Joseph Fiennes To Play England Manager Gareth Southgate in Play

Dear England will run at the National Theatre this summer.
England manager Gareth Southgate.
England manager Gareth Southgate.
Sebastian Frej/MB Media via Getty Images

Gareth Southgate is set to be portrayed in a new play about his career on the London stage – and we have to say the actor set to play the England manager is an inspired bit of casting.

The Handmaid’s Tale actor Joseph Fiennes will star as the footballer-turned-manager in Dear England, a new production debuting at the National Theatre.

According to the BBC, Dear England is “inspired by Southgate’s journey since his infamous penalty miss for England in 1996”, with an official release saying the play is a “gripping examination of both nation and game”.

Writer James Graham said he is grateful to shine a light on the men’s England football team under Gareth’s “cultural reform” which he has found “epic and deeply moving”.

Joseph Fiennes (Photo by Stewart Cook/Variety/Penske Media via Getty Images)
Joseph Fiennes (Photo by Stewart Cook/Variety/Penske Media via Getty Images)
Variety via Getty Images

The scriptwriter, who also wrote the BBC One 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.

“The experience of working on This House at the National Theatre 10 years ago changed my life as an emerging writer.

“Now, with Dear England, to be given the opportunity to shine a light on another public institution in the form of the England men’s football team is, I know, an exciting opportunity.

“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.”

National Theatre director Rufus Norris said: “I am delighted to be welcoming James Graham back to the National Theatre this summer with his new play. Dear England is a captivating examination into the complex psychology of the much loved ‘beautiful game’.”

Dear England will be directed by Rupert Goold, whose credits include directing Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III at the Almeida Theatre, before adapting it into a screenplay for BBC Two, which was nominated for a Bafta.

The play will run at the Olivier Theatre from 10 June until 11 August, with further casting to be announced.

Gareth made 57 appearances for England as a player, but is probably best remembered for missing a crucial penalty kick against Germany in the Euro 96 semi-final at Wembley.

He went on to manage the national side, leading them to a World Cup semi-final in 2018 and the Euro 2020 final.


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