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Thursday, 4 April, 2002, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Shaw 'transforms' National stage
Fiona Shaw
Fiona Shaw starred in Harry Potter film
Actress Fiona Shaw is to launch the National Theatre's new performance space as she devises and acts in its first show.

A 1.5m project entitled Transformation has seen the theatre's Lyttleton Studio split into two separate stages.

The idea behind the scheme is to create a more intimate relationship between actor and audience and to introduce a younger generation to London theatre.

I am working for a thriving, refreshed, broad-based new audience

Trevor Nunn
Between May and September it will be home to five contemporary pieces of work by leading theatre innovators.

The first production will an adaptation of Jeanette Winterson's novel The Powerbook.

The play has been devised by Fiona Shaw, director Deborah Warner and Winterson.

Super Mario Bros

Opening on 9 May, it will also star Enigma actress Saffron Burrows as well as Shaw.

Warner and Shaw's work together includes Medea which won the 2001 Evening Standard Award for best director and best actress.

They also paired up on TV films The Wasteland and Richard II.

Shaw's film career spans both weighty classics and lightweight Hollywood fare from Jayne Eyre to Super Mario Bros.

Her last outing saw her playing Aunt Petunia in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

Future belief

She has also been a regular at the National Theatre including performances in Machinal, The Good Person of Sichuan and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

Winterson's books include Oranges are not the Only Fruit, The Passion, Sexing the Cherry and Written on the Body.

Trevor Nunn, director of the National, said: "I think it's vital we communicate a sense of the National's belief in its future and what it can accomplish.

"I am working for a thriving, refreshed, broad-based new audience, including a body of young people under 30 with a theatre-going habit; a new generation of artistic and administrative talent committed to taking the National forward."

Other productions during the season include A Prayer for Owen Meany from the John Irving novel, The Birds and Matthew Bourne's Play Without Words.

See also:

01 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Shaw shines as murderous Medea
21 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Young Daniel gets Potter part
20 Mar 01 | Arts
From Medea to Muggle
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