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Ralph Fiennes to return to UK's National Theatre

LONDON (AP) — New plays by theatrical giants Tom Stoppard and David Hare and the stage return of Ralph Fiennes are highlights of the next year at Britain's National Theatre.

The theater announced Thursday that Hare's adaptation of Katherine Boo's acclaimed book about Mumbai, "Behind the Beautiful Forevers," will open in November. Stoppard's as-yet-untitled play will run from January 2015.

Fiennes — currently onscreen in Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" — will star in George Bernard Shaw's political-philosophical drama "Man and Superman" from February. The coming year will also see a trilogy by Rona Munro about three 15th-century Scottish kings — a timely co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland as Scots prepare to vote on independence in September.

Artistic director Nicholas Hytner said the plays are "very much about Scottish identity," and the companies relished the thought that they would be performed as the independence debate rages. The season is the last under Hytner, who has led the London-based theater since 2003. His replacement, Rufus Norris, takes over next year.

The National has often played to full houses during Hytner's reign, which saw the company produce international hits including "War Horse," ''The History Boys" and "One Man, Two Guvnors." The theater and says it expects to break even financially this year despite the cancelation of one of its West End productions, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time." The play's run was called off after part of a ceiling at London's Apollo Theater collapsed mid-performance in December, injuring almost 80 people.

The National Theatre says it is waiting to learn whether a 3 million pound ($4.8 million) insurance claim over the incident will be accepted.

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