Travelling Light Press Release | National Theatre





TRAVELLING LIGHT Lyttelton Theatre, on tour & NT Live

Previews from 11 January, press night 18 January 2012, continuing in repertoire

On tour to Salford, Leeds, Aylesbury and Newcastle from March

National Theatre Live broadcast on 9 February 2012


Antony Sher returns to the National to play Jacob in TRAVELLING LIGHT, a new play by Nicholas Wright, directed by Nicholas Hytner in the Lyttelton Theatre where it opens on 18 January;  the production will also tour to Salford, Leeds, Aylesbury and Newcastle and will be broadcast as part of National Theatre Live on 9 February.  The cast also includes Mark Extance, Colin Haigh, Paul Jesson, Sue Kelvin, Abigail McKern, Damien Molony (as Motl), Lauren O’Neil (as Anna), Karl Theobald and Alexis Zegerman.  TRAVELLING LIGHT will have set designs by Bob Crowley, costumes by Vicki Mortimer, lighting by Bruno Poet, music by Grant Olding and sound by Rich Walsh.


Nicholas Wright’s new play is a funny and fascinating tribute to the Eastern European immigrants who became major players in Hollywood’s golden age.


In a remote village in Eastern Europe, around 1900, the young Motl Mendl is entranced by the flickering silent images on his father’s cinematograph.  Bankrolled by Jacob, the ebullient local timber merchant, and inspired by Anna, the girl sent to help him make moving pictures of their village, he stumbles on a revolutionary way of story-telling.  Forty years on, Motl – now a famed American film director – looks back on his early life and confronts the cost of fulfilling his dreams.


Nicholas Wright’s previous plays for the National include Vincent in Brixton (also on Broadway), The Reporter; Mrs Klein (recently revived at the Almeida), and his adaptations of His Dark Materials, Three Sisters and Thérèse Raquin. His other plays include Cressida (Almeida/West End), Rattigan’s Nijinsky (Chichester) and The Last of the Duchess (Hampstead).


Antony Sher last appeared at the National in his own adaptation of Primo Levi’s If this is a Man, Primo, which transferred to New York and for which he won the Outer Critics’ Circle and Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Solo Performance; the production was also filmed and he received a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor. His extensive stage credits also include, most recently, Arthur Miller’s Broken Glass in the West End, Tomas Stockmann in An Enemy of the People (Sheffield Crucible) and the title role in Kean (West End). His many leading roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company include Prospero, Iago, Macbeth, Leontes, Cyrano de Bergerac, Shylock, Tamburlaine, Henry Carr in Travesties, Shylock, Tartuffe, Molière and Richard III for which he won the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards for Best Actor. His previous NT appearances include Stanley (Olivier Award for Best Actor), Titus Andronicus, Uncle Vanya, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Trial and True West.  His many screen credits include Disraeli in Mrs Brown (Evening Standard Film Awards:  Peter Sellers Award for Comedy), Hitler in Churchill: The Hollywood Years, and Gerald Ballantyne in Home. A distinguished writer, novelist and artist, Antony Sher received a knighthood in 2000.


Travelling Light is Damien Molony’s second professional theatre role, following ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore at West Yorkshire Playhouse. From January 2012 he joins the cast of BBC 3’s Being Human.


Since he became Director of the National in April 2003, Nicholas Hytner has directed Henry V, His Dark Materials, The History Boys, Stuff Happens, Henry IV, Southwark Fair, The Alchemist, The Man of Mode, The Rose Tattoo (with Stephen Pimlott), Rafta, Rafta… , Much Ado About Nothing, Major Barbara, England People Very Nice, Phèdre, The Habit of Art, London Assurance, Hamlet, One Man, Two Guvnors and Collaborators.


On tour

In addition to its run at the National, Nicholas Wright’s new play TRAVELLING LIGHT, with the NT cast led by Antony Sher, will tour to:  The Lowry, Salford (13 – 17 March); Grand Theatre, Leeds (20 – 24 March); Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury (27 – 31 March); and Theatre Royal, Newcastle (3 – 7 April).


National Theatre Live

Travelling Light will filmed live and broadcast to hundreds of cinemas in the UK and worldwide on 9 February 2012 (varying dates internationally).  For further details visit


Press night:   Wednesday 18 January

Contact:   Lucinda Morrison on 020 7452 3232;