One of the highlights of lockdown so far (not a phrase we thought we’d ever be saying, tbh) has to be the weekly theatre dose administered by London’s National Theatre. The line-up of plays streamed for free via YouTube – a new one released each Thursday – has been keeping audiences at home on the edge of their sofas. But the latest productions added to the bill are among the most star-studded so far (and James Corden, Gillian Anderson, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tamsin Greig have all already appeared).
Next up and streaming from tonight (Thursday May 28) is ‘This House’, a peerless political play penned by James Graham. A Westminster drama that has nothing to do with Barnard Castle, ‘This House’ is set in the ‘70s and yet seems like the perfect foil for our times. It comes from ‘Quiz’ and ‘Ink’ playwright Graham and this gripping version of the production was recorded in 2012, and features a cracking ensemble cast, with Philip Glenister, Vincent Franklin and Andrew Frame as Labour whips, and Julian Wadham, Charles Edwards and Ed Hughes as their opposite numbers.
Yet to come on the National Theatre Live’s streaming calendar is a Tom Hiddleston-starring ‘Coriolanus’. And after that, we can only hope for more from the rich NT Live back catalogue.
With the greatest archive of cinema-quality recordings of stage plays of any theatre on the planet, it’s little surprise that the National Theatre has been doing such a great job entertaining us all. The NT Live programme was designed to beam productions from the NT into cinemas across the country, but there are, of course, no cinemas in operation at present. So the NT has switched to broadcasting via its YouTube channel.
National Theatre at Home launched on YouTube on April 2, and now, every Thursday (7pm BST/2pm EST) sees a new play released – free to watch for one week – along with bonus content including cast and creatives Q&As and post-stream talks.
There’s been a definite emphasis on good cheer for the line-up so far, which kicked off with Richard Bean’s beloved farce ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’, starring a pre-chatshow-days James Corden, and which drew more than 2.5 million viewers. The latest wave of plays is just as tantalising, with the NT definitely keeping its viewers on their toes by saving the Hiddleston until last.
Here’s the full programme so far:
April 2 ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ by Richard Bean, starring James Corden. Read our review.
April 9 ‘Jane Eyre’, adapted by Sally Cookson. Read our review.
April 16 ‘Treasure Island’, adapted by Bryony Lavery. Read our review.
April 23 ‘Twelfth Night’ by William Shakespeare, starring Tamsin Greig. Read our review.
April 30 & May 1 ‘Frankenstein’ adapted by Danny Boyle, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller. Read our review.
May 7 ‘Antony & Cleopatra’ by William Shakespeare, starring Ralph Fiennes. Read our review.
May 14 ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’ by Inua Ellams. Read our review.
May 21 ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams, starring Gillian Anderson. Read our review.
May 28 ‘This House’ by James Graham. Read our reveiw.
June 4 ‘Coriolanus’ by William Shakespeare, starring Tom Hiddleston. Read our review.
Additionally, the National Theatre will be rolling out National Theatre Collection study resources to pupils now learning at home.
The NT has also confirmed that live performances won’t restart until at least July.
For other ways you can watch plays while London’s in lockdown, click here.
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