14 October 2021 - 27 November 2021

London UK WC2H 0DA Charing Cross Road

The Lemon Table

By Julian Barnes
Directed by Michael Grandage and Titas Halder
Cast: Ian McDiarmid


Wiltshire Creative, Malvern Theatres, Sheffield Theatres and HOME in association with MGC present Ian McDiarmid in the world première of Julian Barnes’ The Lemon Table, directed by MGC’s Artistic Director Michael Grandage.

A play in two parts, The Lemon Table celebrates a love of music, live performance, and life itself. In the first half we are introduced to an obsessive concert goer who goes to unorthodox lengths to enjoy his evening. In the other, the concert's composer reflects on the music he has created - his successes, his failures, and the life he has lived.

A darkly funny and beautifully written evening that celebrates our return to live performance and the artists that make it.


Tour Dates:

Salisbury Playhouse, Wiltshire Creative

14 – 23 October 


Sheffield Theatres

26 – 30 October 


Cambridge Arts Theatre

2 - 6 November 


Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

9 – 13 November 


HOME Manchester

16 – 20 November


Malvern Theatres

23 – 27 November 

The Lemon Table 14 October 2021 - 27 November 2021

Ian McDiarmid

Ian McDiarmid was born in Carnoustie. He attended St Andrews University, graduating with a Master’s Degree in Social Science and, subsequently, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, winning the gold medal.

As a leading theatre actor, he has appeared with all the major theatre companies, in the West End and on Broadway, receiving many awards, including an Olivier and a Tony.

From 1990 to 2002, he was joint Artistic Director of London’s Almeida Theatre, helping to establish its international reputation.

His many television and film roles include Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars films. 

Julian Barnes


Julian Barnes is the author of twenty-four books including, most recently, The Man in the Red Coat.

He received the Man Booker Prize for The Sense of an Ending and has also received the Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the David Cohen Prize for Literature, and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the French Prix Médicis and Prux Femina; the Austrian State Prize for European Literature; the Jerusalem Prize; and in 2017 he was awarded the Légion d’Honneur by the French government.

His work has been translated into more than forty languages.

He lives in London.

Michael Grandage


Michael Grandage is the recipient of Tony, Olivier, Drama Desk, Critics Circle and South Bank Awards.

He was the Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres (2000-2005) and Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse (2002-2012). He is currently Artistic Director of MGC, a company he set up in 2012 to produce work across all media.

He has been working with Ian McDiarmid for over twenty five years and has previously directed him in John Gabriel Borkman (Donmar) and on three UK tours – The Doctor’s Dilemma (Almeida), The Jew of Malta (Almeida) and Pirandello’s Henry IV (Donmar).

He has directed over fifty plays, four operas and numerous works for screen. He won a Tony for his production of John Logan’s Red starring Eddie Redmayne and Alfred Molina which he later filmed for television. Other new plays include Peter Morgan’s Frost/Nixon starring Frank Langella and Michael Sheen, The Cut by Mark Ravenhill starring Ian McKellen, Peter and Alice starring Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw and Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51 starring Nicole Kidman.

His Olivier Award-winning musicals include Merrily We Roll Along, Grand Hotel and Guys and Dolls. His critically acclaimed production of Evita was the first major revival in the West End and on Broadway. For Disney, he has directed Frozen - The Musical on Broadway and most recently in London’s West End.

His feature film Genius starring Colin Firth, Jude Law and Nicole Kidman opened the Berlin Film Festival in 2016 and his latest film, My Policeman, starring Harry Styles and Emma Corrin will be released by Amazon in 2022.

Titas Halder


Titas is a director and writer working in Theatre, Film and Music. He trained as Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse and the Royal Court Young Writers Programme. 

He was nominated for Best Writer at the Stage Debut Awards for his first play Run the Beast Down. His play The Basement was shortlisted for the Verity Bargate Award. He is currently writing his first feature film.

Directing credits include: Sinners Club (Soho Theatre), St. Nicholas (The Other Room and Theatr Clwyd), Play/Silence (The Other Room), A Boy and His Soul (Kiln), The Dance of Death (Donmar Trafalgar), The Goat at Midnight (66 Books - Bush Theatre), Painting a Wall (Finborough).

As Associate Director: Consent (National Theatre and West End), King Lear (Donmar Warehouse, UK Tour, Brooklyn Academy of Music).

Writing includes: Escape the Scaffold (Theatre 503 and The Other Room), Run the Beast Down (Finborough Theatre and Marlowe Theatre).

Frankie Bradshaw

Set & Costume Designer

Frankie studied a BA Theatre and Performance Design at LIPA. 

Theatre credits include: The Long Song (Chichester Festival Theatre), Piaf, Skellig (Nottingham Playhouse), Sweat (West End/Donmar Warehouse) for which Frankie jointly won the Stage Debut award for Best West End Debut with director Lynette Linton, Hamlet (National Theatre Primary Tour), Two Trains Running (Royal & Derngate/UK Tour), Cinderella (Lyric Hammersmith), A Christmas Carol (Theatre Clwyd), Napoli Brooklyn (UK Tour/Park Theatre), Trying It On (UK Tour/RSC/Royal Court), Kiss Me Kate, Jerusalem, Nesting, Robin Hood (Watermill Theatre), Hansel (Salisbury Playhouse), Cookies (Theatre Royal Haymarket) and On The Exhale (Traverse).

Other: For opera she has designed MacbethIdomeneo and Elizabetta for English Touring Opera. For dance she has designed Pinocchio (Northern Ballet).

Paule Constable

Lighting Designer

Paule is an associate director of the National Theatre and has designed productions for all the major UK companies including Warhorse (NT and worldwide) and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

Recent productions include: The Midnight Bell for Matthew Bourne, UK Tour. The Normal Heart, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Follies and Angels in America for the National Theatre. She has received 5 Olivier awards, 2 Tony Awards, the Helpmann Award and numerous Critic Circle, Drama Desk and Knight of Illumination awards. 

Her opera designs have been seen all over the world and include Giulio Cesare and Billy Budd at Glyndebourne; Medea at ENO and Ariodante for Vienna Stadtsoper plus Satyagraha at the Metropolitan Opera. She is an associate of Matthew Bourne’s company and designed Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Red Shoes, Dorian Gray and Play Without Words for him. 

Paule is a Royal Designer for Industry.

Ella Wahlström

Sound Designer

Ella trained at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance.

Theatre credits include: Piaf (Nottingham Playhouse), I Think We Are Alone (Frantic Assembly, UK tour), Jellyfish (National Theatre), Peter Pan Goes Wrong (Apollo, Alexandra Palace), Noises Off (Garrick) Letter to a Man (Spoleto Italy, BAM Harvey New York), Wicker Husband (Watermill) Inside Bitch (Royal Court) Trying It On (Edinburgh, RSC) Of Kith and Kin (The Bush, Sheffield) The Life (English Theatre Frankfurt) Black and White (JACC, Kuwait).

Other: Classical music sound design for Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Cello Concerto.


Ryan Day

Associate Lighting Designer

Ryan trained at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Theatre credits include: The Ballad of Corona V (The Big House), Ghost House (The Pit at The Vaults), Dr Faustess (The Cockpit Theatre), Darknet - (Union Theatre), Attempts on Her Life (Drayton Arms Theatre), Primary Steps Recital (Linden Studio at The Royal Ballet School)

Teaser Trailer
Teaser Trailer

Reviews and Marketing

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"an acting masterclass from Ian McDiarmid"
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"you're left craving more of the magnificent Ian McDiarmid"
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"McDiarmid wryly contemplates mortality in his engaging new adaptation of two Julian Barnes short stories"
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"a wonderfully three-dimensional account of Barnes' meditation on old age that justly brought the audience to its feet at its climax"
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"a truly fascinating play"
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"McDiarmid hits the high notes in this melodic must-see show"
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"a very intriguing and moving night of theatre"
"Ian McDiarmid is outstanding"
"this must be one of the most exciting theatrical events to have emerged from lockdown"
The Lemon Table
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