National Theatre Annual Review 2015–16: in summary

The National Theatre’s Annual Review for 2015–16 details Rufus Norris’ first year as Director of the National Theatre, with Lisa Burger as Executive Director. A full version of the Annual Report is available online, with key highlights below.


What We Made

  • Last year we made 27 new productions for the four theatres at our London home. The broad and exciting programme included re-imagined classics, modern masterpieces and new writing.
  • We staged 35 productions in total, employing 508 actors and 131 musicians. We gave 3,134 performances across the UK and around the world.

Where We Went

  • In 2015–16 our work was seen in more places than at any point in our history.
  • Through touring productions, collaboration with 63 theatre companies around the country, NT Live broadcasts, and our Learning programme, we reached more of the UK than ever before. Among the year’s highlights was the successful completion of a 31 city nationwide tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
  • Internationally, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Timebecame the longest-running play on Broadway in over a decade, winning 5 Tony Awards. War Horse played in Belgium and the Netherlands, and on 4th September War Horse opened in Beijing before touring to 5 other Chinese cities.

Who Saw Our Work

  • Our global paying audience was 4 million and our audience in the UK was 2.5 million. 57% of our UK ticket-bookers came from outside London.
  • Audience attendance was 88% at the NT, and attendances were 787,000 – a seven-year high.
  • On the South Bank, the number of bookers under 35 years old went up by 75%, and the average age of all bookers dropped to 51, closer to the national average age of 47. 30% of bookers were first-timers.
  • Through live theatre, broadcast and digital, and from theatre to learning, our work reached a global audience of 7.6 million.


  • In September 2015 we launched National Theatre On Demand In Schools, allowing students to stream the NT’s productions of Hamlet, Othello and Frankenstein to classrooms, for free. To date, more than 1 in 3 UK state secondary schools have signed up.
  • This year saw the 21st anniversary of Connections, our nationwide youth theatre festival, enabling over 7,000 young people to perform at one of 45 partner theatres across the UK.
  • In total there were 181,000 engagements with the Learning department across the year.
  • In addition 102,861 young people saw our productions at the NT and in the West End with their school or college.


  • We earned £6.4m from our commercial transfers and generated a surplus on unrestricted operations after designations of £5.5m. This surplus was used to increase our reserves in anticipation of a significant decline in commercial income following the closure of War Horse in the West End.
  • 60% of our income came from ticket sales for live theatre and our Arts Council grant represented 15% of total income.
  • Fundraising was up by 17% and in real terms our Arts Council grant has decreased by 25% since 2010.

Programme highlights:

  • In the Olivier, the programme included Carol Ann Duffy’s adaptation of Everyman, As You Like It, directed by Polly Findlay, land a co-production with Manchester International Festival and Théâtre du Châtelet, and Les Blancs directed by Yaël Farber.
  • In the Lyttelton, the year included Stephen Adly Guirgis’ award-winning The Motherf**ker with the Hat, Jane Eyre, a co-production with Bristol Old Vic which will tour the UK in 2017, and the Olivier award-winning Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom by August Wilson.
  • In the Dorfman, our co-production of People, Places & Things transferred triumphantly to the West End and Denise Gough won the award for Best Actress at both the Olivier Awards 2016 and the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards 2015. We co-produced Husbands and Sons with Manchester Royal Exchange, and Katie Mitchell returned to the NT to direct Cleansed, the first Sarah Kane play to be staged at the National.
  • The final year of the Temporary Theatre began with Alexander Zeldin’s Beyond Caring, a collaboration with The Yard, and productions included Islington Community Theatre’s Brainstorm, irreverent festive programming for young audiences with Joel Horwood and Arthur Darvill’s adaptation of I Want My Hat Back, and Graeae’s The Solid Life of Sugar Water.
  • Jeremy Deller and Rufus Norris worked together in 2015-16 to create we’re here because we’re here, a modern memorial to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. It was produced by the NT and Birmingham Repertory Theatre in collaboration with 27 partner organisations, including the three national companies working together for the first time. The project involved 1,400 volunteers; 2 million people saw the soldiers on the streets of the UK, it trended on Twitter for 14 hours and there were 221 million impressions on social media.
  • 5m people saw an NT Live broadcast. There were 11 productions – 6 from the NT and 5 from partner theatres: the Royal Court, Donmar Warehouse, Young Vic and the Barbican, with Sonia Friedman. In the UK there were 700 participating venues and an audience of 700,000. Worldwide there were 2,000 venues in 55 countries.
  • On 12 March, after 8 glorious years, War Horse completed its West End run. War Horse will begin a major UK tour in September 2017 and continues to delight audiences in China where it opened in Beijing on September 4 2015, before touring to 5 other Chinese cities. To date over 7 million people have seen War Horse
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time continued to run in London and on Broadway, and it completed a 31-city tour of UK and Ireland. In total, over 950,000 people saw Curious Incident last year.

Click the link to download –> national-theatre-summary-annual-review-2015-2016 

To view the full annual report, please click here

Click here to book your tickets for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night -Time