Romeo and Juliet – Jessie Buckley (Juliet) and Josh O’Connor (Romeo). Photo: National Theatre
You Wait for One, and Then… Three Come Along at Once!
By Paul Johnson
A single image has been released from the NT’s upcoming production of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, a feature film for broadcast on Sky Arts and PBS this April.
The image features Romeo, played by Josh O’Connor (The Crown, God’s Own Country) and Juliet, played by Jessie Buckley (Chernobyl, Judy), as they meet by moonlight at Juliet’s balcony. The image was taken during filming at the National Theatre.
The National Theatre has also announced that Olivier Award winner Adrian Lester (Life, Undercover) will play the Prince in the film. Also joining the cast is Lloyd Hutchinson as Lord Capulet, Colin Tierney as Lord Montague and Ella Dacres as Peta. As previously announced, the cast also features Fisayo Akinade as Mercutio, Deborah Findlay as the Nurse, Tamsin Greig as Lady Capulet, Lucian Msamati as the Friar, Shubham Saraf as Benvolio, David Judge as Tybalt, Alex Mugnaioni as Paris and Ellis Howard as Sampson.
Directed by Simon Godwin (Twelfth Night, Antony and Cleopatra), Romeo & Juliet has been reconceived for the screen and this new 90-minute film was recorded over three weeks in the NT’s Lyttelton theatre. Filming took place in December under the COVID-19 safe working filming guidance and code of practices. The play has been adapted for screen by Emily Burns.
The premiere will take place on Easter Sunday, 4 April at 9pm on Sky Arts in the UK and Friday 23 April 9pm on PBS in the US. Sky Arts is free-to-air and available for everyone in the UK on Freeview channel 11.
Learning resources and digital content are also being produced by the NT for young people to explore the production of Romeo & Juliet and its creation, as well as an in-depth programme with schools across the UK as part of the NT’s Theatre Nation Partnerships initiative (further details to be announced). To find out more about the NT’s digital learning resources, visit: www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/learning/at-home.
Josh O’Connor is probably best known for playing Prince Charles in series three and four of The Crown. Before that he appeared in The Durrells on ITV and the television adaptation of Les Miserables on the BBC – where he played Marius.
Jessie Buckley first came to public notice in 2008 on the BBC’s Saturday night search for Nancy, in I’d Do Anything where she was eventually runner-up to Jodie Prenger.
Graduating from RADA in 2013 Jessie made a hugely successful and critically acclaimed move into non-musical acting. However, being able to sing is always useful as her standout portrayal as Rose-Lynn Harlan in Wild Rose demonstrated a couple of years ago.
Adrian Lester is also in the National Theatre’s 2013 production of Othello, which is currently available to watch on the National Theatre at Home streaming service: ntathome.com.