Jessica Brown Findlay (Sonya), Vanessa Kirby (Elena), Richard Lumsden (Telegin), Hilton McRae (Serebryakov), Tobias Menzies (Astrov) and Ann Queensberry (Nanny) join the previously announced Paul Rhys (Vanya) in Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, a new version created by and directed by Associate Director, Robert Icke, at the Almeida Theatre. Running from 5 February until 26 March 2016, with press night on 12 February, Uncle Vanya is Icke’s next production following the critically acclaimed Oresteia, which ran at the Almeida Theatre, transferred to the West End, and recently won him the Evening Standard Award for Best Director.
Further casting for this production will be announced in the New Year.
Things your life could be:
(1) a farce. (2) a tragedy. (3) pointless. (4) all of the above.
Things you could do about it:
(1) keep living. (2) stop living. (3) stop someone else living. (4) nothing.
Even so, what has your life been worth?
Chekhov’s late masterpiece examines human behaviour in all of its beautiful, terrible, laughable contradiction.
Jessica Brown Findlay was last onstage in Oresteia at the Almeida Theatre/Trafalgar Studios. She is best known for her role as Lady Sybil in the popular ITV drama Downton Abbey. Her other television credits include The Outcast, based on the best-selling novel by Sadie Jones, Jamaica Inn, Channel 4’s Labyrinth and Black Mirror: 15 Million Merits. Jessica made her film debut in 2011 with Albatross and was nominated for her performance in the Best Newcomer categories at both the 2012 British Independent Film Awards and the Evening Standard Film Awards. Her other film credits include Winter’s Tale, Lullaby and The Riot Club. Her most recent film, Victor Frankenstein, alongside James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe, has just been released in the UK.
Vanessa Kirby was last on stage in A Streetcar Named Desire, for which she won the Whatsonstage Award for Best Supporting Actress and Three Sisters at the Young Vic, Edward II and Women Beware Women at the National Theatre, The Acid Test at the Royal Court, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, All My Sons, for which she won the BIZA Rising Star Award (MEN Awards), and Ghosts all for the Octagon Theatre, Bolton and As you Like It for West Yorkshire Playhouse. Her television credits include The Crown, out in 2016 on Netflix, The Dresser, The Frankenstein Chronicles, Great Expectations, Labyrinth and The Hour. Her film credits include Genius, Me Before You, Everest, Jupiter Ascending, Kill Command, Queen and Country, About Time, The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman and The Rise.
Richard Lumsden was last at the Almeida in Our Town, directed by David Cromer. His other theatre credits include We Could Be Heroes at the Bridewell Theatre/Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Northanger Abbey at Greenwich Theatre, Rat in the Skull at Theater Exchange, USA, Hamlet, As You Like It, Master Harold and the Boys at the Haymarket Basingstoke and Amadeus, King Lear, Juno and the Paycock at the New Victoria Theatre. His television credits include Father Brown, Millie Inbetween, Casualty, Trollied, Remember Me, All at Sea, By Any Means, Little Crackers, Vexed, Life of Riley, Summer in Transylvania, The Catherine Tate Show, Garrow’s Law, Grown Ups, U Be Dead, EastEnders, Disconnected, Suburban Shootout, Party Animals, Sugar Rush, Croydon Poisonings, Love Soup, People Like Us, Wonderful You, Is It Legal?, Hornblower, Coogan’s Run, Waterfront Beat, The Sharp End and First of the Summer Wine. His film credits include Downhill, Heart of Lightness, Sightseers, City Slackers, Morris: A Life With Bells On, Atilla the Hun, Silent Cry, Room to Rent, The Avengers and Sense and Sensibility. Richard’s writing credits include Wonderful You (ITV), We Could Be Heroes for Bridewell Theatre/Yvonne Arnaud/Arts Theatre, five plays for Radio 4 including The Six Loves of Billy Binns, Man in the Moon (shortlisted for a Society of Authors Tinniswood Award) and John Dodd Gets Taken for a Ride (shortlisted for a Society of Authors Imison Award).
Tobias Menzies, who has just been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor for Outlander, re-unites with Icke at the Almeida, following the sell out production of The Fever. Other past Almeida credits include Cloud Nine and Platonov. His other stage credits include The Recruiting Officer at the Donmar Warehouse, The Hush and The History Boys for the National Theatre, Searched – Rough Cuts at the Royal Court Theatre, Decade for Headlong, The Children’s Hour at the Harold Pinter Theatre, King Lear at the Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool/Young Vic, The Cherry Orchard at Sheffield Theatres, Hamlet for Theatre Royal, Northampton, Three Sisters at The Playhouse Theatre, Arcadia at the Theatre Royal Northampton/Salisbury Playhouse, Light for Complicite and The Way of the World at the Royal Exchange, Manchester. His TV credits include The Night Manager, Outlander, Catastrophe, The Honourable Woman, Game of Thrones, Silent Witness, Puppy Love, Black Mirror, Doctor Who,The Thick of It, Secret State, Getting On, Eternal Law, The Shadow Line, Any Human Heart, Rome, Law & Order, The IT Crowd, Spooks, Pulling, The Belsen Redemption, Persuasion, A Very Social Secretary, I Saw You and Longitude. His film credits include Black Bird,Black Sea, Hysteria, Forget Me Not, The Duel, Atonement, Casino Royale, Pierrepoint, Piccadilly Jim, Finding Neverland and The Lowdown.
Ann Queensberry was last onstage in Three Sisters at the Young Vic. Her other theatre credits include La Fausse Suivante at the Bouffes du Nord Theatre in Paris before a European tour, Pygmalion and The Schoolmistress at Chichester Festival Theatre. Ann’s television credits include Kingdom, The Romantics, Doctors, Harry and the Wrinklies, Sum of the Parts, Urban Gothic, Midsomer Murders, The Rag Nymph and Jeeves and Wooster. Her film credits include Remainder, Vigilante, Once and for All, Ashes, Untitled, City of Ember, Irina P, Mrs Henderson Presents, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Jane Eyre, Scandal, Wilt, Empire of the Sun, Miss Morison’s Ghosts and Julia.
Hilton McRae was last seen onstage in The Cocktail Party at The Print Room. Hilton’s other theatre credits include The Keepers of Infinite Space at the Park Theatre, Timon of Athens and Caroline, or Change at the National Theatre, The Kreutzer Sonata at The Gate Theatre/Broadway, End of the Rainbow at the Theatre Royal/Northampton/Trafalgar Studios/UK Tour, Experimentum Mundi for the Edinburgh International Festival, Rock ‘n’ Roll at the Manchester Library Theatre, The Oresteia Trilogy at the Fisher Centre for Performing Arts, New York, Weapons of Happiness at the Finborough Theatre, They Have Oak Trees in North Carolina at the Tristan Bates Theatre, The Patriot at the Tron Theatre, Rabbit at the Old Red Lion and Brits Off Broadway Festival at the 59E59 Theaters, Twelfth Night UK Tour, The Comedy of Errors at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre, Hamlet at the Theatre Royal, Northampton, The Tempest at the Southwark Playhouse, Peer Gynt at the Arcola Theatre, My One and Only at the Chichester Festival Theatre and Piccadilly Theatre, Mamma Mia Original Cast at the Prince Edward Theatre, Les Miserables at the Palace Theatre, Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, The Front Page at the Donmar Warehouse, Othello and A Doll’s House at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Hedda Gabler at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Macbeth at the Dundee Repertory Theatre, Le Liaisons Dangereuses at the Royal Shakespeare Company/Broadway, As You Like It, Total Eclipse, Piaf, Much Ado About Nothing, The Innocent, Anthony and Cleopatra, Captain Swing, The Churchill Play, Merchant of Venice and Factory Birds and Bandits at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Hamlet at the New Shakespeare Company. Hilton’s television credits Endeavour, New Tricks, Injustice, Zen, Red Riding Trilogy, The Execution of Gary Glitter, Lewis, Doctors, Holby City, Frances Tuesday, Murder City, Silent Witness, Baby Father, Midsomer Murders, Serious and Organised, Monarch of the Glen, Deacon Brodie, The Justice Game, King of Hearts, First Take, Zorro: The Reward, To Each His Own, William Tell, Roll Over Beethoven, Poppyland, The Kit Curran Radio Show, Fovever Young and Leaving and Gaskin. On film, Hilton has appeared in The Sense of an Ending, Macbeth, Far From the Madding Crowd, Serena, Power of Three, Stroke of Genius, Mansfield Park, Return of the Jedi, Secret Rapture, Greystroke: Legend of Tarzan, and French Lieutenant’s Woman.
Paul Rhys won the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Performance in a Shakespearean Role for the Complicite and National Theatre co-production of Measure for Measure. His work at the National Theatre also includes The Invention of Love and King Lear (for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor). Further stage credits include The Master and Margarita at Barbican Theatre, Hamlet and Long Day’s Journey Into Night both at the Young Vic and Design for Living at the Donmar Warehouse. Recent television credits include Victoria, Casanova, The Assets, Borgia, Being Human, The Queen and Spooks and he won a BAFTA for Best Actor for The Healer. On film, Paul has appeared in Deader, The 10 Commandments, Food of Love, From Hell and Chaplin.
Robert Icke is Associate Director of the Almeida where he most recently directed Oresteia, which also transferred to the West End, and won him the Evening Standard Award for Best Director. Other Almeida credits include The Odyssey and The Illiad, co-directed with Artistic Director, Rupert Goold, The Fever, Mr Burns and 1984, a co-production with Headlong and Nottingham Playhouse, co-created with Duncan Macmillan, which had two UK tours and two West End runs, and for which he also won the 2014 UK Theatre Award. Icke was previously Associate Director at Headlong.
Photo: John Angerson