THE NATIONAL THEATRE’S HIT SOLD-OUT PRODUCTION OF DEAR ENGLAND, BY JAMES GRAHAM, TRANSFERS TO LONDON’S WEST END FOR A STRICTLY LIMITED 14-WEEK RUN, FROM 9 OCTOBER 2023. A preview by west-end theatre columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International
The National Theatre’s critically acclaimed, production of Dear England that will transfer to the Prince Edward Theatre is a play by James Graham, directed by Rupert Goold, which tells the story of the England men’s football team under Gareth Southgate.
It’s time to change the game. The country that gave the world football has since delivered a painful pattern of loss. Why can’t England’s men win at their own game? With the worst track record for penalties in the world, England manager Gareth Southgate knows he needs to open his mind and face up to the years of hurt to take team and country back to the promised land.
Commissioned by the National Theatre, Dear England was developed with the theatre’s New Work department and had its world premiere in the Olivier theatre on 20 June 2023.
National Theatre Director and Chief Executive, Rufus Norris said: “We’re delighted to be transferring Dear England to the Prince Edward Theatre. James’s brilliant play takes the topic of football and uses it as a fascinating lens on English identity, leadership, flawed masculinity, and how we see ourselves and are seen on a very different world stage. The production has been playing to packed houses all summer creating an electrifying buzz in the auditorium, with Joseph Fiennes’ pitch-perfect portrayal of Gareth Southgate. We’re so pleased that Dear England is joining the roster of NT productions transferring to the West End this year, and we’re thrilled that there will now be even more opportunities for new audiences to experience this show.”
Following their acclaimed productions of Tammy Faye and Ink at the Almeida Theatre, writer James Graham (Best of Enemies, Young Vic; Sherwood, BBC) has reunited with director Rupert Goold(Spring Awakening, Almeida Theatre; Judy, 20th Century Fox) for this gripping examination of both nation and game.
Playwright James Graham said:
“To put the National Game on the stage of the National Theatre has been an utter dream and, in particular, to see the subject matter draw in new audiences to watch a play. It fills me with such excitement and joy to be bringing Rupert’s euphoric and entertaining production to the West End, with all its incredible movement and music and – what seems to be, for audiences so far – a deeply moving story inspired by the incredible journey of the men’s England football team.”
Director Rupert Goold said:
“I have thoroughly loved making Dear England with James, at the National Theatre. We have an incredible team of artists and actors and it’s been a joy to see audiences so engaged with this production, many of whom were young people visiting theatre for the first time. I can’t wait to transfer it to the West End and give even more people the opportunity to experience this brilliant play.”
Joseph Fiennes (The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu; The Mother, Netflix) will reprise his role as Gareth Southgate, with further casting to be announced. Goold is joined by set designer, Es Devlin; costume designer Evie Gurney; lighting designer, Jon Clark; movement directors, Ellen Kane and Hannes Langolf; sound designers, Dan Balfour and Tom Gibbons, with additional music by Max Perryment and video designer, Ash J Woodward. Casting is by Bryony Jarvis Taylor; dialect coach is Richard Ryder and associate director is Elin Schofield.
Dear England in the West End is supported by American Express, the National Theatre’s Preferred Card Partner.