like and Other Functions of Violence, an “incredibly going play” by Cordelia Lynn, which jumps through time to take a look at the increase of the significantly proper and “love and inherited trauma” although adhering to the marriage between a Jewish physicist and a leftwing poet. Elayce Ismail directs a forged together with Abigail Weinstock and Richard Katz.

Playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury.
Playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury. Photograph: Dan Wooller/Rex/Shutterstock

Longhurst will immediate a “fist-in-mouth funny” Christmas clearly show, Tim Price’s adaptation of Ruben Östlund’s 2014 black comedy film Drive Majeure. Rory Kinnear stars in the engage in about a holidaying spouse and children who are thrown into a disaster, which reveals the anticipations we have of fathers. Longhurst hopes partners will leave the display bickering about how they’d behave in the exact predicament.

Marys Seacole, which opens in April, really should supply yet another speaking point. Its creator Jackie Sibblies Drury and director Nadia Latif previously collaborated on Fairview at the Younger Vic, a single of 2019’s most probing productions, which Longhurst praised as surprising, demanding and formally ingenious. The perform will take the tale of Mary Seacole, the 19th-century Jamaican-born nurse who cared for soldiers throughout the Crimean war, and jumps as a result of unique eras to look at “different Marys throughout time”. After the horrors of the pandemic, the perform will “make us consider about who has been and who is on our frontline”, he mentioned.

Longhurst is presently directing a revival of Nick Payne’s two-hander Constellations, working with four different casts across its run. It is introduced by the Donmar at the Vaudeville theatre. The Donmar itself, which occupies a internet site as soon as utilized as a brewery and a banana-ripening warehouse, has been undergoing vital creating operates to make it far more welcoming and obtainable. “We’ve been able to open up out the front-of-house spaces and reveal the Donmar’s bones, that beautiful brickwork,” said Longhurst.