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Public Acts

Pericles company on stage as part of Public Acts

Public Acts is the National Theatre’s nationwide initiative to create extraordinary acts of theatre and community.

The programme creates ambitious new works of participatory theatre and is built on sustained partnerships with theatres and community organisations across the UK who share our vision of theatre as a force for change.

The first Public Acts production was Pericles in August 2018, at the National Theatre, in the Olivier Theatre. The second production was As You Like It  in August 2019 at the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch. In 2021, we will partner with Cast in Doncaster for a third Public Acts production, working with community partners from the local area. This third production has been postponed from 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Show your support

If would like to support the National Theatre's work in and with communities around the UK, including projects like Public Acts, contact the Development Team by email at [email protected] or make a donation below. 

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Our Community Partners

For our foundation cycle, between 2017 and 2019, we worked with the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch and eight community organisations across Greater London, who deliver visionary work in their communities.

As part of our company, members take part in bespoke programmes designed in collaboration with each partner, including weekly workshops, theatre trips and opportunities for socialising and creating together. At the end of each year, everyone is invited to come together to perform in our flagship productions. 

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Following advice from Government and Public Health England about the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19), we have unfortunately had to take the decision to postpone our Public Acts production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle.

We are continuing to work with our brilliant community partners and creative team over the coming months, and hope to reschedule as soon as possible.

Find out more

The Caucasian Chalk Circle


Our first Public Acts production was a new musical adaptation of Pericles performed on the Olivier stage by a company of over 200 people of all ages.

Prince Pericles has everything but understands little. When a reckless act threatens his safety, he must flee his home and take to sea. Only by reaching the ends of the earth may he finally understand what it means to come home.

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Pericles - Graphic of a sailboat tossed upon waves made of the outline of hands

As You Like It

In August 2019, the second Public Acts production, a musical adaptation of As You Like It, played at the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch.

Forced from their homes, Orlando, Duke Senior, his daughter Rosalind, and niece Ceila escape to the Forest of Arden, a fantastical place where all are welcomed and embraced. Lost amidst the trees, they find community and acceptance under the stars…

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As You Like It at Hornchurch

Public Acts | Pericles

Find out about creating the first Public Acts production, Pericles, in 2018.

More info

The Public Acts Team

Director - Emily Lim
Senior Producer - Ros Terry
Engagement Producer - Lara Taylor

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


         Arts Council & National Lottery logo  




Supported by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Mr & Mrs A Mosawi and Simon & Sue Ruddick.