National Theatre announces full reopening schedule

The National Theatre have announced their upcoming production schedule which will see all three South Bank theatres will be open for live performances for audiences for the first time since March 2020.

The National Theatre. Photo: Philip Vile

Kae Tempest’s previously announced Paradise, a new version of Philoctetes by Sophocles, will open in the Olivier Theatre in August with direction by Ian Rickson. It features an all-female cast, with Lesley Sharp playing 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 joins 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, the production reunites 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.

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 coproduction with Wise Children, Bristol Old Vic and York Theatre Royal, the show will go on to tour the UK in spring 2022.

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