First Look: Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket and company


Jane Eyre returns to the NT’s Lyttelton Theatre this Autumn

JANE EYRE UK Tour 2017

Sally Cookson’s adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece Jane Eyre returns to the NT’s Lyttelton Theatre from 26 September – 21 October 2017 following a critically acclaimed season at the National Theatre and a major UK tour.

2017 marks the 170th anniversary of the first publication of Jane Eyre and Charlotte Brontë’s story of the trailblazing Jane is as inspiring as ever.

This bold and dynamic production tells the story of one woman’s fight for freedom and fulfilment.  From her beginnings as a destitute orphan, Jane Eyre’s spirited heroine faces life’s obstacles head-on, surviving poverty, injustice and the discovery of bitter betrayal before taking the ultimate decision to follow her heart.

Nadia Clifford plays Jane Eyre with Tim Delap as Rochester. They are joined by Hannah Bristow (Helen Burns/Adele/Diana/Grace Poole/Abbot), Matthew Churcher (Musician), Alex Heane (Musician), Melanie Marshall (Bertha Mason), Paul Mundell (Mr Brocklehurst/Pilot/Mason), David Ridley (Musician), Evelyn Miller (Bessie/Blanche Ingram/St John) and Lynda Rooke (Mrs Reed/Mrs Fairfax). The cast is completed by Ben CutlerJenny JohnsDami OlukoyaFrancesca Tomlinson and Phoebe Vigor.

The production was devised by the original company, with set design by Michael Vale, costumes by Katie Sykes, lighting by Aideen Malone, music by Benji Bower, sound by Dominic Bilkey, movement by Dan Canham and dramaturgy by Mike Akers.  Jane Eyre is a co-production between the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic.

Director Sally Cookson, said about her production: ‘Adapting a novel for the stage is a challenging prospect – especially when that novel is cited as many people’s favourite of all time. It is always daunting when you’re working on a story which everyone knows so well, because you want to surprise and maybe challenge people’s expectations, without losing any of the things which make them like the story in the first place.’

 ‘I chose this particular title because it’s a story that I love and have enjoyed a close relationship with ever since I was intrigued, as a child, by Orson Welles’ black and white melodrama with fabulous music by Bernard Herrmann.’

‘I didn’t actually read the novel until I was in my early twenties and I remember thinking while I read it: ‘this is a clarion cry for equal opportunities for women, not a story about a passive female who will do anything for her hunky boss’. I was struck by how modern Jane seemed – her spirit and strong will, her peculiar and brilliant mind striving for personal freedom to be who she is, lashing out against any constraint that prevents her from being herself. She was exactly the sort of person I wanted to be.’

Sally Cookson is an Associate Artist of Bristol Old Vic, where her productions include Treasure Island andPeter Pan; and elsewhere, Boing! (Sadler’s Wells), Cinderella (St James Theatre), an adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson’s Hetty Feather (West End and UK tour), and Romeo and Juliet (Rose Theatre, Kingston). Sally’s production of Peter Pan, devised by the original Company, based on the works of JM Barrie, a co-production with the Bristol Old Vic ran in the NT’s Olivier Theatre in 2016. Her production of The Lion,The Witch and The Wardrobe will be performed at West Yorkshire Playhouse this autumn.

Nadia Clifford previously appeared at the National Theatre in Alistair McDowell’s sell-out production ofPomona.

This new stage version of Jane Eyre was originally presented in two parts at Bristol Old Vic, and then transferred to the National Theatre, re-imagined as a single performance, playing to sold out houses at the NT’s Lyttelton Theatre in 2015.

Listings information

Jane Eyre
National Theatre, Lyttelton Theatre
Tuesday 26 September – Saturday 21 October 2017
Press night: Wednesday 27 September at 7pm

Access performances:
Captioned Performance
Saturday 14 October at 1.30pm
Audio Described Performance
Saturday 21 October at 1.30pm
Touch Tour at 12pm


Ugly Lies the Bone – last chance to see at the National Theatre

Ugly Lies The Bone

Ugly Lies The Bone

US playwright Lindsey Ferrentino’s play returns to the Lyttelton Theatre for a final 7 performances

This exciting new play examines the use of virtual reality in treating soldiers experiencing PTSD and returns for its final run of performances at the National Theatre on 9 May.

Beauty is but skin deep, ugly lies the bone; beauty dies and fades away, but ugly holds its own.’

After three tours in Afghanistan and months in a severe burns unit, Jess (Kate Fleetwood) finally returns to Florida.  In a small town on the Space Coast, as the final shuttle is about to launch, Jess must confront her scars, and a home that may have changed even more than her.

Experimenting with pioneering virtual reality therapy, she builds a breathtaking new world where she can escape her pain.  There, she begins to restore her relationships, her life and, slowly, herself.

The full cast of UGLY LIES THE BONE is Kate Fleetwood (last seen at the NT in King Lear and in the feature film London Road), Ralf Little (BBC’s The Royle Family, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, makes his NT debut), Kris Marshall (BBC’s My Family and the feature film Love Actually), Buffy Davis (BBC Radio 4’s The Archers) and Olivia Darnley who recently toured in Filter Theatre’s Twelfth Night.

The final performance dates include: 9, 10, 19, 20, 22, 30, 31 May, 5 and 6 June.

Award winning playwright Lindsey Ferrentino’s honest and funny drama was a New York Times Critic’s Pick and played a sold-out run at Roundabout Theater Company.  This UK production is directed by Indhu Rubasingham, who directed the award-winning ‘The Motherf**ker with the Hat’ at the NT and is Artistic Director of the Tricycle Theatre.  Set design is by Es Devlin whose work crosses a wide range of genres: opera, dance, film, theatre, concerts and fashion.  Her recent work includes Light Shining in Buckinghamshire at the NT and stage sets in collaboration with Beyoncé, Kanye West, U2, Jay Z and Adele.  She designed the London Olympic Closing Ceremony and the Rio Olympic Opening Ceremony; video design is by Luke Halls; costume design by Johanna Coe; lighting design by Oliver Fenwick; music and sound by Ben and Max Ringham; and fight direction by Rachel Brown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown of RC-Annie Ltd.

To book tickets go to:

National Theatre unveils Queer Theatre event series

The National Theatre will mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales by staging its first Queer Theatre event series from 6th – 10th July 2017.

A group of world class actors and directors will look at how theatre has charted the LGBT+ experience through a series of rehearsed readings and post-show discussions in the Lyttelton Theatre.

Launching the initiative, playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney said of directing a rehearsed reading of his play Wig Out!:

“I feel grateful to be returning to the UK and reading this piece. As we continue better to understand ourselves and how we perform in the world I hope this investigation back into the ‘ball scene’ will be as exciting as it is important. #Alllove&Allpride.”

Director Stephen Daldry said: “As a teenager Bent was the first play I ever saw on the London stage. Amazingly at a theatre I went on to be the director of. It was a devastating experience for a young gay man from a small market town in Somerset. I can honestly say the experience changed my life. The play went on to take London by storm. I am thrilled and honoured to direct a rehearsed reading of Martin Sherman’s explosive play to mark this important anniversary.”

The NT’s Queer Theatre event series is hosted in partnership with Pride in London and includes:

Neaptide by Sarah Daniels (1986), Thursday 6th July 7.30pm

Directed By Sarah Frankcom

Neaptide was the National Theatre’s first full-length play by a female playwright. It presents a ferocious but funny account of the public and private battles of a lesbian mother in the 1980s, alongside the ancient myth of Demeter & Persephone. Having recently come out to her family, Claire now faces a bitter custody battle and uncertainty over her teaching career.

Wig Out! by Tarell Alvin McCraney (2008), Friday 7th July 7.30pm

Directed by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Witness the fiercest battle in New York as the House Of Light compete with the House Of Diabolique for drag family supremacy at the Cinderella Ball. When Eric meets Wilson, it’s a good old-fashioned boy meets boy fairytale. However, when Wilson reveals his drag alter-ego Nina, questions of masculinity and gender come to the fore.  In the tradition of Paris Is Burning, this big, bold and riotous play looks at gender, drag and fabulousness.

Certain Young Men by Peter Gill (1999), Saturday 8th July 7.30pm

Directed by Peter Gill

‘To be really queer you have to have someone nail your foreskin to a piece of wood and generally kick up a bit of a fuss.’ As the new millennium approaches, four gay couples illuminate the differences within the ‘gay community’. Is gay life defined by living in coupled suburban bliss or chasing casual sex?

Bent by Martin Sherman (1979), Sunday 9th July 2.30pm

Directed by Stephen Daldry

Following Nazi Germany’s Night Of The Long Knives in 1934, gay lovers Max and Rudy are taken away to Dachau by the Gestapo. Desperate to avoid the dreaded Pink Triangle, Max claims to be Jewish. In amongst the horrors of the Camp, he meets Horst who wears his Pink Triangle with pride.

The Drag by Mae West (1927), Monday 10th July 7.30pm

Directed by Polly Stenham

The play that scandalised 1920s New York follows respected, married socialite Rolly. Son of a homophobic judge and married to the daughter of an eminent gay conversion therapist, Rolly is keen to keep his homosexual tendencies under wraps. However, when he decides to host a drag ball in his drawing room, events soon spiral out of control. One of the first plays to shed light on gay counter-culture, Mae West’s rarely performed comedy was banned after ten performances.

The Queer Theatre event series will coincide with the 2017 Pride weekend and tickets will be on sale from Friday 5th May, tickets include entry to each post-show discussion.

For more information on the Queer Theatre event series, click here.


Sarah Frankcom

After working as a drama teacher in the East End, Sarah started working with new writers and in drama schools. She spent time at the National Theatre studio, Oval House, The Red Room, and taught at The Poor School. Originally joining the Royal Exchange as Literary Manager, she has been sole Artistic Director there since 2014. Her recent productions include: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, THE SKRIKER and HAMLET (all three with Maxine Peake), BLINDSIDED, THAT DAY WE SANG, Royal Exchange & MIF13 co-production THE MASQUE OF ANARCHY (with Maxine Peake), BLACK ROSES, THREE BIRDS, ORPHEUS DESCENDING, MISS JULIE (a new version by David Eldridge), BEAUTIFUL THING, A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, WINTERLONG (by Andrew Sheridan – Bruntwood Prize winner), PUNK ROCK (by Simon Stephens – MEN Award for Best Production), BLITHE SPIRIT, THREE SISTERS, ON THE SHORE OF THE WIDE WORLD (by Simon Stephens – Olivier Award for Best Play) and KES. Her work has also been seen at the National Theatre, Bush Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, Soho Theatre and the Crucible.

Tarell Alvin McCraney

Tarell Alvin McCraney is best known for his acclaimed trilogy, THE BROTHER/SISTER PLAYS which include THE BROTHERS SIZE, IN THE RED AND BROWN WATER and MARCUS; OR THE SECRET OF SWEET. Other plays include his edit of ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA (which he also directed at the RSC, Public Theater NY and GableStage Miami), HEAD OF PASSES, CHOIR BOY, WITHOUT/SIN, RUN, MOURNER, RUN (adapted from Randall Kenan’s short story), THE BREACH, (written with Catherine Filloux, and Joe Sutton) and WIG OUT!. Tarell’s script IN MOONLIGHT BLACK BOYS LOOK BLUE is the basis for the film MOONLIGHT directed by Barry Jenkins, which won the award for Best Film at the 2017 Oscars and McCraney and Jenkins also won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar. Among its many other honours, the film has won a Golden Globe for Best Drama, Gotham Award for Best Feature, NAACP Image Award for Best Independent Film, WGA Award for Best Original Screenplay, the Human Rights Campaign’s Visionary Arts Award, and 6 Independent Spirit Awards including Best Picture and Best Screenplay.

Peter Gill

Peter Gill is one of the most important and influential writers and directors of the last thirty years. He has directed over a hundred productions in the UK, Europe and North America. He was responsible for introducing D. H. Lawrence’s plays to the Royal Court Theatre in the 1960s and was the founding director of Riverside Studios and The National Theatre Studio. He is an acclaimed playwright whose work includes THE SLEEPERS DEN, OVER GARDENS OUT, SMALL CHANGE and THE YORK REALIST (all of which premiered at the Royal Court), KICK FOR TOUCH and CARDIFF EAST (which premiered at the National Theatre), CERTAIN YOUNG MEN (Almeida Theatre), and ORIGINAL SIN (Sheffield Theatres). Recent work includes AS GOOD A TIME AS ANY at the Print Room (2015) and VERSAILLES at the Donmar Warehouse (2014), which he wrote and directed. His book APPRENTICESHIP, written about his experiences as a young actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the sixties, provides a rigorous and insightful reflection into the theatre of the time.

Stephen Daldry

Stephen started his career at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre and directed extensively in Britain’s regional theatres. In London he was Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre where he headed the £26million redevelopment. He has also directed at the National Theatre, the Public Theatre in New York and transferred many productions both to Broadway and the West End. His award-winning 1992 National Theatre production of An Inspector Calls is currently touring the UK and will play a limited engagement in the West End this Winter at the Playhouse Theatre. Billy Elliot the Musical recently commenced its first UK and Ireland tour having just completed a hugely successful and highly acclaimed multi award-winning eleven year run in London. It previously played on Broadway, in Holland, Seoul, Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago, Toronto and across the US. In 2009, the production won ten Tony awards including Best Musical, more than any other British show in Broadway history. It will open in Japan in 2017. Stephen’s first four films Billy Elliot, The Hours, The Reader and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close together received 19 Academy Award® nominations and two wins. His most recent film, Trash, set in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro was nominated for Best Film not in the English Language in the 2015 BAFTAs. Stephen also directed productions of The Audience and Skylight, both were highly acclaimed and went onto win major theatre awards completing sell out runs in London and on Broadway. Stephen has previously directed for BBC Radio and Television and is currently directing the new Netflix series The Crown written by Peter Morgan. He is Director of the Pier 55 Performance Park in New York and was Creative Executive Producer of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Polly Stenham

Polly Stenham is a playwright, screenwriter and director. Her plays include That Face at the Royal Court, for which she was awarded the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright 2007 and the 2008 Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright. The play transferred to the Duke of York’s Theatre in the West End in 2008. Tusk Tusk and No Quarter both directed by Jeremy Herrin opened at the Royal Court in 2009 and 2013.  Her play Hotel opened at the National Theatre in June 2014. She is currently under commission to the Donmar Warehouse, Film Four, the Almeida and the National.  TV includes: She wrote and directed Foxtrot for Sprout Pictures, as part of Sky Art’s Playhouse Presents season. She directed the short film, Everyday Lives of Performance Artists for Channel Four’s Random Acts programme in 2016. Film includes: Tusk her screen adaptation of her play Tusk Tusk is in development with Origin/Film4. And she co-wrote Neon Demon directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.

Rehearsal images released of ‘The Red Barn’ a new play by David Hare with a cast including Mark Strong, Hope Davis and Elizabeth Debicki

The Red Barn a new play by David Hare, based on the novel, La Main, by Georges Simenon opens in the Lyttelton Theatre on 6 October (press night 17 October).

The great detective writer Georges Simenon escaped France at the end of World War Two, and arrived in the USA to start again. With his American wife, he settled at Shadow Rock Farm in Lakeville, Connecticut. Years later, he wrote La Main, a psychological thriller set in a New England farmhouse.


David Hare has taken this novel and forged from it a startling new play that unfolds in Connecticut in 1969. On their way back from a party, two couples struggle home through the snow. Not everyone arrives safely.

The cast is Elizabeth Debicki, Hope Davis, Michael Elwyn, Stuart Milligan, Anna Skellern, Mark Strong, Oliver Wilson, Nigel Whitmey and Jade Yourell.

 The Red Barn plays in the Lyttelton Theatre from Thursday 6 October until 17 January. The Red Barn is produced in association with Scott Rudin.