Tuesday, April 23

Ian McDiarmid in the World Premiere of Julian Barnes’ The Lemon Table

Wiltshire Creative, Malvern Theatres, Sheffield Theatres and HOME in association with MGC today announce Ian McDiarmid in the world première of Julian Barnes’ The Lemon Table, directed by MGC’s Artistic Director Michael Grandage. The production, which McDiarmid has adapted for performance, opens at Salisbury Playhouse part of Wiltshire Creative on 15th October, with a preview on 14th October, before touring to Sheffield Theatres; Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford; HOME Manchester and Malvern Theatres.

In The Lemon Table, Julian Barnes brings his unsentimental, wryly comic, perspective to the complicated business of ageing, with its attendant, and often bizarrely, fluctuating emotions.

Olivier and Tony Award-winning Ian McDiarmid and Michael Grandage have collaborated to bring The Lemon Table to the stage for the first time. In McDiarmid’s one man performance we encounter a spectrum of bitter-sweet pleasures, wild eccentricity and dark secrets.

The Lemon Table sees McDiarmid and Grandage renew their long-term creative collaboration, having previously worked together on productions including The Doctor’s Dilemma (Almeida Theatre and UK tour), The Jew of Malta (Almeida Theatre and UK tour), Henry IV (Donmar Warehouse and UK tour), and John Gabriel Borkman (Donmar Warehouse).

Ian McDiarmid said today, “Two connected stories from Julian Barnes’ The Lemon Table, his witty and touching reflections on mortality and the workings of love, seem positively to invite the engagement and tensions of live performance.

“It’s a delight to be working once again with Michael Grandage and, at this particular time, to be embarking on a tour of the English regions with the enthusiastic support of a cohort of producers and venues.”

Michael Grandage added, “Ian McDiarmid is the reason I’m a director. He has been my collaborator and mentor for over a quarter of a century. We’ve worked together many times, many of those times on tour – we both believe passionately in presenting work to as wide an audience as possible. This year, in particular, it felt important to share this beautiful piece by Julian Barnes with audiences nationwide.”

Julian Barnes is the author of several books of stories, essays, a translation of Alphonse Daudet’s In the Land of Pain, and numerous novels, including the 2011 Man Booker Prize winning novel The Sense of an Ending and the acclaimed The Noise of Time. His other recent publications include Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art and The Only Story. His most recent book The Man in the Red Coat was published in the UK in 2019 and in the US in 2020. Barnes has received several awards and honours for his writing, including the David Cohen Prize for Literature in 2011.

As well as extensive work at the Almeida where he was also Joint Artistic Director from 2000 -2012, Ian McDiarmid’s credits include performances at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, the RSC, The National Theatre and the Royal Exchange, Manchester. His most recent stage credits include Faust x2 (Watermill Theatre), What Shadows (Birmingham Rep), The Merchant of Venice (Almeida Theatre), Bakersfield Mist (Duchess Theatre), The Prince of Homburg, Be Near Me (Donmar Warehouse), Six Characters in Search of an Author (Chichester Festival Theatre and Gielgud Theatre) and Jonah and Otto at Manchester Royal Exchange. He played Teddy in Faith Healer on Broadway, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play. Television work includes 37 Days, Utopia, City of Vice, Our Hidden Lives, Elizabeth I, Charles II, Crime and Punishment, Great Expectations, Karaoke and Hillsborough; his many films include Sleepy Hollow, Restoration, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Lost City of Z and as Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars series.

Michael Grandage is Artistic Director of the Michael Grandage Company (MGC), based in London. For the company he directed The Lieutenant of Inishmore with Aidan Turner, Red with Alfred Molina and Alfred Enoch, Photograph 51 with Nicole Kidman, Hughie with Forest Whitaker, Henry V with Jude Law, A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Sheridan Smith and David Walliams, The Cripple of Inishmaanwith Daniel Radcliffe, Peter and Alice with Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw and Privates on Parade with Simon Russell Beale and Dawn French: 30 Million Minutes; and the feature film Genius with Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman and Jude Law, and the forthcoming My Policeman with Harry Styles and Emma Corrin. He was Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse (2002–2012) and Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres (2000–05), and is currently President of Central School of Speech and Drama. He is the recipient of Tony, Drama Desk, Olivier, Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and South Bank Awards. He was appointed CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2011. His production of Frozen will reopen Theatre Royal Drury Lane later this year.



Salisbury Playhouse, Wiltshire Creative

14 October – 23 October

Box Office: 01722 320333 www.wiltshirecreative.co.uk  

Sheffield Theatres

26 – 30 October

Box Office 0114 249 6000 / www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

9 – 13 November

Box Office: 01483 44 00 00 / www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk  

HOME Manchester

16 – 20 November

Box Office: 0161 200 1500 / www.homemcr.org  

Malvern Theatres

23 – 27 November Box Office: 01684 892277 / www.malvern-theatres.co.uk