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National Theatre celebrates 50 Years

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At the beginning of this month, the Royal National Theatre celebrated 50 years on stage. The theatre presents a varied Theatre programme, including Shakespeare and other international classic drama; and new plays by contemporary playwrights.

To celebrate, BBC 2 aired a special live program featuring archive footage, live performances and insightful interviews with the cast and crew. The official program description reads;

From Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead to The History Boys, from The Mysteries to Angels in America, from Guys and Dolls to London Road – join us for a thrilling evening of live performance and rare glimpses from the archive, featuring many of the most celebrated actors who have performed on our stages over the past five decades and directed by Nicholas Hytner.

A cast of 100 will perform live on stage, including Roger Allam, Simon Russell Beale, James Corden, Dominic Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Frances de la Tour, Judi Dench, Christopher Eccleston, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi, Alex Jennings, Rory Kinnear, Adrian Lester, Anna Maxwell Martin, Helen Mirren, Andrew Scott, Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton.

The National Theatre has given birth, or a home to some of not only Britain’s biggest stars, but the worlds and it is always a genuine pleasure to see them on stage, perhaps more so than in cinema. As part of the celebration, NT also has extensive interviews and Q+A’s with a variety of Theatre creators and participants. Here’s one example, featuring David Bradley but you can catch the whole roster over here. If you’ve ever been interested in Theatre, they are a great entry point into that world and I highly recommend it. The celebration special can also be found on iplayer in certain regions.



Also, In June 2009, the theatre began National Theatre Live (NT Live), a program of simulcasts of live productions to cinemas, first in the United Kingdom and then internationally – a fantastic way to open Theatre up to the country for people who either can’t afford or can’t travel to the performances. I myself have seen a number of performances this way including Helen Mirren’s reprisal playing the Queen in The Audience and Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston’s Macbeth. Definitely look at your local and surrounding cinemas to see if they participate.

Source: National Theatre

Did you check out the Program? Check out some of the extensive Q+A sessions on youtube? Comment below.