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The National Theatre announces new programming and launches a major new campaign for its future, ‘National Theatre Together’

The National Theatre announces new programming and launches a major new campaign for its future, ‘National Theatre Together’

Photo: Philip Vile

  • All three South Bank theatres will be open for live performances for audiences for the first time since March 2020.
  • Rufus Norris directs and is lyricist for brand-new musical Hex, based on Sleeping Beauty this Christmas in the Olivier theatre, with book by Tanya Ronder and music by Jim Fortune.
  • Alecky Blythe returns to the NT for the first time since London Road with a new verbatim play Our Generation, a co-production with Chichester Festival Theatre, directed by Daniel Evans.
  • The Lyttelton theatre will reopen for audiences in October with a co-production with Birmingham Rep of Ayub Khan Din‘s East Is East, directed by Iqbal Khan, celebrating 25 years since its premiere.
  • Clint Dyer, Deputy Artistic Director of the National Theatre, directs and co-writes Death of England: Face to Face with Roy Williams, an original feature film from the Lyttelton.
  • The National Theatre Live recording of Follies returns to cinemas in September, its first cinema outing since its premiere live broadcast in 2017.
  • Returns to Broadway for the acclaimed The Lehman Trilogy, a co-production with Neal Street Productions, and Hadestown, and major tours across the UK and Ireland for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and The Ocean at the End of the Lane
  • Story Seekers launches – a new nationwide creative literacy project for primary schools in partnership with the Unicorn Theatre.
  • Public Acts returns with a production of The Doncastrian Chalk Circle to open at Cast in Doncaster featuring members of the local Doncaster community.

The National Theatre has today announced its programming until the start of next year with productions on all three South Bank stages as well as three major UK tours, two productions on Broadway, a return to cinemas, and a new feature film to be broadcast on television this autumn. In the week the theatre reopened for audiences again, six new productions were announced, and five productions halted by the pandemic were confirmed to return to the South Bank.

It has also announced the public launch of National Theatre Together, a new campaign with people at its heart, highlighting the importance of creativity and collaboration with theatre-makers and communities, for young people and audiences. The campaign cements the NT’s commitment to the people of this country and will raise vital funds for the theatre’s ambitious recovery post-pandemic.

Rufus Norris, Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre, said: “Theatre is a world-class UK industry, and brings with it a bucket-load of economic and social benefits. The National Theatre has a crucial role to play in supporting the nation’s creativity; it’s an incredible place full of amazing people and elicits enormous affection, pride and passion in audiences around the world. National Theatre Together celebrates the work we create with theatre-makers and communities, for young people and audiences – and asks our friends to once again stand with us and equip us to do what we do best: shape a bright, creative future for this nation.”

Together for Audiences

In the Olivier, following Under Milk Wood which begins previews on 16 June, Kae Tempest’s previously announced Paradise, a new version of Philoctetes by Sophocles, will open in August and is directed by Ian Rickson. Featuring an all-female cast, Lesley Sharp will play Philoctetes. In September, Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart will open, directed by Dominic Cooke in a co-production with Fictionhouse. Ben Daniels will perform the role of Ned Weeks, and Liz Carr and Luke Norris join the cast alongside the previously announced Daniel Monks and Danny Lee Wynter.

In the Olivier this December, National Theatre Director Rufus Norris directs Hex, a new musical that goes beyond the kiss that woke the Sleeping Beauty and tells the fairy’s tale, with book by Tanya Ronder, music by Jim Fortune and lyrics by Rufus Norris. Based on the 17th-century folk-tale, this darkly thrilling new version also reunites director Rufus Norris with set and costume designer Katrina Lindsay (Small Island, London Road) following their 2002 critically acclaimed adaptation of Sleeping Beauty, from which Hex is adapted.

The Father and the Assassin, a new play by previous NT writer-in-residence, Anupama Chandrasekhar directed by Indhu Rubasingham will open in the Olivier in early 2022. The play tells the story of how Nathuram Godse was radicalised through the fight for Indian independence, from being a devout follower of Gandhi to becoming his eventual assassin in 1948.

The Dorfman reopened this week with previews of After Life and from September Miranda Cromwell will direct Winsome Pinnock’s play Rockets and Blue Lights, a co-production with the Royal Exchange Theatre where the play had to close in March 2020 having played only three previews. Set across multiple time frames the action moves between the stories of Lou, an actor working on a new film about artist JMW Turner, and Lucy and Thomas, two Londoners coming to terms with the meaning of freedom.

In December, Nancy Medina, recipient of the NT’s Peter Hall Bursary, directs Alice Childress’ ground-breaking play Trouble in Mind in the Dorfman. Taking a satirical look at the white-dominated theatre scene of Broadway in the 1950s, the play follows the story of Wiletta Mayer, an African-American singer and actress searching to make her mark on history as a part of an acting company forced to face the prejudice of the times, on stage and off. Tanya Moodie will play Wiletta Mayer.

In February 2022, Alecky Blythe (London Road) returns to the National Theatre with an extraordinary new  verbatim play, Our Generation, which is based on material gathered over five years, following the lives of 12 young people from across the UK. Directed by Daniel Evans, Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre, it is a co-production with Chichester and will play in the Minerva Theatre from April 2022.

In the Lyttelton, following their acclaimed stage productions Death of England and Death of England: Delroy, Clint Dyer, Deputy Artistic Director of the National Theatre, and Roy Williams (Sucker Punch) have written a new feature film Death of England: Face to Face to be broadcast on Sky Arts this autumn. Also directed by Clint Dyer, Death of England: Face to Face will be filmed in the Lyttelton theatre this June, following on from the success of Simon Godwin’s original film Romeo & Juliet which was filmed in the theatre over 17 days during lockdown last year, and broadcast on Sky Arts and PBS in April. Neil Maskell (Peaky Blinders, Small Axe) plays Michael, Giles Terera (Hamilton, Flack) is Delroy and Phil Daniels (I Hate Suzie, Adult Material) is Michael’s father, Alan.

The Lyttelton will reopen for live performances for the first time since closing in March 2020. In October Birmingham Rep’s production of Ayub Khan Din’s play East Is East, directed by Iqbal Khan, in the 25th anniversary year of the play’s premiere at the Rep will open. In November, a new darkly comic play, Manor, by Moira Buffini (The Dig) will open nearly 18 months after it was first scheduled to do so, directed by Fiona Buffini. Nancy Carroll will play the owner of a rundown manor house, which shelters an explosive mix of people during a storm. In April, Emlyn Williams‘ semi-autobiographical drama The Corn is Green gets its first London revival for 35 years with a new production by director Dominic Cooke that will bring the story to a new generation. Nicola Walker will play Miss Moffat with Iwan Davies as Morgan Evans. In February 2022, Emma Rice’s adaptation of Emily Brontë’s masterpiece Wuthering Heights will open following dates in Bristol and York. A co-production with Wise Children, Bristol Old Vic and York Theatre Royal, the show will go on to tour the UK in spring 2022.

The National Theatre also confirms today the return to Broadway for the acclaimed The Lehman Trilogy, a co-production with Neal Street Productions, alongside the previously announced Hadestown, and three major tours across the UK and Ireland are planned.

The first is for the internationally acclaimed production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, adapted by Simon Stephens from Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel, directed by Marianne Elliott, which will celebrate its 10th year in 2022. Then The Ocean at the End of the Lane based on the best-selling novel by Neil Gaiman, adapted by Joel Horwood and directed by Katy Rudd, will tour in 2023. David Eldridge’s Beginning, presented by Lee Dean & Theatre Royal Bath Productions in association with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, directed by Polly Findlay and Joe Lichenstein, will be revived at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch in September followed by a UK tour, with casting to be announced.

The Lehman Trilogy by Stefano Massini, adapted by Ben Power and directed by Sam Mendes will return to the Nederlander Theatre on Broadway in the autumn, with Adrian Lester joining Simon Russell Beale and Adam Godley as the Lehman brothers. The production then visits San Francisco and Los Angeles with casting to be announced. Hadestown, with music, book and lyrics by Anaïs Mitchell, directed by Rachel Chavkin returns to the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway from September with a North American tour in October. A South Korean production will open in Seoul in August.

Follies will be returning to cinemas for the first time since its original National Theatre Live broadcast to cinemas in 2017. After sold-out runs in the Olivier in 2017 and 2019 and winning Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival, it will now be playing in cinemas around the world from this September. Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical is directed by Dominic Cooke (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, NT) and features a cast of 40 and an orchestra of 21.

On the National Theatre’s streaming platform, National Theatre at Home, two new titles are launching today: the Bridge Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Old Vic Theatre’s All My Sons. Consent will now be available with audio-description. New productions are added each month and there are now 23 productions available on the platform.

Together with Theatre-Makers

While the theatre has been closed, the National Theatre’s New Work Department has continued to provide vital support for artists, hosting virtual readings and socially distanced workshops for new plays under development. The department is even more committed to opening up our doors to artists and theatre-makers from across the whole breadth of the UK, to support the sector to flourish after the devastation of 2020. Starting later this year, the NT will begin a new programme Generate, which will see a significant increase in partnerships with artists, venues and producers across the UK. At least a third of the New Work Department’s capacity and resource each year will now be committed to developing ideas, with the specific focus on work to be produced outside London.

Continuing our support for theatre-makers across the UK, this year the Linbury Prize 2021, in partnership with the Linbury Trust, will provide 12 brilliant designers starting out in the industry with bursaries and the opportunity to gain first-hand experience through a design associate placement alongside an established designer on a variety of productions around the country. Chosen by a panel of four judges, applications are open to theatre design graduates or post-graduates, from graduating classes 2020 and 2021.

Lisa Burger, Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre, said: “This year has seen us face a risk like no other as theatre-makers have left the industry in their droves following a year of little work. Our New Work Department has continued to provide vital support for artists over this challenging year, and as we look to the future, we commit to sharing our skills and expertise with the nation, with at least one third of our capacity dedicated to fuelling stages beyond the NT. And, as we once again employ artists and craftspeople for our stages in London and on tour, we remain resolute in our commitment to world-leading work that empowers artists, develops specialist theatre-skills for the future and respects our environment. Theatre-makers create stories we’ll never forget. Together we can empower artists and craftspeople to make world-leading work.”

The National Theatre is continuing to make its work as sustainable as possible by committing to adopting the baseline principles of the Theatre Green Book for all productions over the next 12 months. The Theatre Green Book is an initiative developed during lockdown by UK theatre-makers from across the sector and backed by leading industry bodies to help move theatre towards sustainable practice. It provides a common standard to work to and maps out theatres’ path towards zero carbon.

Together for Young People

In response to the impact on children’s learning following a year of significant disruption and challenges caused by the pandemic, the NT today launches Story Seekers, a new nationwide creative literacy project in partnership with the Unicorn Theatre. Story Seekers will set children on a mission to find, tell and share important stories for this time, culminating in the creation of their own filmed storytelling performances to share with their school community and beyond. Available for free to state primary schools, the six-week programme includes filmed theatre performances directed by Justin Audibert, Artistic Director of the Unicorn, to guide pupils through the quest, workshops and performances by leading professional storytellers and training and resources to support teachers to lead the project.

From this summer, the National Theatre will begin working with young people most affected by the pandemic on a new nationwide project, Speak Up, as part of the NT’s Theatre Nation Partnerships programme. Young people will work in collaboration with local artists and teachers to lead creative projects in response to issues that are most important to them. The pilot project, funded by The Mohn Westlake Foundation, will begin with seven schools across Sunderland, in partnership with Sunderland Empire and Sunderland Culture; Greater Manchester, in partnership with The Lowry; and Wakefield with Theatre Royal Wakefield, with aspirations to expand across all six Theatre Nation Partnership areas reaching tens of thousands of young people over the next three years.

Following the huge success and demand for the National Theatre Collection which makes the best of British Theatre available to the education sector across the globe in partnership with both Bloomsbury Publishing via their platform Drama Online, and renowned EdTech leader ProQuest, available on their Alexander Street platform, a second Collection will be added, starting with ten titles in September. This will include Inua Ellams’ Three Sisters (a co-production with Fuel), Arthur Miller’s All My Sons from the Old Vic and Headlong and The Seagull from Chichester Festival Theatre. A further ten titles will complete this second collection in February 2022, including the addition of Winsome Pinnock’s Rockets and Blue Lights (a co-production with the Royal Exchange Theatre). Available for free to state schools across the UK, 71 per cent of state secondary schools have already signed up to the resource.

It is also announced today that, to support schools globally, a new partnership with the New York City Department of Education and Bloomsbury Publishing will provide access for public schools across New York to the National Theatre Collection for free, aiming to reach 30,000 students and teachers across three years, as well as creating educational materials to support teachers and engage students. The project is piloting with 20 schools and will launch fully in autumn 2021.

These programmes complement an existing multi-faceted national programme of learning projects that focus on igniting the creativity of tens of thousands of young people across the UK aged 4–21 years old.

Together with Communities

Having been postponed last year, Cast in Doncaster will host the third Public Acts production in August 2022, The Doncastrian Chalk Circle, a newly adapted version of Bertolt Brecht’s classic play by Chris Bush, directed by Public Acts Associate Director, James Blakey, with music by Ruth Chan and design by Hannah Sibai. Featuring 80 performers from our community partners b:friend, Conversation Club, Edlington Community Organisation (ECO), darts and Cast Young Company, joined by a company of professional actors and musicians and cameo appearances from local performance groups, this new version is an adventurous tale of belonging, full of passion, spectacle and plenty of Yorkshire grit and humour.

This August Bank Holiday weekend, the Doncaster community will also perform a new, immersive show The Tale of Wild Heather: A Cabaret at Cast with audiences invited to share a celebratory feast on Cast’s main stage whilst being engaged in a forgotten Doncastrian myth. Written by Jasmin Mandi-Ghomi, directed by Associate Director, Public Acts, James Blakey and designed by Hannah Sibai, the story is co-created by the community company and features performances from local artists.

Lisa Burger said: “The National Theatre works with thousands of people across the country every year. Over the past four years, our flagship community programme Public Acts has demonstrated the extraordinary acts of compassion and unity that can be achieved through theatre. The National Theatre has the convening power to further unite communities by working in sustained partnerships with community organisations, schools and theatres throughout the UK. Our partnerships will encourage theatre-going nationally and create truly inspirational participatory projects that galvanise communities and ignite the creativity of young people across the country. Nothing brings us together like theatre.”

National Theatre, in partnership with Cast, launches new podcast series ‘Stories To Get Us Through’ created by the people of Doncaster

National Theatre, in partnership with Cast, launches new podcast series ‘Stories To Get Us Through’ created by the people of Doncaster

Stories To Get Us Through. Photo: Rasha Kotaiche

The 18 short stories are a collection of personal anecdotes, snapshot memories and poetry, and have been created by people from different backgrounds who came together as part of the National Theatre’s Public Acts programme. The series consists of five episodes which explore different themes including imagination, change, fear, friendship and heroes. Muhammed shares memories of his best friend from Gambia and how their lives have intertwined, teenagers Aaron and Beth share their hopes and fears for the future, and Lynn tells the story of finding contentment in her own company.

Stories To Get Us Through is a community performance project through the National Theatre’s Public Acts programme to create extraordinary acts of theatre and community, delivered in partnership with Cast in Doncaster with support from Right Up Our Street. Six community organisations across Doncaster, B.FriendConversation ClubEdlington Community OrganisationLGBTQ YouthCast Youth Theatre and darts, have been taking part in the programme and following the postponement of The Caucasian Chalk Circle in summer 2020, are continuing to take part in creative projects remotely. Participants developed their stories remotely, on Zoom, over the phone, and through postal packs with creative writing activities, and recorded the stories at home with professional audio recording equipment.

James Blakey, Associate Director of Public Acts said, “Stories To Get Us Through is a time capsule of the moment our Public Acts Doncaster community convened around a digital campfire in lockdown to tell their stories to each other and the world. Stories have the power to make us feel as though we’re together, even when we are apart and we can’t wait to share them with you. Despite the challenges and restrictions lockdown posed, we came together as a community to deliver this project and we look forward to when we can create live participatory performances together again”.

Participant Sam said, “I was sceptical at first as I didn’t have a single story in mind that would instil inspiration or start a conversation. But then it occurred to me that there is something I can say, I can talk proudly and push the negative voices down. In sharing stories, we are sharing lives and it is that which gets us through, it’s that you should hold on for. You can learn so much from listening to a person’s story”.

Stories To Get Us Through can be listened to HERE and is also available on all podcast platforms.  

Stories To Get Us Through is a community performance project delivered in partnership with National Theatre’s Public Acts, Cast and Right Up Our Street, made possible by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Mr & Mrs A Mosawi and Wates Foundation.

National Theatre pantomime DICK WHITTINGTON available to watch for free in December on YouTube

National Theatre pantomime DICK WHITTINGTON available to watch for free in December on YouTube

The National Theatre is to stream Dick Whittington, for free via the National Theatre and The Shows Must Go On YouTube channels on the 23 December at 3pm GMT. The stream will then be available on demand until midnight on 27 December. The production will be filmed live during the performance in the Olivier theatre on the 19 December, in front of a socially distanced audience. Following the limited-window YouTube streams, it will then be made available on the newly launched National Theatre at Home platform from the 11 January for six weeks.

Cariad Lloyd

Jude Christian. Photo: Manuel Harlan

The free stream of Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd’s hilarious version of Dick Whittington, directed by Ned Bennett, promises to provide festive fun to homes across the UK and around the world.

After a year where the UK’s theatre sector has faced unprecedented challenges, viewers will be encouraged to donate to the National Theatre or support their local theatre either with donations or by booking ahead for 2021 pantomimes.

There will also be an interactive ‘Panto Pack’ hosted on the NT website filled with engaging games and crafts for children, available to download for free.  

First staged at Lyric Hammersmith in 2018 and freshly updated for 2020, Ned Bennett directs this wild and inventive production and explores what it is like to come from a small town and arrive in a big city today. With a host of colourful characters, irreverent jokes, talking animals and popular songs this is Dick Whittington as never seen before.

Ned Bennett. Photo: Manuel Harlan

Ned Bennett, Director, says: “We are incredibly excited about presenting a pantomime as it’s such a celebratory, warm and family friendly part of our theatrical history and the broadcast means it will reach an even wider audience. It feels important after everything that’s happened in 2020 to bring some joy, anarchy and silliness! There will be banging pop tunes and sensational choreography from Rhimes!”

The cast includes Melanie La Barrie as Bow Belles, Dickie Beau as Sarah, Amy Booth-Steel as Queen Rat, Laura Checkley as Mayor Pigeon, Lawrence Hodgson-Mullings as Dick Whittington, Georgina Onuorah as Alice and Cleve September as Tom Cat. Beth Hinton-Lever, Travis Kerry, Jaye Marshall, Ken Nguyen, Tinovimbanashe Sibanda and Christopher Tendai also join the company.

Set and costume designs by Georgia Lowe, choreography by Dannielle ‘Rhimes’ Lecointe, compositions, arrangements and music production by DJ Walde, music supervision by Marc Tritschler and music direction and additional composition and arrangements by Benjamin Kwasi Burrell. Lighting designed by Jessica Hung Han Yun and Sound Design by Paul Arditti. Denzel Westley-Sanderson is Associate Director, Debbie Duru is Associate Set Designer, Fiona Parker is Associate Costume Designer and Assistant Choreographer is Jackie Kibuka.

NT launches new streaming service NATIONAL THEATRE AT HOME

NT launches new streaming service NATIONAL THEATRE AT HOME

National Theatre at Home is available now at

Launching today with productions including the first ever National Theatre Live, Phèdre with Helen Mirren, Othello with Adrian Lester and the Young Vic’s Yerma with Billie Piper, new titles from the NT’s unrivalled catalogue of filmed theatre will be added to the platform every month. In addition to productions previously broadcast to cinemas by National Theatre Live, a selection of plays filmed for the NT’s Archive will be released online for the first time through National Theatre at Home, including Lucy Kirkwood’s Mosquitoes with Olivia Colman and Inua Ellams’ new version of Chekhov’s Three Sisters (a co-production with Fuel).

Viewers can choose a monthly or annual subscription to access the full catalogue and exclusive backstage content, or can opt to rent single plays for a 72-hour window. National Theatre at Home is available for streaming online through any web browser and in Apple (iOS / tvOS), Google (Android / Android TV), Roku TV and Amazon Fire TV.

National Theatre at Home’s digital streaming offer was first made available during the UK’s first COVID lockdown when theatres and cinemas were closed. For 16 weeks from the beginning of April until the end of July, productions were made available for free on the National Theatre’s YouTube channel every Thursday at 7pm UK time, which were then available on demand for the following seven days. This resulted in over 15 million views for 16 productions over four months and reached 173 countries around the world.

Following this overwhelming response, the NT today launches a new, lasting and extensive iteration of National Theatre at Home, with the ambition of bringing world-class performances to a global audience. The platform will also provide welcome support for artists and theatres during this unpredictable time.

Lisa Burger, Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre, said: “We were overjoyed to have had 15 million views for National Theatre at Home earlier this year and to discover we had reached so many audiences new to theatre both in the UK and worldwide. At a time when many people were isolated at home, it was uplifting to see audiences recreate the shared experience of visiting the theatre.  From homemade tickets to interval drinks, NT at Home was a way of making people feel more connected. And so, since the last stream finished in July, we have been determined to find a way to give our audiences access to these stunning filmed productions online once again. With the agreement from artists, we are now able to showcase an extraordinary range of fantastic NT Live productions and, for the first time, some treasured plays from our NT Archive. This is a really exciting day for the National Theatre as we launch a major, online streaming destination for our filmed theatre productions which we hope will continue to provide audiences with the power and joy of theatre for as long as it is needed. We want National Theatre at Home to once again bring people together from all over the world after what has been a very tough 2020 for so many.”

Jemma Read, Global Head of Corporate Philanthropy at Bloomberg LP said: “At Bloomberg Philanthropies, we believe in the transformative power of art and performance to inspire societal change and economic growth. The pandemic continues to impact creative communities and those with fewer resources disproportionately; as we adjust to a new normal, National Theatre at Home will generate artistic opportunity and will offer a safe way for an audience of unprecedented size and diversity to enjoy world-leading performances.”

For unlimited access to the catalogue on National Theatre at Home, a subscription will be £9.98 per month or £99.98 per year. For access to a single play in a 72 hour window, it will be £5.99 for an NT Archive title and National Theatre Live titles are available from £7.99.

The National Theatre will collaborate with Bloomberg Philanthropies to deliver a programme of free subscriptions and discounts to viewers in the UK and globally, reflecting our shared commitment of ensuring National Theatre at Home is available to all.

National Theatre at Home is available now at


National Theatre Live titles now available: 


The 2016 National Theatre production of Peter Shaffer’sAmadeus which first appeared on the National Theatre stage in 1979 and was later turned into an Oscar-winning film. This iconic drama follows rowdy young musical prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played by Adam Gillen (Fresh Meat, Benidorm). Awestruck by Mozart’s genius, Court Composer Antonio Salieri, played by Lucian Msamati (His Dark Materials, Master Harold and The Boys), has the power to promote his talent or destroy it. Seized by obsessive jealousy he begins a war with Mozart, with music and, ultimately, with God. Michael Longhurst’s acclaimed production features live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia. 


The Donmar Warehouse production of Coriolanus staged by former Artistic Director Josie Rourke (Mary Queen of Scots). When an old adversary threatens Rome, the city calls once more on her hero and defender: Coriolanus. But he has enemies at home too. In one of the Donmar’s most popular ever productions, Tom Hiddleston (Avengers, The Night Manager) plays the title role in Shakespeare’s searing tragedy of political manipulation and revenge. Cast also includes Alfred Enoch (Trust Me, Harry Potter), Deborah Findlay (Romeo & Juliet, The Split) and Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, Dracula).


This exhilarating, modern adaptation ofMedea was originally staged in the National Theatre’s Olivier in 2014. Helen McCrory (Peaky Blinders, The Deep Blue Sea) plays the title role in Euripides’ powerful tragedy of heartbreak and revenge, as a woman stricken with grief plans appalling revenge on her ex-husband and to destroy everything she holds dear. The cast also includes Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You, Chewing Gum), Danny Sapani (Star Wars, Black Panther) and Dominic Rowan (Press, The Crown) in a version by Ben Power, directed by Carrie Cracknell with music written by Will Gregory and Alison Goldfrapp.


Nicholas Hytner’s (The History Boys, One Man, Two Guvnors) critically acclaimed 2013 Olivier theatre production of Othello, Shakespeare’s timeless tale of envy and brutal revenge. Adrian Lester plays Othello and Rory Kinnear is the duplicitous Iago, in the roles that jointly won them Best Actor at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. Furious about being overlooked for promotion, Iago plots to take revenge against his General, Othello.


The very first National Theatre Live broadcast from the National Theatre’s Lyttelton theatre in 2009. Helen Mirren plays the title role in award-winning director Nicholas Hytner’s production of the classic Greek tragedy by Jean Racine, in a new version by Ted Hughes. Consumed by an uncontrollable passion for her young stepson, played by Dominic Cooper (The History Boys, Mamma Mia), and believing her absent husband is dead, Phèdre confesses her darkest desires and enters the world of nightmare. The cast includes Ruth Negga (Ad Astra, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D).

The Cherry Orchard

Zoë Wanamaker (My Family, Harry Potter) plays Ranyevskaya in Andrew Upton’s version of Chekhov’s classic play, set in Russia in 1904, which captures a poignant moment in Russia’s history. Ranyevskaya and her brother snub the lucrative scheme of a local entrepreneur to save their family estate and in doing so, they jeopardise the fate of their beloved cherry orchard. Directed by Howard Davies, the cast also includes Conleth Hill (The Antipodes, Game of Thrones), Charity Wakefield (The Great, Wolf Hall) and Mark Bonnar (Catastrophe, Line of Duty).


The Young Vic’s Olivier Award winning 2017 production Yerma with Billie Piper (I Hate Suzie, Collateral) in the title role that made her the only female actor to have won all six of the currently available UK Theatre Best Actress awards for a single performance. After two sold-out runs at the Young Vic, it transferred to New York in 2018. A young woman is driven to the unthinkable by her desperate desire to have a child in director Simon Stone’s radical production of Lorca’s achingly powerful masterpiece. Set in contemporary London, this portrayal of a woman in her thirties desperate to conceive builds with elemental force to a staggering, shocking, climax. A production from the Young Vic, filmed by National Theatre Live. Yerma is currently not available in the USA.

National Theatre Archive titles now available:


This 2015 celebrated production of Shahid Nadeem’s epic tale of the dispute that shaped modern-day India and Pakistan is directed by Nadia Fall (Three Sisters). Set in 1659 Mughal, India, the play follows a ferocious war of succession raging between the heirs to the Muslim empire and two brothers with very different visions of its future. Adapted by Tanya Ronder (Table, Vernon God Little), the play was originally performed by Ajoka Theatre, Pakistan. The cast includes Zubin Varla (Our Girl, Little Dorrit) in the title role and Prasanna Puwanarajah (Doctor Foster).

I Want My Hat Back

The Olivier Award nominated 2015 musical adaptation of Jon Klassen’s best-selling children’s picture book classic, I Want My Hat Back, features music by Arthur Darvill (The Antipodes, Doctor Who) with book and lyrics by Joel Horwood (The Ocean at the End of the Lane). Bear’s hat is gone. He loves his hat. He wants it back. He asks all the animals in the forest, but no one has seen it. WAIT! He has seen it somewhere… This production is suitable for children aged three years and older.


Olivia Colman (The Crown, The Favourite) and Olivia Williams (An Education, Tartuffe) play sisters in this critically acclaimed 2017 play by Lucy Kirkwood (The Welkin, Chimerica), directed by National Theatre Director Rufus Norris. In 2008, as the Large Hadron Collider searches for the Higgs boson, tragedy throws two sisters together. The collision threatens them all with chaos.

Three Sisters

Chekhov’s iconic characters are relocated to Nigeria on the brink of the Biafran Civil War in this adaptation by Inua Ellams (Barber Shop Chronicles). Set in Nigeria in 1967, three sisters are grieving the loss of their father and long to return to their former home in Lagos as conflict encroaches on their provincial village. Directed by Nadia Fall, the three sisters are played by Sarah Niles (I May Destroy You), Racheal Ofori (In The Long Run) and Natalie Simpson (Outlander). The production opened at the Lyttelton theatre in December 2019 and ran until 19 February 2020. Originally commissioned by Metta Theatre. A production from the National Theatre and Fuel.

NT’s Olivier Theatre Going In-the-Round

NT’s Olivier Theatre Going In-the-Round


The Olivier theatre is to be significantly remodelled in order to stage a season of performances in-the-round, which will achieve an audience capacity of almost 500 while maintaining social distancing for audiences.

The National Theatre will reopen to audiences on the 21 October, for the first time since closing in March, with DEATH OF ENGLAND: DELROY, a new play written by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams, directed by Dyer and performed by Giles Terera. The production is the first in a season of productions to be staged in the transformed Olivier theatre. Tickets will go on sale to the public from 2 October with over 200 tickets available at £20 for every performance.

Death of England: Delroy follows on from Death of England that was performed by Rafe Spall and closed just before lockdown. This new work explores a Black working-class man searching for truth and confronting his relationship with Great Britain. Set and costume designers are Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey and ULTZ, with lighting design by Jackie Shemesh, sound design by Pete Malkin and Benjamin Grant.

In a season when theatres across the country have been forced to postpone their pantomimes by Coronavirus, for one year only, pantomime is coming to the National Theatre. The second production the NT will stage as part of the Olivier in-the-round season will be DICK WHITTINGTON, originally commissioned by the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, which will celebrate and honour panto’s place at the heart of British theatre.

Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd’s hilarious and heartfelt version of the famous story was first staged at Lyric Hammersmith in 2018. Freshly updated for 2020, Ned Bennett directs this exciting new production which promises fun for everyone and will open on the South Bank in December.

This wild and inventive production explores what it is like to come from a small town and arrive in a big city today, exploring the ideas of community and togetherness which feel even more prescient in 2020. Making the most of the newly transformed Olivier theatre with set and costume designs by Georgia Lowe, and lighting designed by Jessica Hung Han Yun. Denzel Westley-Sanderson is Associate Director.

Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre said: ‘We’re both delighted and relieved to be reopening the National Theatre with the Olivier in-the-round season, which will allow us to present live work to as many people as possible while social distancing remains in place. It is dynamically appropriate to begin the season with DEATH OF ENGLAND: DELROY, an extraordinarily important and timely piece of work by the hugely talented Clint Dyer and Roy Williams, and we are also proud and privileged to be presenting DICK WHITTINGTON this Christmas, helmed by the inspirational Jude Christian, Cariad Lloyd and Ned Bennett. Pantomime is an essential part of the living fabric of our nation, and it is devastating that so many theatres across the country have had no choice but to postpone their pantos this year because of the unprecedented financial impact of Coronavirus. We’ll do all we can to keep the flame alive: brilliant theatre artists will serve up a slice of joy to families on the South Bank, and we’ll be asking everyone to support their local theatres by booking ahead for their 2021 pantomimes. Of course, we hope that it will be possible for theatres to perform safely to fuller audiences long before then.’

Speaking about Dick Whittington, Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd said: “In 2018 we set out to celebrate the heart of the Dick Whittington story – that London has always been, and will always be, enriched by the brilliant brains and invigorating spirit of those who come from all over the world and call it home. That’s a story we want to tell now more than ever, and in quintessentially British fashion: with irreverent jokes, talking animals, awesome songs, and wholesale destructive silliness.”

Ned Bennett continued: “We are inordinately excited to be talking about a show, never mind having the privilege of being able to stage one right now. We are facing such challenging times, as artists and as an industry, so we feel so lucky to have the NT able to provide this opportunity. We cannot wait to bring audiences (safely) into the Olivier and allow them to remember the joy of theatre for a night.”

Following UK Government guidelines, social distancing measures have been put in place for those attending performances at the NT. These include staggered arrival times, paperless tickets, pre-ordered drinks, enhanced cleaning, and sanitisation stations throughout the theatre. Tickets are available to be purchased as single tickets, as pairs or in threes or fours for audiences to attend with others from their social bubbles. Face coverings will be required at all times, aside from when audience members are eating or drinking. Full information on the safety measures for audiences can be found here.

Further information, including performance dates for DICK WHITTINGTON will be released at a later date. Tickets will go on sale in October.

Death of England: Delroy

Wednesday 21 October, until Saturday 28 November.

Open Caption Performance on Saturday 21 November
Audio Described Performance on Saturday 14 November
Wheelchair spaces available for all performances

National Theatre adapts programmes to support theatre in schools across the UK

National Theatre adapts programmes to support theatre in schools across the UK

Above: Chaos by Laura Lomas Performed by Glasgow Acting Academy. Photo: Richard Hubert Smith

The National Theatre is delighted to announce that its adapted nationwide programmes for schools and young people will recommence this Autumn. Committed to providing opportunities for all young people to create and take part in theatre, content will be delivered digitally and flexibly throughout 2020/2021, with safety measures in place for all planned physical activity, and include:

  • The annual youth theatre festival Connections will bring together talented young theatre-makers of tomorrow with some of the UK’s most exciting contemporary writers to produce and stage ten new plays. This year, workshops and mentoring will take place digitally, with the aim to stage performances at 30 partner theatres across the UK in Spring 2021. Applications are open now and will close on 3rd October. For more information and to apply, click here.
  • Students can write their own play with support from professional playwrights on the New Views playwriting programme, the NT’s annual playwriting programme and competition for 14-19-year olds. Shortlisted plays will be performed at the National Theatre in July 2021. Applications are open until early October and more information can be found here.
  • Let’s Play aims to transform drama and theatre-making in primary schools, supporting teachers to embed creativity across the curriculum. The flexible programme provides teachers with a toolkit for pupils to create short performances that will be shared digitally. The cost of participating in Let’s Play has been significantly reduced for this academic year and schools can sign up now here.
  • Free access at home for UK state school students and teachers to the National Theatre Collection has been extended for the next academic year in partnership with Bloomsbury Publishing, giving students access to 30 high-quality productions with supporting educational resources. For more information and to sign up for access visit the NT website.

Alice King-Farlow, Director of Learning at the National Theatre said: “As we begin to resume activity at the National Theatre, our commitment to creating opportunities for young people to make and participate in theatre remains at the forefront of our mission. We want to support schools and young people to return to active theatre making in a way that’s safe and manageable in a constantly changing context, and we will continue to consult closely with schools and with the theatres we partner with across the country. We want to provide access to cultural opportunities and ensure the voices of young people are heard as theatres begin to reopen. Our adapted learning programmes offer a space to create and make, to explore contemporary issues and shape debate, and we are excited to discover new ways to collaborate with young people and schools nationwide over the next few months.”