Afterlife is Michael Frayn's first new play for the National Theatre since Democracy, which premiered at the National in 2003 before West End and Broadway transfers. Afterlife opens in the NT Lyttelton in June. Investigating the life of the Austrian impresario and founder of the Salzburg Festival, Max Reinhardt, Afterlife is a grand epic and a highly theatrical work that will be directed by Frayn's long-term collaborator Michael Blakemore. With his morality play 'Everyman', Reinhardt captivated first the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg, and then the city itself, with the play opening the Salzburg festival each year from 1920 until the accession of the Nazis in 1938. As Reinhardt and his company are forced into exile, 'Everyman' is taken to America until life imitates art and Death comes for first Reinhardt's master of ceremonies and chief associate, Kommer, and then for Reinhardt himself.
Michael Frayn's award-winning plays include Alphabetical Order, Make and Break and Noises Off, all of which received Best Comedy of the Year awards, while Benefactors was named Best Play of the Year. Other recent works include Democracy, and Copenhagen, winner of numerous awards including the Evening Standard and Critics' Circle Best Play Awards 1998. In 2007 the Donmar Warehouse premiered his new work The Crimson Hotel.