London's Almeida Theatre has announced its spring 2022 season, including Jeremy O. Harris' “Daddy” and Beth Steel's The House of Shades, following the postponement of their initial runs at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also part of the upcoming season are Omar Elerian’s new version of Eugène Ionesco’s The Chairs and The Key Workers Cycle, a collection of new plays starring a local company of actors.
Elerian will also direct his version of Ionesco’s The Chairs, which will be presented February 5–March 5 with an official opening February 10. The production, which sees an old man and an old woman set out chairs ready for the arrival of a special audience, will have designs by Cécile Trémolières and lighting design by Jackie Shemesh. The cast will feature Olivier winner Kathryn Hunter, Complicité Co-Founder Marcello Magni, and Olivier-winning choreographer and performer Toby Sedgwick.
The Key Workers Cycle, nine plays penned by Francesca Beard, Sonali Bhattacharyya, Josh Elliott, Annie Jenkins, Eno Mfon, Nessah Muthy, Danusia Samal, Yomi Ṣode, and Molly Taylor, will be offered March 9–12. The short plays celebrate the humor, hope, and stories of those who keep our daily lives running—social workers, teachers, funeral directors, midwives, supermarket workers, and more—and will be performed by a company of professional actors, local community participants, and key workers.
The U.K. premiere of "Daddy"—written by Slave Play Tony nominee Harris—is now set for March 26-April 30 with an official opening April 5. Directed by Danya Taymor, the production will also have set design by Matt Saunders, costume design by Montana Levi Blanco, lighting design by Isabella Byrd, sound design by Lee Kinney, movement direction by Anjali Mehra, musical direction by Tim Sutton, intimacy and fight direction by Yarit Dor, and casting by Amy Ball. Casting will be announced for the play, which concerns a young Black artist who meets an older white art collector.
The world premiere of Steel's The House of Shades will follow, running May 7–June 18 with an official opening May 17. Blanche McIntyre directs the new play, which spans five decades of the lives, and deaths, of the Webster family. The cast will feature Beatie Edney, Natalie Gavin, Carol Macready, Anne Marie-Duff, Mark Meadows, Daniel Millar, and Issie Riley. The production will also have set design by Anna Fleischle, costume design by Liam Bunster, lighting design by Richard Howell, and sound design by Gregory Clarke. Casting is by Annelie Powell.
Details have also been announced for the Anthem playwriting project. Inspired by Lolita Chakrabarti’s Hymn, Anthem will support 12 young Black playwrights: Nathaniel Brimmer-Beller, Kelly Emelle, Justice Ezi, Rebecca Goulding, Fisola Kelly-Akinnuoye, Roberta Livingston, Temi Majekodunmi, Rachel Oyawale, Taiwo Ava Oyebola, Rianna Simons, Esohe Uwadiae, and Alexander Uzoka. Led by Participation Associate Abi Falase, the writers have been mentored by dramaturg Ola Animashawun since May, and scenes from their 12 plays will be performed for the public in February.
Meanwhile, following acclaimed runs at the Almeida and in the West End, Robert Icke’s productions of Oresteia and Hamlet will transfer to New York's Park Avenue Armory beginning May 31 and continuing through August 13. Lia Williams returns to her role as Klytemnestra in Oresteia, for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award, and Alex Lawther (The Imitation Game) stars as Hamlet.