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National Theatre Blog

Coming up at the NT in 2017

NT entrance Feb 2015

Today, Rufus Norris has announced what’s coming up at the NT in 2017, including four world premieres, two European premieres and new work by Inua Ellams, Yaёl Farber, DC Moore, Lindsey Ferrentino and Nina Raine.

Acclaimed writer and director Yaёl Farber returns to the National with the European premiere of Salomé, while co-productions with Headlong, Fuel, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Out of Joint and Improbable and are among the collaborations with theatre companies from across the UK.

Leading actors will include Imelda Staunton, Olivia Colman, Philip Quast, Nathan Lane, Andrew Garfield, Denise Gough, Russell Tovey, James McArdle, Susan Brown, Janie Dee, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Daniel Rigby, Tamara Lawrence, Doon Mackichan and Daniel Ezra.

Details of the season, including tours and NT Live broadcasts, are below.

Olivier Theatre

Twelfth Night

As previously announced, Tamsin Greig will return to the National in February 2017 to play ‘Malvolia’ in Twelfth Night, the first of two Shakespeare plays being directed by Simon Godwin, who will also direct Ralph Fiennes in Antony and Cleopatra in 2018. Further casting for Twelfth Night includes Daniel Rigby as Aguecheek, Tamara Lawrence as Viola, Doon Mackichan as Feste and Daniel Ezra as Sebastian.


Following her acclaimed production of Les Blancs, director Yaёl Farber returns to the Olivier in May with a radical revision of the biblical tale. The world premiere of Salomé was produced by Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington DC. The cast includes Olwen Fouéré. Part of the 2017 Travelex £15 ticket season.


The world premiere of DC Moore’s new play, directed by Jeremy Herrin (People, Places and Things, The Plough and the Stars). Set in the early days of the Industrial Revolution, the common land of England is under threat. An epic new history play co-produced with Headlong, part of the 2017 Travelex £15 ticket season.


Later in the year, Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s classic musical comes to the NT for the first time. NT Associate Director Dominic Cooke directs a cast including Imelda Staunton as Sally Durant Plummer, Janie Dee as Phyllis Rogers Stone and Philip Quast as Benjamin Stone.

Lyttelton Theatre

Ugly Lies the Bone

In March 2017, Indhu Rubasingham directs the European premiere of Lindsey Ferrentino’s Ugly Lies the Bone, which tells the story of an American soldier injured on tour in Afghanistan who returns to her family home. Through the use of virtual reality video game therapy, she builds a new world to escape her pain. Lindsey Ferrentino won the National Arts Club’s 2016 Kesselring Prize for Ugly Lies the Bone.

Angels in America

As previously announced, in May Marianne Elliott will direct Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, with Andrew Garfield returning to the National as Prior Walter. The company also includes Susan Brown, Nathan Lane, James McArdle, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Denise Gough and Russell Tovey. Millennium Approaches, the first of the two plays which form Angels in America, received its British premiere at the National’s Cottesloe Theatre in 1992, and was joined by Perestroika in a double-bill the following year.

Dorfman Theatre


Following its acclaimed and sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe, BRONKS brings Us/Them to the NT in January 2017. During a siege at a school in Beslan terrorists chose a group of children as their victims. Us/Them is not a straightforward account, instead it explores the individual way that children cope with extreme situations. With humour and a matter-of-fact approach, it contrasts the views of children with those of the adults around them. Presented by BRONKS and Richard Jordan Productions in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth, Big in Belgium and Summerhall.

Dublin Oldschool

A play about brothers, Dublin and dance music, Emmet Kirwan’s Dublin Oldschool snaps, crackles, raps and rhymes. It features high octane performances by Emmet Kirwan and Ian Lloyd Anderson, and is directed by Phillip McMahon. Playing from January, presented by Project Arts Centre in association with Soho Theatre, supported by Culture Ireland.

Lost Without Words

A co-production with Improbable, opening in the Dorfman Theatre in March. This theatrical experiment sees Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson work with older actors in their seventies and eighties, who will improvise on stage without a script.

My Country: a work in progress

In the days after the European Referendum in June 2016, the National Theatre began a national listening project. From Londonderry to Leicester and Merthyr Tydfil to Glasgow, the project has created a verbatim archive of conversations from across the UK. Rufus Norris will collaborate with Carol Ann Duffy as he directs a performance based on the first round of material.


The world premiere of Nina Raine’s new play, a co-production with Out of Joint, opening in April. Consent explores questions of law, justice and forgiveness. It’s directed by Roger Michell.

Barber Shop Chronicles

Inua Ellams’ new play has its world premiere at the National Theatre in June before moving to West Yorkshire Playhouse in July. Barber Shop Chronicles unfolds in a succession of barber shops across Africa and the UK. Directed by Bijan Sheibani, it’s a co-production with Fuel and West Yorkshire Playhouse.


Another world premiere in the Dorfman Theatre in July. Rufus Norris will direct Lucy Kirkwood’s new play about families and particle physics, with a cast that includes Olivia Colman. Mosquitoes is presented by special arrangement with Manhattan Theatre Club.

UK tours, West End and international

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time enters its fifth year in London, continuing its run at the Gielgud Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue. Joseph Ayre leads the West End cast as Christopher Boone, with tickets currently on sale until 22 April 2017. A North American tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time began at Rochester’s Auditorium Theater in September 2016, and will go on to play more than 30 cities, including Washington DC, Chicago and Los Angeles.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time begins a second major tour of the UK and Ireland at The Lowry in Salford in January 2017, continuing its journey to Aylesbury, Edinburgh, Leeds, Canterbury, Bath, Southampton, Nottingham, Belfast, Dublin, Cardiff, Sheffield, Oxford, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Bristol, Plymouth, Birmingham, Southend, Llandudno, Liverpool, Bradford, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Norwich and finishing in Milton Keynes on 16 September 2017.

Sally Cookson’s adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece Jane Eyre, a co-production between the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic, begins a tour of the UK at the Lowry in Salford on 8 April, continuing to Sheffield, Aylesbury, Plymouth, Southampton, Edinburgh, York, Woking, Glasgow, Canterbury, Cardiff, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Brighton, Leeds, Aberdeen, Birmingham and finishing at the Theatre Royal in Bath on 30 September 2017.

The National Theatre’s acclaimed production of War Horse based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel, and directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris begins its second major tour of the UK on 15 September 2017 at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, where it will run until 14 October 2017. It continues to Bristol, Liverpool, Oxford, Brighton, Bradford, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Salford, Milton Keynes and Plymouth. Further dates and venues will be announced.

National Theatre Live

The following four productions will be broadcast by NT Live this year and in 2017:

15 December sees NT Live broadcast the acclaimed No Man’s Land live from the stage of the Wyndham’s Theatre, with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in Harold Pinter’s classic play, produced by Playful Productions.

On 2 February 2017 Lucian Msamati takes on the role of Salieri in Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, featuring live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia, broadcast direct from the NT.

Josie Rourke directs Gemma Arterton as Joan of Arc in Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan, broadcast live from the Donmar Warehouse on 16 February 2017.

Ruth Wilson plays the titular role in a new version of Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, directed by Ivo van Hove, broadcast live from the NT on 9 March 2017.

NT Live will also broadcast Twelfth NightSalomé and Angels in America. Dates to follow.

Other news

The National Theatre’s Learning Programme goes from strength to strength in 2017, and one year on from the launch of On Demand in Schools, 2,200 schools are now signed up to the free service, with two-thirds of schools located outside of London and the South East. Schools can now watch recordings of six National Theatre productions in their classroom: Frankenstein, Hamlet, Othello, She Stoops to Conquer, The Comedy of Errors and the NT’s first title aimed at primary schools, Treasure Island.

From February 2017, the NT will stage two contemporary re-tellings of Shakespeare for younger audiences. Romeo and Juliet, in a version by Ben Power for primary school audiences aged 8 – 11 years, is a remount of the successful 2013 production, directed by Bijan Sheibani, and accompanied by a creative learning programme. Macbeth will be adapted and directed by Justin Audibert for secondary school audiences aged 13 – 16 years. Both productions will tour to state schools across London and play in the Dorfman. Cast includes Tripti Tripuraneni, Nana Amoo-Gottfried, Jay Saighal, Madeleine Appiah, Ronak Pattani, Kayla Meikle and Ashley Gurlach.

Romeo and Juliet will also play at Stratford Circus as part of the London Borough of Newham’s Every Child a Theatregoer programme. Macbeth will tour to schools in Thurrock as part of the Royal Opera House’s Thurrock Trailblazers scheme. The productions are expected to be seen by over 12,000 young people across the tour. Booking for schools is now open via the website. Schools touring is supported by The Ingram Trust, Archie Sherman Charitable Trust, Behrens Foundation, The Ernest Cook Trust, Jill and David Leuw.

270 schools and youth theatre companies across the country have signed up in 2017 for Connections, the NT’s long standing youth theatre initiative. Each company will produce one of 10 newly commissioned plays and take their production to one of 28 major producing theatres partnering with the NT. The plays are FOMO by Suhayla El-Bushra, Extremism by Anders Lustgarten, Musical Differences by Robin French, Status Update by Tim Etchells, The School Film by Patrick Marber, The Monstrum by Kellie Smith, The Snow Dragons by Lizzie Nunnery, Three by Harriet Braun, #YOLO by Matthew Bulgo, Zero For The Young Dudes! by Alistair McDowall.

Finally, The National Theatre’s New Work Department has announced Anupama Chandrasekar as Writer in Residence, succeeding Suhayla El-Bushra. Anupama took up the position in September 2016 and is the NT’s first international writer in residence, she joins the organisation from Chennai, India.



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