- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 26, 2011

LONDON (AP) - A musical by singer-songwriter Tori Amos and a new play from Mike Leigh are among productions being staged by Britain’s National Theatre over the next year.

Amos has written music and lyrics for a play based on “The Light Princess,” a 19th-century fairy tale by Scottish writer George MacDonald. The theater announced Wednesday that it will be staged at the London venue early in 2012.

Writer-director Leigh, who was nominated for an Academy Award this week for the screenplay to his film “Another Year,” has started work with an ensemble of actors on a play that as yet has no script and no title and is due to open in September.


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Leigh’s plays, like his films, are developed collaboratively during rehearsals.

“I have absolutely no idea what’s in his mind,” said the venue’s artistic director, Nicholas Hytner.



Leigh staged a play about Jewish identity, “Two Thousand Years,” at the National in 2005.

Other season highlights include “One Man, Two Guvnors,” an updated version of 18th-century comedy “A Servant of Two Masters” featuring “History Boys” and “Gavin and Stacey” star James Corden, which opens in May.

There is also a new and so far untitled play by Irish writer Conor McPherson _ the author of “The Weir” and “Shining City” _ that opens in October. The same month sees the opening of “Collaborators,” a play by John Hodge _ writer of the screenplay for “Trainspotting” _ that imagines a meeting between Soviet leader Josef Stalin and long-banned writer Mikhail Bulgakov, author of “The Master and Maragarita.”

Britain’s flagship state-funded theater has had a run of successes in recent years, transferring several hits to Broadway and broadening its audience through a discount ticket policy.

But like many major arts organizations, it is facing a likely cut in funding as the government slashes spending in a bid to reduce Britain’s deficit.

Hytner said the company would continue to take risks, despite tough times.

“When the economy is down, we should be up,” he said. “I don’t want to go timid and stop spending just because the economy is contracting.”

___

Online: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk

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