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The Cherry Orchard (2011)

The Cherry Orchard (3)


A play by Anton Chekhov, in a version by Andrew Upton; performed at the Olivier, National Theatre, London, from 10 May (opened 17 May) - 13 August 2011.

The performance on 30 June 2011 was broadcast live in numerous cinemas worldwide, as part of the 2011 National Theatre Live (also known as NT Live) season.  A recording of the broadcast was shown in cinemas too, on various later dates.


The Cherry Orchard (3) image #1

The picture above shows Zoë Wanamaker as Ranyevskaya, the beleaguered owner of the cherry orchard.  It features on the promotional leaflets used to advertise the production.

More photos from The Cherry Orchard can be found in the National Theatre's rehearsal gallery and production gallery.  For larger versions of the production photos, see Playbill's Cherry Orchard photo gallery.  Numerous other Cherry Orchard photos appear on Photoshelter.


Russian aristocrat Ranyevskaya returns to the family home and beloved cherry orchard, having frittered away much of her fortune during years spent abroad.  Both she and her wistful brother, Gaev, seem unable to comprehend the danger in which their perilous financial position places them and their dependents, as Russia edges towards its 1917 revolution. 

Only their resourceful acquaintance, Lopakhin, who was raised in poverty but is now a wealthy entrepreneur, seems clear-sighted enough to come up with a plan to save them.  His businesslike tone as he discusses the future of the land on which the orchard has long stood, however, offends and upsets Ranyevskaya.  Will Lopakhin be able to persuade this once great lady to act decisively, before her family's fate is sealed?

For more insight into this production, watch The Cherry Orchard trailer.


Zoë Wanamaker ... Madame Ranevskaya

Claudie Blakley ... Varya

Charity Wakefield ... Anya

Conleth Hill ... Lopakhin

Mark Bonnar ... Trofimov

Pip Carter ... Yepihodov

Kenneth Cranham ... Firs

Gerald Kid ... Yasha

James Laurenson ... Gaev

Tim McMullan ... Simyonov-Pischik

Emily Taaffe ... Dunyasha

Sarah Woodward ... Charlotta

Paul Dodds ... Station Master

Craige Els ... Passer-by


Director: Howard Davies
Designer: Bunny Christie
Lighting Designer: Neil Austin
Sound Designer: Paul Groothuis
Music: Dominic Muldowney


Zoë discusses playing the 'fascinating' Ranyevskaya in a short film from the National Theatre.  The Cherry Orchard's director, Howard Davies, and designer, Bunny Christie, also appear.

The Cherry Orchard was part of the National Theatre's Travelex £12 Season, which means the majority of tickets for performances were reduced in price to just £12.  The initiative aimed to encourage first-time and occasional theatregoers to come to the theatre, as well as making theatre more accessible to those on low incomes.  Two of Zoë's previous productions, His Girl Friday (2003) and The Rose Tattoo (2007), were part of Travelex £10 Seasons.

Howard Davies is among the directors with which Zoe works most frequently.  He directed her previous stage production, All My Sons (2010), as well as Piaf (1978, UK production), Piaf (1981, US production), The Time of Your Life (1983), Mother Courage and Her Children (1984), The Crucible (1990), and Battle Royal (1999).

Zoe's other productions as a member of the National Theatre Company include: The Importance of Being Earnest (1982), The Bay at Nice and Wrecked Eggs (1986), Mrs Klein (1988), The Crucible (1990), Battle Royal (1999), His Girl Friday (2003), The Rose Tattoo (2007), and Much Ado About Nothing (2007).

Zoë has appeared in two other productions of The Cherry Orchard, both of which took place early in her career.  She performed the play first in Manchester, and then in Edinburgh.

Press coverage

'Nicholas Hytner reveals NT plans for 2011' - The Stage

'Zoe Wanamaker in NT Orchard, New Live Number' - Whatsonstage.com

'Zoe Wanamaker to Star in National Theatre's The Cherry Orchard '11' - Broadway World

'Zoë Wanamaker to Star in National Theatre's Cherry Orchard, Howard Davies to Direct' - Theater Mania

'Zoë Wanamaker: My secret path into The Cherry Orchard' - Telegraph

'National Theatre's Cherry Orchard Will Hit the Big Screen June 30' - Playbill

'Zoë  Wanamaker is magnificent as Ranyevskaya, suggesting, to an unprecedented extent, the acuteness of this woman's emotional intelligence' - Paul Taylor, Independent

'Zoe Wanamaker plays Ranyevskaya excellently as a woman who combines utter financial recklessness with a fierce emotional intelligence' - Michael Billington, Guardian

'Zoe Wanamaker heart-wrenchingly captures the character's mixture of reckless frivolity and sudden moments of piercing grief and guilt' - Charles Spencer, Telegraph

'Zoe Wanamaker gives us a finely-judged Ranyevskaya' - Ben Dowell, The Stage

'[Zoe as] Ranyevskaya is charmingly funny and impulsive, almost skipping around with nervous energy that conceals repressed griefs' - Kate Bassett, Independent on Sunday

'Zoe Wanamaker conveys passion and self-centredness with great sensitivity and an array of understated details' - Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard

'Zoe Wanamaker is simply first-class as the passionate and occasionally fiery Madame Ranyevskaya' - Peter Brown, London Theatre Guide

'Zoe Wanamaker's moments of emotional resilience are striking' - Naima Khan, Spoonfed

'Wanamaker is an enjoyably heart-on-sleeve Ranyevskaya, skipping girlishly one moment, in tears the next' - Warwick Thompson, Bloomberg


The Cherry Orchard digital programme - National Theatre Live

The Cherry Orchard canvas and print - National Theatre Posters

The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, in a version by Andrew Upton (text published by Faber and Faber)

Related links

The Cherry Orchard photos and production information - National Theatre

The Cherry Orchard live broadcast information - National Theatre Live

National Theatre Live: The Cherry Orchard production information - IMDB

With thanks to Nadine for some of the links.

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