Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in Everyman, the latest offering in the National Theatre Live series

Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in Everyman.Photo: Richard Hubert-Smith.

Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in Everyman.Photo: Richard Hubert-Smith.

BAFTA winner and Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) takes the title role in EVERYMAN, a dynamic new production of one of English drama’s oldest plays, directed by the National Theatre’s new director Rufus Norris (Broken, London Road).

The production, filmed in the National Theatre for NTLive, will be screened at Cinema Nouveau theatres in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town from Saturday, August 15, for four screenings only.

Everyman (Ejiofor) is successful, popular and riding high when Death (played by Dermot Crowley) comes calling. He is forced to abandon the life he has built and embark on a last, frantic search to recruit a friend, anyone, to speak in his defence. But Death is close behind, and time is running out.

One of the great primal, spiritual myths, EVERYMAN asks whether it is only in death that we can understand our lives. A cornerstone of English drama since the 15th century, it now explodes onto the stage in a startling production with words adapted by Carol Ann Duffy, the British Poet Laureate.

For this production, set design is by Ian MacNeil, with costumes by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting by Paul Anderson, choreography and movement direction by Javier De Frutos, music by William Lyons and sound by Paul Arditti.

Ejiofor returns to the National – where he last appeared in 2000 as Romeo, Peer Gynt, and in Blue/Orange, receiving the Evening Standard Best Newcomer Award – to play the title role.

His many film and TV performances since then include 12 Years A Slave for which he won the BAFTA Award for leading actor and received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations; A Season in the Congo, Half of a Yellow Sun, 2012, The Shadow Line, Dancing on the Edge, Tsunami: the Aftermath, Kinky Boots and Dirty Pretty Things (Independent Film Award for best actor).

Theatre includes The Seagull (Royal Court) and the title role in Othello at the Donmar, for which he won the Laurence Olivier Award for best actor.

In addition to Ejiofor and Crowley, the cast includes: Stephen Aintree, Philip Martin Brown (Father), Paul Bullion, Adam Burton, Michelle Butterly (Sister), Sharon D Clarke (Mother), Kate Duchene (God), Amy Griffiths, Nick Holder, Nicholas Karimi, Joshua Lacey, Penny Layden, Ira Mandela Siobhan, Coral Messam, Amanda Minihan, Itxaso Moreno, Jeshaiah Murray, Tumo Reetsang, Kiruna Stamell, Clemmie Sveaas and Joshua Tikare.

Carol Ann Duffy is professor and creative director of the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University. She was appointed Poet Laureate in 2009. Her poetry has received many awards, including the Signal Prize for Children’s Verse, the Whitbread, Forward and T. S. Eliot Prizes, and the Lannan and E. M. Forster Prize in America. In 2011 The Bees won the Costa Poetry Award, and in 2012 she won the PEN Pinter Prize.

Rufus Norris’ productions for the National include Behind the Beautiful Forevers (screened earlier this year at Cinema Nouveau), The Amen Corner, Table, London Road, Death and the King’s Horseman and Market Boy. His other work includes Feast, Vernon God Little and Tintin for the Young Vic; the Olivier Award-winning Cabaret in the West End and on tour; Les Liaisons Dangereuses on Broadway; and Festen at the Almeida, West End and New York.

Screen work includes Broken, which won the British Independent Film Award for best film, and the film of London Road, which was released earlier this year.

EVERYMAN can be seen at 7.30 pm on Saturday, August 15, 2.30 pm on Sunday, August 16 and at 7.30 pm on Wednesday, August 19 and Thursday, August 20. The running time of this production is one hour and 40 minutes with no interval.

Visit http://www.cinemanouveau.co.za or sterkinekor.mobi for more information and to book or contact Ticketline at 0861 Movies (668 437).

Forthcoming productions from NT Live, to be screened at Cinema Nouveau, include:
THE BEAUX’ STRATAGEM by George Farquhar, to be screened from October 10
• Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role in HAMLET, to be screened from November 6
• Charlotte Bronte’s JANE EYRE, to be screened from January 23
• Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT, to be screened from March 16

National Theatre Live enables audiences to experience the best of British theatre throughout the year, as the NT brings cameras into the auditorium to record and broadcast performances from stage to screen.

Over three and a half million people have experienced a National Theatre Live broadcast via satellite, both live and time-delayed, in more than 2 000 venues in over 40 different countries around the world, including South Africa.

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