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National Theatre Blog

2018 and Beyond

NT from the North East

Productions coming up this year, including new writing, UK premieres and reimagined classics.

Casts include Sophie Okonedo, Ralph Fiennes, Rhys Ifans, Cecilia Noble, Katherine Parkinson, Colin Morgan, Vanessa Kirby and Indira Varma, while directors include Carrie Cracknell, Sam Mendes, Patrick Marber and Simon Godwin. David Hare’s I’m Not Running is his 17th play at the National Theatre, while Natasha Gordon’s Nine Night is her first.

There’s a brand new participatory theatre programme called Public Acts – the first production, Pericles, will see Emily Lim direct a community ensemble in the Olivier.

We’ve also announced two new pieces of technology. The first, Open Access Smart Capture, will allow D/deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences to attend any National Theatre performance by introducing an always-on closed-captioning service in pairs of smart glasses. The second, ProFile, is a resource for theatre, TV and film casting directors to address the underrepresentation of D/deaf and disabled actors.

Full details below.


Olivier Theatre


Translations by Brian Friel
From 22 May. Public booking opens on Friday 16 March, 8.30am.
Ian Rickson directs a cast which includes Colin Morgan and Ciarán Hinds in Brian Friel’s powerful account of language and nationhood. Rae Smith designs. Part of the Travelex £15 Season.

Exit the King by Eugène Ionesco, adapted by Patrick Marber
From July. Booking opens later in the year.
Patrick Marber directs his own adaptation of Ionesco’s dark comedy, designed by Anthony Ward. Cast includes Rhys Ifans and Indira Varma. Part of the Travelex £15 Season.

Pericles by William Shakespeare, adapted by Chris Bush
August. Booking opens later in the year.
Emily Lim directs a large community ensemble and small cast of professional actors in the first Public Acts production.

Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare
From September. Booking opens later in the year.
Simon Godwin follows the success of Twelfth Night with another Shakespeare production in the Olivier. Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo play the lovers, with design by Hildegard Bechtler.

Follies, book by James Goldman, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
In 2019, Dominic Cooke's five-star production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies returns to the Olivier.



Lyttelton Theatre


Julie by Polly Stenham
From 31 May. Public booking opens on Friday 16 March, 8.30am.
Carrie Cracknell directs this reimagining of Strindberg’s Miss Julie, designed by Tom Scutt, with cast including Vanessa Kirby and Eric Kofi Abrefa. Part of the Travelex £15 Season.

The Lehman Trilogy by Stefano Massini, adapted by Ben Power
A co-production with Neal Street Productions

From 4 July. Public booking opens on Friday 16 March, 8.30am.
Sam Mendes directs the epic story of Lehman Brothers from its inception in 1844 to the financial crash 163 years later. Ben Power adapts Stefano Massini’s play, which has been a success across Europe. Cast includes Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Ben Miles.

I’m Not Running by David Hare
From Autumn 2018. Booking opens later in the year.
I’m Not Running, David Hare’s 18th play at the National Theatre, is directed by Neil Armfield. It tells the story of two friends and their involvement, or lack of it, in British party politics.

War Horse
based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford 
in association with the award-winning Handspring Puppet Company

From November. Booking opens later in the year.
​The remarkable story of courage, loyalty and friendship returns to the National Theatre to mark the centenary of the Armistice.


Dorfman Theatre


An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
A co-production with Orange Tree Theatre

From 7 June. Public booking opens on Friday 16 March, 8.30am.
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ extraordinary play comes to the National Theatre after a sold-out run at the Orange Tree Theatre.

Home, I’m Darling by Laura Wade
A co-production with Theatr Clwyd

From July. Booking opens later in the year.
Theatr Clwyd’s Artistic Director Tamara Harvey directs Laura Wade’s new comedy with cast which includes Katherine Parkinson. Opening at Theatr Clwyd in June.


Public Acts


Public Acts: a nationwide initiative to create extraordinary acts of theatre and community. The programme builds on our experience of creating the award-winning ‘we’re here because we’re here’ with volunteer performers and theatres across the UK.

Public Acts is inspired by Public Works, The Public Theater’s ground-breaking programme of participatory theatre in New York.

Public Acts will be built on sustained partnerships with organisations that share our vision for theatre as a force for change. Over the next two years we will work with the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch and a number of community organisations across Greater London. Through these partnerships we will invite members of London’s diverse communities to take part in regular creative activity and join us in the creation of theatre productions.

The first of these will be a new production of Pericles in the Olivier Theatre in August 2018. It will feature a small cast of professional actors together with a large number of non-professional actors who will be cast through their connection with our community partner organisations. The NT has commissioned Chris Bush, a writer with extensive experience working with large community ensembles, to adapt Shakespeare’s Pericles which will be directed by NT resident director Emily Lim. The production will also feature cameo appearances from a diverse range of local performance groups.




D/deaf and disabled actors are currently under-represented on stage and screen in the UK. The National Theatre and Spotlight have created a new resource to champion this talent pool by offering industry professionals the opportunity to watch these actors in action on an online video database. It is a free service, both for performers and industry users, and is available for the use of film, theatre and television professionals across the UK. Its aim is to widen the pool from which casting directors and other industry professionals draw their talent, with a view to creating a more inclusive industry in the long term, and one that better represents the diversity of the nation.

ProFile was created as part of the National Theatre’s Creative Diversity Project, a pilot project focusing on diversity and inclusion at the NT, one strand of which aims to address the under-representation of D/deaf and disabled actors on our stages.


Open Access Smart Capture


The National Theatre today announces the pilot launch of a brand new technological innovation, Open Access Smart Capture.

The NT and its partner for innovation, Accenture, have developed new technology, which will mean for the first-time access service users will be able to attend any performance thanks to a transformative, always-on closed captioning and audio-description service.

The smart glasses support the NT’s vision to ensure theatre access for all and have been designed and manufactured by Epson, with ease-of-use, durability and accessibility in mind. The glasses enable the user to discreetly see the captions for theatre performances on a screen directly in front of their eyes from any seat in the auditorium. At the heart of this advanced system is new technology which aims to achieve 97% accuracy of the timing of the captions and descriptions.

Over the next year, the pilot phase will rigorously test this unique system, starting in the Dorfman and moving on to our two larger spaces, the Olivier and Lyttelton.


Other venues, tours and transfers

Between October 2017 and March 2019, NT will tour the UK for a total of 115 playing weeks.

War Horse is currently touring the UK until March 2019.

Macbeth embarks on tour from October 2018 (tour cast to be announced). On sale soon. 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was on an international tour.

Angels in America was playing on Broadway.

Consent was at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End.

The Jungle is currently playing at the Playhouse Theatre in the West End.

Nine Night will transfer to Trafalgar Studios in Dec 2018. Tickets on sale from June 2018.


National Theatre Live


Benedict Andrews directs Sienna Miller and Jack O’Connell in the Young Vic production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Captured during its West End run and broadcast on 22 February 2018.

Nicholas Hytner directs Ben Whishaw, Michelle Fairley, David Calder and David Morrissey in Julius Caesar. Broadcast from the Bridge Theatre on 22 March 2018.

Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff appear in a new production of Macbeth, directed by Rufus Norris. Broadcast live on 10 May.

Simon Godwin’s production of Antony and Cleopatra with Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo will be broadcast live. Date tbc.