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National Theatre Live: 100 Plays in Cinemas – 51-75


As we carry on with our history of NT Live, we’re taking you through to 2019 with big hits like Yerma, Follies and so many more…

Screenings 51 to 75

51. Amadeus – 2 February 2017 (Olivier Theatre)

By Peter Shaffer. Directed by Michael Longhurst.

Lucian Msamati as Salieri; enough said. After winning multiple Olivier and Tony Awards when it had its premiere at the National Theatre in 1979, Amadeus was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film.

This glorious 2017 production was broadcast with live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia.

Photo by Marc Brenner

52. Saint Joan – 16 February 2017 (Donmar Warehouse)

By Bernard Shaw. Directed by Josie Rourke.

With Gemma Arterton as Joan of Arc: a daughter, farm girl, soldier, visionary, leader, martyr and most importantly, a woman. A return to NT Live for Josie Rourke.

Photo by Jack Sain

53. Hedda Gabler – 9 March 2017 (Lyttelton Theatre)

By Patrick Marber, after Henrik Ibsen. Directed by Ivo Van Hove.

Ruth Wilson played Hedda Gabler in this new version of the classic play, that then toured the UK. Hedda longs to be free, but after returning from honeymoon she realises the relationship is already in trouble. The cast also included Rafe Spall and Chukwudi Iwuji.

Photo by Jan Versweyveld

54. Twelfth Night – 6 April 2017 (Olivier Theatre)

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Simon Godwin.

Tamsin Grieg danced her way through this brilliant show as Malvolia, performing alongside Daniel Rigby, Tamara Lawrence and Doon Mackichan in Simon Godwin’s third NT Live.

The production included a jacuzzi on stage, an impressive staircase, a live band, a performance from a drag queen and lots of cabaret.

Photo by Marc Brenner

55. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead – 20 April 2017 (The Old Vic)

By Tom Stoppard. Directed by David Leveaux.

Another iconic duo… David Leveaux’s production, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Joshua McGuire and David Haig, marked the 50th anniversary of the play that made a young Tom Stoppard’s name overnight.

Photo by Manuel Harlan

56. Obsession – 11 May 2017 (Barbican Centre)

By Jan Peter Gerrits, based on the film by Luchino Visconti. Directed by Ivo Van Hove. With Toneelgroep Amsterdam.

An adaptation of the 1943 film with Jude Law (yes, really!) and Halina Reijn in the leading roles.

The production design included a large-scale film projector that allowed videos to stretch across the room with a filmic atmosphere.

Photo by John Haynes

57. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – 18 May 2017 (Harold Pinter Theatre)

By Edward Albee. Directed by James Macdonald. With Sonia Friedman Productions.

The intimate five-star West End play was broadcast live with NT Live, with a cast featuring Imelda Staunton, Conleth Hill, Luke Treadaway and Imogen Poots.

As the alcohol flows and dawn approaches, a young couple are drawn into George and Martha’s toxic games until the evening reaches its climax in a moment of devastating truth-telling.

Photo by Johan Persson

58. Peter Pan – 10 June 2017 (Olivier Theatre)

By JM Barrie, devised by the Companies. Directed by Sally Cookson. With Bristol Old Vic.

Neverland was recreated in spectacular style on stage in the Olivier Theatre, with bouncing beds and flying fairies bringing JM Barrie’s beloved tale to life. The sinister Captain Hook was played by Anna Francolini, who doubled up as Mrs Darling.

Photo by Steve Tanner

59. Salomé – 22 June 2017 (Olivier Theatre)

Written and directed by Yaël Farber.

An occupied desert nation. A radical from the wilderness on hunger strike. A girl whose mysterious dance will change the course of the world.

Salomé played with the elements as sand fell from ceiling and water and blood were interlaced through dance with a soundtrack from acclaimed singers Yasmin Levy and Lubana Al Quntar.

Photo by Johan Persson.

60. Angels in America - Part One: Millenium Approaches – 20 July 2017 and 61. Angels in America - Part Two: Perestroika – 27 July 2017 (Lyttelton Theatre)

By Tony Kushner. Directed by Marianne Elliott.

A two-part release within two weeks that depicted America in the mid-1980s amid the AIDS crisis.

The multi-award-winning production featured Andrew Garfield as Prior Walter alongside Denise Gough as Harper Pitt, Nathan Lane as Roy M Cohn, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett as Belize and Russell Tovey as Joseph Pitt.

Andrew Garfield had made his National Theatre debut in 2006’s production of Burn / Chatroom / Citizenship.

Photo by Helen Maybanks

62. Yerma – 31 August 2017 (The Young Vic)

Written and directed by Simon Stone, after Frederico García Lorca.

Billie Piper plays an unnamed character called ‘her’ in Lorca’s iconic tale, set in contemporary London for Stone’s stunning adaptation. Piper won the Olivier Award for Best Actress for the role.

The set was contained in a glass box, with audiences on all sides, allowing for ‘her’ life to be examined.

Photo by Johan Persson

The original cast of Follies, with dancers wearing bird feather-plumed head-dresses and skirts.

63. Follies – 16 November 2017 (Olivier Theatre)

Book by James Goldman, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Directed by Dominic Cooke.

Losing our mind at this one. This musical had a cast of 37, including Imelda Staunton, Tracie Bennett and Janie Dee, and an orchestra of 21.

A whopping 128 mics were used for Follies to capture the sound, with one specifically used just for the tap shoes.

Photo by Johan Persson

64. Young Marx – 6 December 2017 (Bridge Theatre)

By Richard Bean and Clive Coleman. Directed by Nicholas Hytner. With London Theatre Company.

This was the first NT Live from the brand-new Bridge Theatre chiefed by the former National Theatre Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner, with many more to follow.

The cast included Rory Kinnear and Oliver Chris and marked a return to NT Live for Richard Bean after One Man, Two Guvnors.

Image by Manuel Harlan

65. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – 22 February 2018 (Apollo Theatre)

By Tennessee Williams. Directed by Benedict Andrews. With The Young Vic and The Young Ones.

It’s getting hot in here. The first and so far, only NT Live show from the Apollo Theatre.

Lack of parking meant a temporary outside broadcast gallery needed to be built in the theatre. The set featured a working shower on stage, and the cast included Sienna Miller, Jack O’Connell and Colm Meany.

Photo by Johan Persson

66. Julius Caesar – 22 March 2018 (Bridge Theatre)

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Nicholas Hytner. With London Theatre Company.

This was the first time NT Live had broadcast an immersive performance, with cameras positioned around a standing and moving audience. This would be soon followed by A Midsummer Night’s Dream, also from the Bridge Theatre.

The cast featured Ben Whishaw as Brutus, alongside Michelle Fairley, David Calder and David Morrissey.

Photo by Manuel Harlan

67. Macbeth – 10 May 2018 (Olivier Theatre)

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Rufus Norris.

Rory Kinnear was Macbeth and Anne-Marie Duff as Lady Macbeth in the second Macbeth production to be released in cinemas.

The production captured the scale of war in the classic tragedy, with the drum revolve in the Olivier used and the stage turned into a large rising entrance to the castle.

A replica of Rory Kinnear’s head was made and can be seen at the National Theatre Archive.

Photo by Brinkhoff Mögenburg

68. Julie – 6 September 2018 (Lyttelton Theatre)

By Polly Stenham, after Strindberg. Directed by Carrie Cracknell.

They say don’t work with animals…The play featured a trained dog which refused to go on stage during the broadcast and a real budgie, which was cut from the production when it continued to tweet off stage after it had been ‘killed’ on stage.

Vanessa Kirby played Julie and Eric Kofi Abrefa was Jean in this fiercely relevant and contemporary adaptation.

Photo by Richard Hubert Smith

69. King Lear – 28 September 2018 (Duke of York's Theatre)

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Jonathan Munby. With Chichester Festival Theatre.

For a whopping 3 hours and 47 minutes, Ian McKellen took to the stage as Lear in this transfer from the Chichester Festival Theatre.

The production featured a whole 30 minutes of rain on the stage too.

Photo by Johan Persson

70. Allelujah! – 1 November 2018 (Bridge Theatre)

By Alan Bennett. Directed by Nicholas Hytner.

The play marked Alan Bennett’s tenth collaboration with Nicholas Hytner. The show contained choreography from Arlene Phillips, known for her career on West End and Broadway productions, and as a former judge on Strictly Come Dancing. ​

The play became a film in 2022 directed by Richard Eyre.

Photo by Manuel Harlan

71. The Madness of George III – 20 November 2018 (Nottingham Playhouse)

By Alan Bennett. Directed by Adam Penford.

This play marked a return to NT Live for both Mark Gatiss and Adrian Scarborough and what a return! The play had originally premiered at the National Theatre in 1991, before being made into a film.

This 2018 production marked the first time NT Live had broadcast from Nottingham.

Photo by Manuel Harlan

72. Antony & Cleopatra – 6 December 2018 (Olivier Theatre)

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Simon Godwin.

Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo played the fated couple in Simon Godwin’s fourth NT Live production.

Real snakes – with the less than frightening names of Larry, Hondo and Porkpie – alternated in the role of the deadly asp. Hiss.

Photo by Johan Persson

73. The Tragedy of King Richard the Second – 15 January 2019 (Almeida Theatre)

By William Shakespeare. Directed by Joe Hill Gibbins.

He’s back! Simon Russell Beale returned to NT Live in this gory take on the tragedy. A lesser-known Shakespeare that boasted a very contemporary and stripped-back staging.

Our first and only broadcast – so far – from the Almeida Theatre.

Photo by Marc Brenner

74. I'm Not Running – 31 January 2019 (Lyttelton Theatre)

By David Hare. Directed by Neil Armfield.

Pauline Gibson has spent her life as a doctor, the inspiring leader of a local health campaign. When she crosses paths with her old boyfriend, a stalwart loyalist in Labour Party politics, she’s faced with an agonising decision.

With intense performances from Siân Brooke, Joshua McGuire and Alex Hassell, David Hare places personality politics under the spotlight.

Photo by Mark Douet

75. All About Eve – 11 April 2019 (Noël Coward Theatre)

By Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Directed by Ivo Van Hove. With Sonia Friedman Productions.

‘Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night’.

Adapted from the 1950 film, the play starred Gillian Anderson and Lily James as Margo Channing and Eve.

It featured a wonderful soundtrack with music from PJ Harvey, whose original instrumental songs helped delve into the relationship between the women.

Photo by Jan Versweyveld