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Matt Smith: Doctor Who star to return to West End stage

Matt Smith attends the "House Of The Dragon" Sky Group Premiere at Leicester Square on August 15, 2022 in London, England
Smith is best known for playing the lead role in Doctor Who from 2010 until 2013 and has also starred in The Crown

Former Doctor Who star Matt Smith is to return to the stage for the first time since 2020 with a new role in London's West End.

He will star in the first English-language production of German director Thomas Ostermeier's version of Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People.

The show will run at the Duke of York's Theatre for two months from 6 February.

Smith called it a "unique project" and said it was "an honour" to be working with Ostermeier.

The new production will see Smith play doctor Thomas Stockmann, a medical officer who finds the public baths are contaminated.

Stockmann wants to publish his discovery in the newspaper and demand that the city council re-route the water pipes.

But he faces opposition because the prosperity of his native spa town depends on the baths. When he refuses to let the truth be silenced, he is declared a public enemy.

'More relevant than ever'

Smith said: "Thomas Ostermeier pushes the form and boundaries of theatre; I have been a fan for quite some time. Seeing his Richard III with Lars Erdinger was electric.

"When I heard he was interested in coming to the British stage for the first time, with Ibsen's classic An Enemy of the People I was delighted to say the least. It is an honour to be able to work with him on this great play and become part of this unique project."

Smith is best known for playing the lead role in Doctor Who from 2010 until 2013.

He has gone on to play the Duke of Edinburgh in Netflix's The Crown and has appeared in such films as Last Night in Soho and Morbius.

Smith last appeared on stage opposite Claire Foy in Lungs, which played at the Old Vic in 2019.

The duo returned to the production the following year for a handful of socially distanced virtual performances during the first Covid-19 lockdown.

German theatre director, Thomas Ostermeier, poses during a photo session on September 19, 2018 at the Comedie Française theater in Paris
The West End production marks the English-language debut for German director Thomas Ostermeier

Ibsen's 1882 play has been adapted jointly by Ostermeier and Florian Borchmeyer. This production has previously played around Europe, in New York and at London's Barbican, but has only previously been performed in German.

In those productions, audience members were asked to vote on the debate at the heart of the play.

The result was "a bit like an unusually rowdy version of the BBC's Question Time", according to a 2014 review of the Barbican run by the Guardian's Michael Billington. "I've rarely seen a more exciting use of audience participation."

The New York Times' critic Charles Isherwood said: "Although An Enemy of the People does not come close to being Ibsen's most psychologically rich drama, his depiction of the insidious manner in which self-interest can corrupt even the morally mature is still astute and disturbing."

Speaking about the new production, Ostermeier said: "As we face the immediate impact of climate change and global warming, and our seeming incapacity to change these burning threats, Ibsen's An Enemy of the People is unfortunately more relevant than ever.

"This is an urgent reason to create an English version of the production for London, and I look forward to collaborating with Matt Smith, an actor whose body of work I greatly admire."

Smith added: "We're beginning an exciting casting process, and I very much look forward to returning to The Duke of York's Theatre early next year."