Matt Smith, acclaimed for his leading roles in Doctor Who and The Crown, will return to the stage for the first time since 2020 in an upcoming West End production. Smith will be featured in the first English-language rendition of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, directed by German theatre specialist, Thomas Ostermeier. The show is scheduled to run for two months, starting from 6 February, at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London.
In the new production, Smith is set to embody the character of doctor Thomas Stockmann. Stockmann, a medical officer, finds that the local public baths, a significant source of his spa town’s prosperity, is contaminated. Despite facing opposition, he plans to reveal his findings and demands the city administration to rectify the water pipes, resulting in his vilification.
Smith expressed his anticipation, labeling his involvement as a unique project and an honour. He further shared his admiration for Ostermeier’s work, citing an electrifying experience watching his rendition of Richard III. Smith was thrilled when the opportunity to be a part of Ostermeier’s debut in the British stage surfaced, especially with a classic like An Enemy of the People.
Smith’s notable works include his portrayal of the Duke of Edinburgh in Netflix’s The Crown, in addition to appearances in films like Last Night in Soho and Morbius. His last stage appearance was opposite Claire Foy in Lungs, which was performed at Old Vic Theatre in 2019.
The upcoming West End production will mark Ostermeier’s English-language directorial debut. The play, which was originally written by Ibsen in 1882, has been adapted by Ostermeier and Florian Borchmeyer. Previously, the production was performed in several European cities, New York, and London’s Barbican, albeit only in German.
The german director, reflecting on the significance of the play, stated it was unfortunately more relevant than ever. The context of the play, dealing with self-interest and its corrosive effects, coupled with our era’s debacles around climate change and global warming, makes for an urgent call for an English version of the production. He looks forward to collaborating with Smith, whose body of work has impressed him greatly.
Smith, excited about the upcoming casting process, expressed his eagerness to tread the boards at The Duke of York’s Theatre in the new year.