Emperor and Galilean - Olivier Theatre, National

Post Review
Venue Information
Olivier Theatre, National

Olivier Theatre, National
South Bank

Seating Plan


(10mins) Follow signs for exits to the South Bank. This should lead you to an underground pedestrian passage called ‘Sutton Walk’ that emerges at the South Bank. Turn right and walk along the river Thames until you see the National Theat

Emperor and Galilean

The Olivier stage of The National Theatre is welcoming a host of top talent in 2011, with Danny Boyle’s production of “Frankenstein” receiving widespread attention and Andrew Upton’s The Cherry Orchard appearing with Zoe Wanamaker in the lead role. But these are not the only stand-out productions set to appear on its stage; in June Ian McDiarmid is set to feature in a new production of Henrik Ibsen’s “Emperor and Galilean”. And whilst this is the latest staging of a production that first appeared in the 1890s, it is also a new version from Ben Powers, making it a UK premiere.

“Emperor and Galilean” takes audiences back to Roman times during the rule of Julian the Apostate as he is made Emperor of Rome and attempts to abolish Christianity. The play covers a period of 12 years from 351 to 363 in a period that would shape the history of the world – albeit in a way that Julian could not have imagined. He takes over from the unpopular Constantius and in his attempt to restore the old gods and take the empire back to more Roman values he overtakes him in unpopularity and by stirring the coals of Christian determination he has the effect of advancing their cause rather than hindering it.

So London theatre audiences will be getting an acclaimed and compelling piece from an renowned and celebrated playwright. Ibsen’s work is regularly staged around the capital, from a recent production of “Ghosts” that ran at the Duchess Theatre in 2010 to previous editions of “Peer Gynt”, “Hedda Gabler”, “A Doll’s House” and “The Pretenders”. As such he is remembered as amongst the great playwrights of the 19th century whose influence can still be felt today and whilst “Emperor and Galilean” is one of his lesser-known works, it is still held in high regard by those that are familiar with it.

So it is only right that an actor as celebrated as Ian McDiarmid takes on a major role in the production. Best known to modern audiences for his role as Emperor Palpatine in the “Star Wars” movies his career has also includes screen appearances in “Margaret” and “”City of Vice”, among others. For the stage he has accumulated credits ranging from 1972 to the modern day, with recent appearances in “Be Near Me” at the Donmar Warehouse in 2009 and “The Prince of Homburg”, also at the Donmar Warehouse, in 2010.

Emperor and Galilean appears at the Olivier National Theatre from Wednesday 15th June 2011 (previews from Thursday 9th June 2011) to Sunday 31st July 2011.

Show Information
Booking From: Saturday, 11th June 2011
Booking Until: Wednesday, 10th August 2011
Matinees: Various Times
Evenings: Various Times
Show Status: production_closed
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