Travelling Light

a new play by Nicholas Wright

★ ★ ★ ★
Financial Times, Guardian, The Times

‘Enchanting. A golden-hearted tragicomic fable.’
The Times

‘A love letter to the movies.' Guardian

Nicholas Wright’s new play is a funny and fascinating tribute to the Eastern European immigrants who became major players in Hollywood’s golden age.

Travelling Light postpress poster

Travelling Light

a new play by Nicholas Wright

In a remote village in Eastern Europe, around 1900, the young Motl Mendl is entranced by the flickering silent images on his father’s cinematograph. Bankrolled by Jacob, the ebullient local timber merchant, and inspired by Anna, the girl sent to help him make moving pictures of their village, he stumbles on a revolutionary way of story-telling. Forty years on, Motl – now a famed American film director – looks back on his early life and confronts the cost of fulfilling his dreams.

How had a twenty-two-year–old pretentious layabout made a discovery that would elude every other cinematic pioneer for years to come?

The award-winning Antony Sher – whose previous work with the National Theatre includes Primo and Stanley – returns to play Jacob.

I know it was in the picture. I made the picture and now the cow’s getting paid and I’m not!

Audio-Described performances Fri 2 Mar at 7.30pm, Sat 3 Mar at 2.15pm (Touch Tour at 12.45pm)

Captioned performance Wed 29 Feb at 7.30pm


National Theatre Live

Travelling Light was broadcast to cinemas across the UK and around the world on 9 February 2012 as part of National Theatre Live. Find your nearest cinema and book.


On Tour

13 – 17 March
The Lowry, Salford

20 – 24 March
Grand Theatre, Leeds

27 – 31 March
Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

3 – 7 April
Theatre Royal, Newcastle

original photos © Corbis

  • War Horse final performance 12 March 2016
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Jane Eyre. Woman in a pale dress with an image of flames projected onto her
  • National Youth Theatre: Consensual.  2 teenagers in school uniform, one with her hand over the boys mouth
  • National Youth Theatre: Wuthering Heights, Title in black, over a photo of a young woman dancing in a nightclub
  • National Youth Theatre: The Merchant of Venice, Title in white, over a B&W photo of a V for Vendetta mask
  • Husbands and Sons. Photo of Anne-Marie Duff
  • Waste. Image: Charcoal on paper a man's head, smudged, by Valentin van der Meulen. ‘Untitled 07’. 2013.
  • I  Want My Hat Back. Cartoon animals in black agaist an orange background
  • Evening at the Talk House. A decomposing dessert on a cake stand
  • Here We Go, shadowy, blurred figures, blue against a white background
  • As You Like It. Photo of Rosalie Craig
  • Guardian + NT Debates
  • Gigs at the National Theatre
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Photo of Sharon D Clarke by Seamus Ryan
  • Iphigenia in Splott
  • Cleansed. Photo: Untitled by Birgit Kahle
  • The Solid Life of Sugar Water
  • People, Places and Things
  • Les Blancs / The Whites
  • Brainstorm. Teenage boy with blue exploding head
  • The Suicide. Photography by Jay Brooks