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National Theatre launches new interview series Life in Stages

Life in Stages

The National Theatre today announced a new interview series Life in Stages, profiling some of the biggest names in British theatre. The series, which will be free to watch, will launch on the National Theatre’s YouTube channel on Thursday 22 April at 7pm BST with each new episode added at the same time every Thursday.  

 The first episode is a conversation between Academy Award-winning actor Olivia Colman and Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre Rufus Norris, who last worked together at the National Theatre in 2017 on Lucy Kirkwood’s play Mosquitoes.  

 The second episode on Thursday 29 April will feature co-stars of the NT’s critically acclaimed film Romeo & Juliet – filmed in the Lyttelton theatre over 17 days during lockdown – Josh O’Connor and Jessie Buckley. On Thursday 6 May the third episode of the series will see a discussion between actor and director Adrian Lester and writer, comedian and actor Meera Syal. Details of further episodes from this series will be announced later this month.  

 Filmed on the empty Lyttelton stage each pre-recorded episode sees the artists reflect on their theatre careers, and reveal the funny, personal and poignant stories behind everything from their earliest theatre memory to their biggest professional highs and lows. 

 Rufus Norris, director of the National Theatre, says: “We are thrilled that as we look ahead to our reopening in June, we are able to launch Life in Stages. The interview series has been a fantastic way to take a moment and reflect; to explore the careers of some of the leading figures within our industry, and to consider how the world around us will shape the work we create as we move forwards.  We are so grateful for the time generously given by the artists involved and to Charles Stanley for their support.” 

 The series is supported by Charles Stanley Wealth Management. Speaking about Life in Stages Paul Abberley, Chief Executive at Charles Stanley said: “At Charles Stanley we understand the significance of conversation. We spend time getting to know our clients at every stage of life’s journey to help them achieve their personal and financial goals. Much like Life in Stages, we discuss everything from careers to retirement, lifestyle to responsibilities, family and the wider community. After a tumultuous year for the arts, we are delighted to partner with the National Theatre to celebrate the art of conversation and to have had so many wonderful British Artists join this fantastic and timely series.” 

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

Launching today, Stories To Get Us Through is a new podcast series featuring stories written and performed by the people of Doncaster, inspired by real life events and created during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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 DoncasterB.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 on www.publicactsdoncaster.com/stories-to-get-us-through 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 Streetmade possible by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Mr & Mrs A Mosawi and Wates Foundation.

The National Theatre supports learning with digital resources for young people and teachers

National Theatre

The National Theatre continues its commitment to supporting teachers and young people across the UK with at home digital resources and learning opportunities in 2021. From full length productions available to streamplaywrighting course, online activities for primary age pupils, resources exploring backstage theatre and the annual Drama Teacher Conference – now online  there is something for both students and teachers

 Free streaming for state schools 

The National Theatre Collection is a digital library of 30 world-class productions available to schools and universities worldwideProductions include adaptations such as Small Island and Jane Eyre, Shakespearean tragedies Othello and King Lear, American classics such as A Streetcar Named Desire (Young Vic) and productions especially adapted for primary schools. 

National Theatre Collection is available free of charge for state schools and Further Education colleges across the UK through Bloomsbury Publishing’s Drama Online platform and teachers can share log-in details with students to watch productions from home when remote learning. New learning resources added for this year include introductory teaching packs, lesson plans and workshop ideas and access to behind-the-scenes content such as rehearsal diaries. 

Other academic institutions including libraries, universitiesindependent and international schools can access National Theatre Collection via a one-time payment for the full collection, or via an annual subscription in partnership with ProQuest and Bloomsbury

Online learning for teachers 

The NT’s annual Drama Teacher Conference will be taking place digitally during the February half-term (15-20 February 2021) and is open to drama teachers across the UK. The conference includes webinars, panel discussions and live interactive sessions with leading creatives in the industry, including theatre directors Katie Mitchell, Marianne Elliott and Matthew Xia, designer Bunny Christie and actor Maxine PeakeSessions are £5 each with bursaries available for state schools.

Additional digital resources 

To discover NT Learning’s range of digital resources including the New Views playwriting course with scripts, video collections about theatre-making, digital exhibitions, recorded talks and resource packs exploring NT productions visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/learning/at-home

Alice King-FarlowDirector of Learning at the National Theatre said, “The National Theatre is determined to continue supporting teachers and students with resources and opportunities to learn about theatre-making, particularly while the majority of young people are learning from home. We are inspired by the way drama teachers have adapted to deliver the subject in new ways and hope the National Theatre Collection will give young people a chance to explore landmark productions while theatres remain closedWe look forward to connecting with drama teachers across the UK through our virtual Drama Teacher Conference to explore new approaches to drama with some of the most exciting practitioners across the industry and continue growing a community of remarkable teachers to share skills and learnings together”.

Bank of America is the National Theatre’s Partner for Learning.

The Mohn Westlake Foundation supports nationwide Learning programmes for young people.

The National Theatre Collection is supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), Fondation Hoffmann, Sidney E. Frank Foundation, The Attwood Education Foundation, The Candide Trust, The Cranshaw Corporation for Mrs. Robert I. MacDonald, Graham and Joanna Barker, The Borrows Charitable Trust, Barbara G. Fleischman, Linda Hackett and members of the NT Collection Syndicate.

National Theatre to receive emergency loan as part of The Cultural Recovery Fund

National Theatre

The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport today announced that the National Theatre will receive a £19.7 million loan from the Culture Recovery Fund. The loan is part of the £1.57 billion Government package of emergency sector funding that was secured in the summer to support culture and heritage organisations affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this week Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, visited the National Theatre to see the final rehearsals for Dick Whittington which opens for performances tonight. The Culture Secretary met Joint Chief Executives Rufus Norris and Lisa Burger along with members of the cast and production staff working on the pantomime.

Speaking about the Cultural Recovery Fund announcement, Joint Chief Executives of the National Theatre Rufus Norris and Lisa Burger said:

“The National Theatre is incredibly grateful and relieved to secure this emergency loan from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. It is a vital lifeline that will form part of our recovery, helping to ensure that the National Theatre will be here for culture and here for the nation, now and in the future.

The NT’s impact extends across the UK and around the world, reaching millions of audience members and young people, and employing thousands of artists and freelancers every year. All of that was put under threat this year by the devastating financial impact of coronavirus closures which cut off 75% of our income overnight. Despite the generosity of our audiences and supporters and the drastic action we took to reduce costs including – very sadly – job losses, we face a multi-million-pound deficit this year and next.

The decision to apply for a loan of this scale was not taken lightly; it is an essential component in our survival. Together with support we hope to secure from our partners, donors and audiences it will enable us to invest in the freelance creative workforce to produce some of the world’s most exciting theatre.

The Culture Recovery Fund demonstrates a clear recognition of the contribution culture makes to the nation. We look forward to continuing to work with Government to ensure this investment is built on in the long term and reaches all parts of our sector.

While the challenges of this pandemic are not over, we can now begin to rebuild the NT with a renewed commitment to make world-class theatre for everyone that celebrates the diversity of our nation. We will widen digital access, offer opportunities for every child in the country to experience theatre, help develop the next generation of talent, and change lives through participation. We stand ready to play our part in supporting the UK’s economic and emotional recovery from the effects of COVID-19.”

Academy Award-winner Olivia Colman, who appeared in Lucy Kirkwood’s Mosquitoes at the National Theatre in 2017 said: “Theatre is at the heart of Britain’s creativity and the National Theatre is a crucial part of that, whether working with young people across the country or making shows to thrill global audiences. Alongside the grants to smaller theatres, it’s wonderful to hear that the NT’s future is being supported by this lifeline loan.”

The National Theatre closed earlier this year on the 16 March following government guidance about coronavirus. At the start of April National Theatre at Home launched which saw 16 NT Live and Archive productions streamed for free on the NT’s YouTube Channel reaching an audience of over 15 million in more than 170 countries. The NT reopened for performances in the remodelled Olivier theatre on the 21 October with Clint Dyer and Roy Williams’ new play Death of England: Delroy, which closed early on the 4 November due to new nationwide coronavirus restrictions. The performance was filmed and streamed free on the NT’s YouTube channel on Friday 27 November during the second national lockdown.

At the start of this month the NT re-launched National Theatre at Home as a brand-new subscription streaming platform making an initial 11 productions from NT Live and the NT’s Archive available online to watch worldwide, anytime, anywhere. Further productions will be added each month. The National Theatre will reopen on Friday 11 December with Cariad Lloyd and Jude Christian’s pantomime Dick Whittington, which will also be available for families to stream for free on YouTube from 23 – 27 December. This month filming has begun for the NT’s made-for-screen version of Romeo & Juliet with Josh O’Connor and Jessie Buckley which will air on Sky Arts and PBS in Spring 2021.

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

DICK WHITTINGTON

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. 

 At a time when many theatres across the country have sadly been forced to cancel or postpone their pantomimes, the National Theatre is celebrating panto’s place at the heart of British theatre. 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, 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. 

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National Theatre launches NATIONAL THEATRE AT HOME,  a new streaming service

The National Theatre, in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, has launched National Theatre at Home, a brand-new streaming platform making their much-loved productions available online to watch anytime, anywhere worldwide.

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.  

Roku digital streaming offer was first made available during the UK’s.

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.   

The National Theatre

 

Lisa Burger, Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre, said: “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.”

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 ntathome.com.

Well done everyone.

 

DEATH OF ENGLAND: DELROY to be streamed for free and return to the Olivier stage

National Theatre

Death of England: Delroy, which was mid-way through its run at the National Theatre before it was forced to close, will be streamed for free on YouTube on 27 November at 7pm GMT and return to the Olivier Theatre in Spring 2021.  

 This comes as the new national Coronavirus measures regrettably resulted in the cancellation of the original scheduled run of the production, which was due to end on 28 November. All ticket holders booked in for cancelled performances have been contacted to offer a refund or credit note. 

 The production was captured at the final performance on Wednesday 4 November and will be streamed on 27 November for 24 hours on the National Theatre’s YouTube channel. The broadcast will be available for free with viewers invited to make a donation via YouTube or the National Theatre website. The National Theatre is making an up-front payment to the artists to enable the limited-window stream during lockdown.  

 Death of England: Delroy by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams and directed by Dyer, explores what it is like to be a Black working-class man searching for truth and confronting his relationship with Great Britain. The role of Delroy is performed by Michael Balogun.  

 To accompany the broadcast, NT Associate Ola Animashawun will host a pre-recorded discussion with Dyer, Williams and Balogun that explores their experience of creating the show under Coronavirus restrictions, and how the piece reflects on the Black Lives Matter movement.  The talk will be available for free on YouTube from 8.30pm GMT 27 November. 

 Clint Dyer and Roy Williams said: “We were hugely disappointed that Death of England: Delroy was unable to complete its full run in the Olivier theatre. The production team worked tirelessly, alongside the staff at the NT, throughout the rehearsal period and for the two weeks we were able to perform to the public and we want to thank them for their efforts. We are thrilled that Michael Balogun’s remarkable performance will be streamed to audiences for a limited time period of the 27 November and that we will be able to perform to live audiences once again in the Spring.”  

 Set and costume designers are by Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey and ULTZ, with lighting design by Jackie Shemesh, sound design by Pete Malkin and Benjamin Grant

 Tickets for Olivier theatre performances will go on sale in the new year. 

National Theatre leading free virtual courses for young people nationwide to learn theatre-making skills

National Theatre

As the theatre industry continues to face huge challenges and the National Theatre closes again under new coronavirus restrictions, the NT is prioritising its work with young people across the UK to provide opportunities for them to take part in creative activities and find new ways to explore theatre-making.

The NT is collaborating with freelance artists, producers and technicians across the theatre industry to lead digital introductory courses for young people to learn about theatre-making and develop skills from experts in the field.

Applications are now open for young people across the UK to apply to take part in the How to be a Producer and Young Technicians’ programmes, running in early 2021. These online courses provide an opportunity for young people who may not otherwise have access to the industry to explore roles in the theatre alongside mentoring from industry professionals.

How to be a Producer for 16-21-year-olds is led by Tobi Kyeremateng, producer and founder of the Black Ticket Project alongside producers from the National Theatre, Southbank Centre, Young Vic and many more. The online course will explore the role of producer and what it takes to produce cultural events, including in digital form, through interactive tutorials and problem-solving activities including budgeting and project management. The course will take place across evenings in February 2021 and 50% of places will be available for young Black people in partnership with the Black Ticket Project.

The Young Technicians’ programme will be led by the NT’s expert technical teams to introduce the basics of lighting, sound and video through digitally delivered practical workshops, demonstrations and expert Q&As all delivered online. All participants will receive mini equipment kits to take part in hands-on challenges and learn practical skills. This course is open to 14-18-year olds and will run from January to March 2021.

These programmes are free to take part in and furthering the NT’s commitment to access, places will be prioritised for young people from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse backgrounds, from working class backgrounds and/or with disabilities. Added support will be provided for young people at risk of digital exclusion.

Ali Taie, 19, took part in the Young Technician’s Programme in 2018/2019 and said, “Young Technicians’ came up at the perfect time for me. Back then, I was still in college and the idea of doing theatre was very distant, but doing it helped me understand all of the various roles in theatre that would suit me, along with a solid understanding of the fundamentals of each backstage role in technical theatre and just how critical all members are. It is the direct reason behind the founding of my current theatre company (Opsis Theatre Co), as well as my choice to go to the university which I’m currently attending”.

Ameena Hamid, 20, took part in How to be a Producer in 2019 and said, “The course provided an invaluable window into life as a producer through the lived experience of those in the industry as well as useful tools and theory. It gave me the confidence in my skills that I needed to start producing professionally and I’ve been doing so since. Another brilliant bonus was building up a network of course mates and industry professionals that I’m still in contact with today and who all help and support each other.”

Alice King-Farlow, Director of Learning at the NT said, “The National Theatre remains determined to open up pathways into the industry for young people from backgrounds under-represented in our sector. Despite the huge challenges facing the theatre industry, and as the theatre closes again under the new lockdown, we can use digital platforms to connect young people across the country with experts in our industry, who can share their experiences and knowledge and support the development and exchange of skills – for theatre and for the creative industries more widely. We hope these programmes will open up the creative industries to talented individuals who might not have considered a career in the sector, and provide transferable skills for their futures in any career.”

For more information, key dates and how to apply, visit https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/young-people

The National Theatre’s Partner for Learning is Bank of America.

The National Theatre’s Youth Programme for 16-21 year olds is supported by Richard Radcliffe Charitable Trust.

NT announces original film of Romeo & Juliet with Josh O’Connor & Jessie Buckley

National Theatre
  • The NT’s Lyttelton theatre temporarily transformed into a studio to film this special made-for-screen production
  • Directed by NT Associate Simon Godwin (Antony and Cleopatra, Twelfth Night)
  • Cast includes Fisayo Akinade, Deborah Findlay, Tamsin Greig, Lucian Msamati and Shubham Saraf
  • Presented by Sky Arts, PBS and No Guarantees, produced by the National Theatre in association with Sabel Productions and Cuba Pictures
  • The original film will premiere on Sky Arts and PBS in 2021

The National Theatre has today announced it is creating a new filmed version of Romeo & Juliet for television, temporarily transforming the vast stage spaces of its Lyttelton theatre into a film studio to capture Shakespeare’s timeless play for a new generation of audiences.

 The National Theatre has broadcast stage productions to cinemas for over a decade through its National Theatre Live programme, but this will be the first time an original production for screen has been created in its South Bank home.

 Romeo & Juliet will be directed by NT Associate Simon Godwin (Antony and Cleopatra, Twelfth Night), adapted for screen by Emily Burns and with Jessie Buckley (Chernobyl, Judy) and Josh O’Connor (God’s Own Country, The Crown) as the star-crossed lovers.

 Romeo & Juliet was originally to have played to theatre audiences in the NT’s Olivier auditorium from Summer 2020. Reconceived for the screen, this new 90-minute version will be shot over three weeks with a collaborative team of theatre and film experts, embracing the architecture of the theatre space in telling the story.  

 It will premiere in 2021 on Sky Arts and PBS, in the UK and US respectively. Sky Arts went free-to-air this September and is now available for everyone on Freeview channel 11 in the UK. Sky Arts is the headline sponsor of National Theatre Live in the UK and has just renewed its partnership for a further three years. In the US, the Emmy Award-winning performing arts series Great Performances will present Romeo & Juliet on PBS.

Rufus Norris, Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre, said: “Realising the Lyttelton theatre would need to remain shut to audiences during this time has been really difficult and meant we found ourselves in a unique set of circumstances. I wanted to find a way to use that space to create something exciting and special for audiences, that utilised the exceptional skill and craft of the National Theatre’s teams, freelancers and creative associates, and that could reach as many people as we can. That’s all going to be possible with this brilliant film of Romeo & Juliet and, in collaboration with Sky Arts, PBS and No Guarantees, it will be seen across the UK and US. I’m delighted that Simon, Jessie, Josh and the team have joined us for a National Theatre first and are going to create a truly fresh film of Shakespeare’s enduring love story.” 

 Simon Godwin, director of Romeo & Juliet, NT Associate and Artistic Director at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, said: “This has been a uniquely challenging time for the industry and so I have huge respect for Rufus and the team for meeting this challenge with creativity and deciding to use the Lyttelton theatre in this way for filmed work; I think it’s a genius idea and I’m honoured to be able to create the first film. I think I speak for myself, the creative team and the cast when I say how delighted we are to be focusing all our creativity into this version of Romeo & Juliet once more. Some ideas are staying, lots of new ones are coming in – I’m very excited about this new genre, combining film and theatre, and bringing together the remarkable talents of those industries. And the world will get to see Josh as Romeo and Jessie as Juliet, it had to happen!” 

 As previously announced for the Olivier production, Fisayo Akinade (The Antipodes, Barber Shop Chronicles) will play Mercutio. Also announced today as joining the cast of Romeo & Juliet is Deborah Findlay (Coriolanus, The Split) in the role of the Nurse, Tamsin Greig (Twelfth Night, Talking Heads) as Lady Capulet, Lucian Msamati (Master Harold…and the boys, His Dark Materials) as the Friar, Shubham Saraf (A Suitable Boy) as Benvolio, David Judge (My Brilliant Friend) as Tybalt, Alex Mugnaioni (The Visit) as Paris and Ellis Howard (Catherine the Great) as Sampson.

 Set in modern Italy in a world where Catholic and secular values clash, two young lovers strive to transcend a world of violence and corruption. Uniting key talent from both theatre and film, the Director of Photography is Tim Sidell (I Hate Suzie), with production design by Soutra Gilmour, movement direction by Jonathan Goddard and Shelley Maxwell, fight direction by Kate Waters and composition by Michael Bruce.

 It will be produced by David Sabel, who created the National Theatre Live programme at the NT, at Sabel Productions. Executive Producers are Rufus Norris, Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre; Dixie Linder, Cuba Pictures (London Road, McMafia); David Horn, Great Performances; Christine Schwarzman & Darren Johnston, No Guarantees; and Philip Edgar Jones, Sky Arts.

 Rehearsals for Romeo & Juliet start in November at the National Theatre, with filming from December and the premiere expected to air in spring 2021. 

 Presented by Sky Arts, PBS and No Guarantees, Romeo & Juliet will be produced by the National Theatre, in association with Sabel Productions and Cuba Pictures.  

Romeo & Juliet is supported by Leila Maw Straus.

National Theatre announces The Normal Heart and Dick Whittington On-Sale for Olivier in-the-round Season

National Theatre

For one year only, pantomime comes to the National Theatre. Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd’s hilarious and heartfelt version of Dick Whittington, first staged at Lyric Hammersmith in 2018 and freshly updated for 2020, will open in the socially distanced Olivier theatre on the 11 December.  

 Directed by Ned Bennett, 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. Initial casting includes Dickie Beau, Amy Booth-Steel, Lawrence Hodgson-Mullings​, Georgina Onuorah, and Cleve September. 

 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 and Fiona Parker is Associate Costume Designer. 

 Tickets go on sale to members from Monday, with public booking on 4 November. Over 200 seats will be available for each performance at £20, with half price tickets for under 18s on all tickets over £20. Tickets will be available to purchase as single tickets, as pairs or in threes and fours for audience to attend with their household or support bubble. There will also be a number of Access performances including an Audio-Described performance, a BSL performance and a Relaxed performance. Dates and information on how to book can be found here. 

 The next show to open as part of the Olivier in-the-round season in February 2021 is Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, in a co-production with Fictionhouse. Directed by Dominic Cooke, Kramer’s largely autobiographical play about the AIDS crisis in 1980 New York has not been performed professionally in London since its European premiere in 1986. Ben Daniels will perform the role of Ned Weeks, the co-founder of an AIDS advocacy group fighting to change the world around him, with Danny Lee Wynter as Tommy Boatwright, Daniel Monks as Mickey Marcus and Stanley Townsend as Ben Weeks. Vicki Mortimer is Set Designer and Paule Constable is Lighting Designer.  

 Tickets for The Normal Heart will go on sale from the end of November. 

 Director Dominic Cooke says: “As a student I was lucky enough to see the landmark Royal Court production of The Normal Heart starring Martin Sheen. It had a profound effect on me at the time and I’ve wanted to direct the play ever since. It is the rarest of things; a history play written by one of its key participants. It deals with the nature of political activism, the internal battle many LGBT people fight to feel worthy of love and, topically, the refusal of those in power to face the reality of an unfolding health crisis. Larry Kramer was a firebrand and The Normal Heart is written with all of his characteristic ferocity, political insight and wit. I’ve been talking with Ben Daniels for over five years about playing Ned Weeks. He is one of our greatest actors and I cannot wait to begin working with him, alongside the rest of the company and the brilliant team at the NT who Kate Horton and I, as Fictionhouse, will be co-producing with.”