Joseph Fiennes to star as Gareth Southgate in National Theatre play this summer

Joseph Fiennes will play Gareth Southgate in a new play at the National Theatre this summer.

The Handmaid’s Tale star will star in Dear England, a new play from Quiz writer James Graham about the England manager and his impact on the men’s national football team.

Directed by Rupert Goold, it will run in the venue’s Olivier theatre from 10 June until 11 August, with tickets going on sale on 9 March.

The synopsis reads: “It’s time to change the game. The country that gave the world football has since delivered a painful pattern of loss. Why can’t England’s men win at their own game?

“With the worst track record for penalties in the world, Gareth Southgate knows he needs to open his mind and face up to the years of hurt to take team and country back to the promised land.”

Discussing the production, Graham, whose recent projects include West End smash Best of Enemies and BBC drama Sherwood, said: “To tell this story of the national game on the stage of the National Theatre is just the greatest thrill, if an intimidating responsibility.

“What Gareth Southgate has attempted in his quiet cultural reform of England football I find epic and deeply moving. And I’m so grateful to be surrounded by some of British theatre’s most exciting creative talent to unite around this new show.”

The poster for Graham’s ‘Dear England' (National Theatre)
The poster for Graham’s ‘Dear England' (National Theatre)

Dear England is not Graham’s first time creating a fictionalised retelling of real British history for the stage, having previously created This House at the National in 2012 about politics in the mid to late Seventies.

He also wrote Quiz, which first was staged in 2017 and followed the 2001 scandal around “coughing major” Charles Ingram, who won £1m on Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

The show was turned into an ITV drama in 2020 starring Matthew Macfadyen, Sian Clifford and Michael Sheen.