Entertainment & Arts

Theatre of 2014: A look-ahead

What are the cultural events to look forward to in 2014? The BBC's arts and entertainment team picks some of the big books, films, TV series, albums, exhibitions and shows for the new year. Click on the links or use the tabs above to navigate.

Image caption Lydia Leonard and Nathaniel Parker in rehearsal for Wolf Hall

2014 kicks off with several productions sure to make headlines.

First off the blocks is the RSC's new dramatisation of Hilary Mantel's Man Booker Prize-winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, which opens in Stratford-upon-Avon in January, although previews have already begun.

At Shakespeare's Globe in London, the new candle-lit Jacobean-style Sam Wanamaker Playhouse opens for business with Gemma Arterton as The Duchess of Malfi.

Sam Mendes directs Simon Russell Beale in King Lear at the National Theatre in January, while the Royal Court premieres The Mistress Contract, Abi Morgan's play about a decades-long affair between a real-life US couple.

The centenary of the First World War will be marked by a number of productions around the country.

Rachel Wagstaff's stage adaptation of Birdsong, based on the novel by Sebastian Faulks, goes on tour in February. The same month sees the premiere of Peter Gill's new play Versailles at London's Donmar Warehouse.

In September, Northampton's Royal & Derngate will stage the first adaptation of Pat Barker's Booker-nominated novel Regeneration, about poet and soldier Siegfried Sassoon's experiences in a Scottish war hospital in 1917.

A more ancient war is explored in Simon Armitage's The Last Days of Troy which premieres at the Manchester Royal Exchange in May before it moves to Shakespeare's Globe.

The Globe's line-up also includes Howard Brenton's new play Dr Scroggy's War - the story of teenage survivor from the trenches and his relationship with pioneering plastic surgeon Harold Gillies (in September).

Image caption Gemma Arterton will perform by candlelight in the Duchess of Malfi

The opening production of the Spring-Summer 2014 season at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre sees Suranne Jones, star of Scott and Bailey and Coronation Street, in a stage version of Virginia Woolf's gender-swapping novel Orlando.

There's more gender swapping at the Royal Exchange in the autumn when Maxine Peake takes on Hamlet.

Peake also makes her stage-writing debut with Beryl - about Yorkshire cycling champion Beryl Burton - for the West Yorkshire Playhouse. The production ties in with the 2014 Tour de France, which starts in Yorkshire in July 2014.

The Liverpool Everyman reopens in March after being rebuilt, opening with Twelfth Night starring Matthew Kelly and Nick Woodeson (members of the company in the 70s).

In the year of the Scottish independence referendum, the National Theatre of Scotland's programme includes Kieran Hurley's Rantin', which new artistic director Laurie Sansom hopes "will provoke a dialogue with audiences about Scotland's national identity", as well as The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler - a show about Glasgow's eccentric songwriter and humorist.

Image caption Angela Lansbury and Robert Lindsay are due to tread the boards

In Wales, a year-long festival will mark the centenary of the birth of poet Dylan Thomas. A production of Under Milk Wood, with an all-Welsh cast, will open at Clwyd Theatr Cymru in February and tour Wales and England.

A new opera version by John Metcalf will have its world premiere at Taliesin Arts Centre in April.

In the West End. Angela Lansbury is back on the London stage for the first time in almost 40 years as Madame Arcati in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit at the Gielgud Theatre (from 18 March). Robert Lindsay makes his musical theatre return in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Savoy in March. Lindsay was last seen in a musical playing Fagin in Oliver!, a performance that won him an Olivier award in 1997.

Film-to-stage adaptations include Fatal Attraction at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in March, directed by Trevor Nunn, and Shakespeare in Love, adapted by Lee Hall and directed by Declan Donellan, at London's Noel Coward Theatre in July.

Image caption Miss Saigon returns to the West End a quarter of a century after its debut

Among 2014's crop of musicals are Harry Hill's I Can't Sing! The X Factor Musical at the London Palladium in February, with Nigel Harman as Simon Cowell.

Kinks fans might want to check out Sunny Afternoon, charting the band's rise to stardom during the 1960s, opening at Hampstead Theatre in April.

Miss Saigon is back for its 25th anniversary at the Prince Edward Theatre in May.

And for something a bit different, in February St James Theatre hosts the UK premiere of Urinetown The Musical, a satire set in the future where a water shortage has led to a ban on all private toilets and the public must use expensive corporate-run amenities. Form an orderly queue!