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National Theatre Blog

What's New in 2020 at the National Theatre

Standing at the Sky's Edge production image with Louis Gaunt, Alastair Natkiel, Deborah Tracey, Damian Myerscough, Nicole Deon, Fela Lufadeju and Johanne Murdock

This blog post represents a snapshot of what 2020 would have been for the National Theatre.

Sadly, with the closure of our building due to coronavirus, these shows have been postponed or cancelled. We've been sharing plays for free each week on YouTube with National Theatre at home. We're planning the ways we'll keep sharing theatre with audiences at home, on the big screen, and, eventually, on our stages.


This year, our theatres are bursting with resonant stories from some of the nation’s – and the world’s – brightest talent. 


What’s New: On Our Stages
What’s New: On Tour
National Theatre Live
What’s On Now
What’s Booking Now

We want theatre to be for everyone. So, we’ve made some changes to our pricing, with 250,000 tickets across the year at £20 or under – that’s 25% more available than before.

Here are all the details of our new pricing.

What’s New: On Our Stages 

We’re excited to reveal new shows in 2020-21. These plays will go on sale later this year.  

STANDING AT THE SKY’S EDGE by Richard Hawley and Chris Bush / Jan 2021 

This new British musical, which premiered at Sheffield Theatres, is set in the city’s Park Hill estate. Directed by Rob Hastie in the Olivier Theatre, it’s ‘a heartfelt exploration of home in all its guises’ ★★★★ Guardian. 

OUTLINE. TRANSIT. KUDOS. adapted by Alice Birch / Oct 2020 

Rachel Cusk’s trilogy of acclaimed novels about Faye, a writer and mother of two, get a landmark production. It’ll be directed by Katie Mitchell, who tells unique stories with film and audio. 

PHAEDRA adapted by Simon Stone / Nov 2020 

A new version of Phaedra, after Euripides, Seneca and Racine, featuring Kristin Scott Thomas, as a British politician, and Assaad Bouab. Also broadcast by National Theatre Live. 

BLUES FOR AN ALABAMA SKY by Pearl Cleage / Feb 2021 

1930, Harlem. A newcomer from Alabama arrives, disrupting the lives of four friends. Lynette Linton, Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre, directs Pearl Cleage’s play, with a cast including Giles Terera. 

SING YER HEART OUT FOR THE LADS by Roy Williams / Sep 2020   

Direct from Chichester Festival Theatre, and 18 years after its National Theatre premiere, we welcome Nicole Charles’s (Emilia) ★★★★★ production of this ferocious and funny play, set during the men's World Cup qualifiers. 

KERRY JACKSON by April de Angelis / Nov 2020 

Set in a Hackney café, on the front line of gentrification, this new play casts a shrewd eye on a country’s moment of profound change. It will be directed by Indhu Rubasingham, Artistic Director Kiln Theatre. 

AFTER LIFE created Jack Thorne, Jeremy Herrin and Bunny Christie / Jan 2021   

Somewhere between life and death, the people passing through pick one memory they’ll live with for an eternity.  Inspired by Hirokazu Kore-eda's film, this is a new co-production with Headlong Theatre.  

ROMEO & JULIET by William Shakespeare / Aug 2020 

Simon Godwin sets Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy in modern Italy, where Catholic and secular values clash. The cast features Jessie Buckley as Juliet, Josh O’Connor as Romeo and Fisayo Akinade as Mercutio. 

WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emma Rice / Sep 2020 

A wild adaptation of Emily Brontë’s masterpiece, adapted and directed by Wise Children’s Emma Rice, at the National Theatre, and touring to locations including Salford, Cantebury, York and Bristol. John Pfumojena is Heathcliffe and Lucy McCormick is Cathy.

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What’s New: On Tour 


Out on the road alongside tours of Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Julie will be:

BEGINNING by David Eldridge / Sep 2020

Danny’s the last straggler at Laura’s party. The flat’s in a mess. And so are they. One more drink? A new cast revive Polly Findlay’s acclaimed, five-star production at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, followed by a UK tour. 


We’re on tour, internationally. The Jungle returns to New York and Hadestown, currently on Broadway, will tour the USA.  

After its Broadway run, The Lehman Trilogy plays at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, this autumn. 

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What’s Booking Now

ALL OF US by Francesca Martinez / 18 Mar – 16 May

A timely drama that explores life, love and the struggle to survive, for those who don’t fit in during a time of austerity. Writer and comedian Francesca Martinez leads an ensemble cast in her debut play, directed by Ian Rickson (Translations). 

HAMLET by Shakespeare, adapted by Jude Christian / 30 Mar – 9 Apr 

An engaging retelling of Shakespeare’s most well-known tragedy for young audiences, directed by Tinuke Craig. 

MANOR by Moira Buffini / From 7 Apr 

This place is about to blow. Stranded together, an explosive mix of people must survive the weather, and each other. Directed by Fiona Buffini. 

JACK ABSOLUTE FLIES AGAIN by Richard Bean and Oliver Chris / From 15 Apr

There’s a Battle for Britain and a battle for hearts. Pilot Officer Jack’s advances turn to anarchy when a young heiress demands to be loved on her own terms. A comedy from the creator of One Man, Two Guvnors, directed by Thea Sharrock. 

SEA SICK by Alanna Mitchell / 22 Apr – 7 May 

The ocean contains the switch of life. And it can be turned off. Performer and writer Alanna Mitchell uses science and wit to tell us about her journey to the bottom of the ocean, the demons she discovered there, and her hope for the future. 

PARADISE by Kate Tempest / Jun 2020 

Once a wartime hero, now a wounded outcast. Lesley Sharp plays Sophocles’ mighty warrior Philoctetes, stranded on a desolate island and tempted by revenge. Ian Rickson directs. 

THE CORN IS GREEN by Emlyn Williams / Jun 2020 

One person can make all the difference. Nicola Walker (The Split) stars in this classic Welsh play, about a teacher determined to help young local miners. Dominic Cooke directs. 

WELCOME TO IRAN by Nadia Fall / May 2020 

Ava is a 20-something Londoner. Following the death of her father, she journeys to Iran in search of his past and her culture. Welcome to Iran opens at Theatre Royal Stratford East before transferring to the Dorman Theatre. 

ROMEO AND JULIE by Gary Owen / July 2020  

Romeo is a teenage single dad hanging on tight. Julie is fighting to follow her dream of studying at Cambridge. From worlds apart, they crash into first love. Rachel O’Riordan directs this co-production with Sherman Theatre. It will tour the UK.

SMALL ISLAND by Helen Edmundson / Oct 2020 

‘A spectacular adaptation of Andrea Levy’s Windrush novel.’ ★★★★★ Observer  

Following a critically acclaimed run in 2019, Rufus Norris’ epic production of Small Island returns to the stage. 

THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE by Neil Gaiman and adapted by Joel Horwood / Oct 2020

The fantasy epic about bravery and friendship returns. Katy Rudd's production goes to the Duke of York’s Theatre in the West End.

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National Theatre Live 

It’s an exciting year ahead for National Theatre Live. 

CYRANO DE BERGERAC adapted by Martin Crimp / Encores Now Playing

James McAvoy (X-Men, Atonement) returns to the stage in an inventive new adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, broadcast live to cinemas from the West End in London.

THE WELKIN by Lucy Kirkwood / 21 May

One life in the hands of 12 women. The Welkin will be broadcast live to cinemas from the National Theatre.

LEOPOLDSTADT by Tom Stoppard / 25 Jun

Generations of a Jewish family in Vienna pass through the convulsions of history that begin the 20th century. Regarded as ‘Britain’s greatest living playwright’ (Times), Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt is a passionate drama of love, family and endurance.

JACK ABSOLUTE FLIES AGAIN by Richard Bean and Oliver Chris / 23 July

Pilot Officer Jack’s advances turn to anarchy when a young heiress demands to be loved on her own terms. Jack Absolute Flies Again will be broadcast live to cinemas from the National Theatre. Tickets will be on sale from your local cinema soon.

Stayed tuned for broadcast dates for Simon Godwin’s Romeo & Juliet, and Simon Stone’s new version of Phaedra, as well as more titles to be announced. 

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What’s On Now 

THE WELKIN by Lucy Kirkwood / Playing Until 23 May 

‘A mighty new play. Magnificent.’ ★★★★ Financial Times 

One life in the hands of 12 women. Lizzy Luke and a jury of 12 matrons have one hour to decide a fate to be lived with for the rest of their lives. Directed by James Macdonald and designed by Bunny Christie. 

THE VISIT adapted by Tony Kushner / Playing Until 13 May

‘A superb piece of theatre. Lesley Manville is magnetic.’ ★★★★ Evening Standard 

Prosperity will only come at a terrible price, for a small town in post-recession New York. Lesley Manville and Hugo Weaving play former lovers in Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s visionary revenge play, directed by Jeremy Herrin. 

THE SEVEN STREAMS OF THE RIVER OTA by Ex Machina and Robert Lepage / Playing Until 22 Mar

Hiroshima, 1945. An event that changed the course of history. The landmark, spectacular production returns to the National Theatre for nine performances only. 

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We look forward to seeing you soon.


Standing at the Sky's Edge. Photo by Johan Persson