National Theatre’s acclaimed drama heads for Norwich

HEDDA GABLER – November 7-11

Direct from a sold-out run in London, the National Theatre’s acclaimed new version of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler is set to head out for an autumn and winter tour around the UK and Ireland, coming to Norwich Theatre Royal from November 7-11.

A thrillingly dark masterpiece which takes the audience on a journey through every human emotion possible, it centres on a free-spirited woman who is newly-married and feeling trapped. Just returned from honeymoon, the relationship is already in trouble and Hedda tries to control those around her, only to see her own world unravel.

A complex and ultimately destructive personality, she is regarded as one of the greatest dramatic female roles in theatre, and has previously been played by iconic actresses such as Ingrid Bergman, Janet Suzman, Glenda Jackson and Diana Rigg.

This bold and modern version of Ibsen’s play has been adapted by Olivier and Tony Award-winning playwright Patrick Marber (performer in TV’s The Day Today, Closer, Three Days in the Country and Knowing Me, Knowing You…with Alan Partridge).

It is directed by Ivo van Hove, one of the world’s most exciting directors. Olivier and Tony Award-winning van Hove made his National Theatre debut with Hedda Gabler which opened in London last December to critical acclaim.  His acclaimed production of A View from the Bridge also recently played to sold-out houses in London and on Broadway, and Obsession, starring Jude Law, played at The Barbican, London, earlier this year.  Van Hove’s next production for the NT will be the world premiere of Network based on the Oscar-winning film and featuring the UK stage debut of Bryan Cranston.

The cast of Hedda Gabler in rehearsal

Casting for the Hedda Gabler UK tour sees Lizzy Watts in the title role. She boasts a strong theatre pedigree with previous roles in Strife at Chichester Festival Theatre, The Angry Brigade and Artefacts at The Bush, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Globe, Blink for Nabokov and Wasted for Paines Plough. She has also appeared in ITV’s The Durrells as Nancy (Larry Durrell’s girlfriend) and in Midsomer Murders, and she plays Ivy Layton in BBC Radio 4’s Home Front.

Hedda’s husband George Tesman is played by Abhin Galeya (film roles in Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Blue Tower and Wimbledon, and on TV in Silent Witness and Casualty amongst others); while the couple’s friend Brack is played by Adam Best (whose TV roles include Holby City and Silent Witness, and on stage West End productions of The Woman In Black and By The Bog of Cats and on film in Blooded and Cup Cake).

Richard Pyros plays Tesman’s rival Lovborg. As well as being a comedian and writer, he appeared in the 2016 movie Hacksaw Ridge, and took the lead role in the 2007 film The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark.

Also joining the cast is Madlena Nedeva (Trail of the Pink Panther film and others, and on TV Mr Selfridge, The Royal and Dangerfield) as Berte; Christine Kavanagh (credits with the National Theatre, RSC and in the West End, and on TV in the Return of Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Morse, Drop The Dead Donkey and many others) as Juliana; and Annabel Bates (on TV in Luther and in the West End in An Inspector Calls) as Thea.

Set and lighting design for Hedda Gabler is by Jan Versweyveld, with costume design by An D’Huys and sound by Tom Gibbons.  The Associate Directors are Jeff James and Rachel Lincoln.

Playwright Patrick Marber said:  “It has been a huge honour to work with the great Ivo van Hove on this version of Hedda Gabler at the National Theatre. I am thrilled that this tour will enable more people to see his incredible production.”

Judy Foster of Norwich Theatre Royal said: “This superb production absolutely wowed audiences when it was presented at the National Theatre and Norwich audiences are in for a rollercoaster ride of full-blown and exciting drama. Be prepared to have your emotions challenged.”

The National Theatre’s production of Hedda Gabler is here from 7-11 November. Buy tickets now at Norwich Theatre Royal.