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National Theatre at Home: Les Blancs

by Lorraine Hansberry
Adapted by Robert Nemiroff
Restored text directed by Joi Gresham

From 2 to 9 July 2020
Running Time: 2 hours 30 mins with a short interval

National Theatre at Home: Les Blancs

An African country teeters on the edge of civil war. A society prepares to drive out its colonial present and claim an independent future. Tshembe, returned home from England for his father’s funeral, finds himself in the eye of the storm.

Yaël Farber (Mies Julie, Nirbhaya) directs the final play by Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun): a brave, illuminating and powerful work that confronts the hope and tragedy of revolution.

This play is about imperialism, racism, and colonialism and contains some scenes of racially motivated violence, that some people may find distressing.

This archive recording was captured by the National Theatre in 2016.

We’re all about experiencing theatre together.

At a time when you aren’t able to visit National Theatre Live venues or local theatres, we’re excited to bring you National Theatre at Home.

Les Blancs streamed as part of National Theatre at Home from 7pm on Thursday 2 July, until 7pm on Thursday 9 July.

Some of the best British theatre was free to watch from the comfort of your living room, via YouTube, with each title available for one week.

Thank you to all the amazing artists who have allowed us to share Les Blancs in this way, during a time when many theatre fans aren’t able to visit their local theatre. 

In memory of Nofenishala Mvotyo, who played friction drum (masengwana) in this production, and was a preserver of the Xhosa culture as well as an ambassador of the split-toned, throat deep sounds that normally echo in the mountains of Ngqoko.

Show your support: donate to the National Theatre

Visit our National Theatre at Home page for donation options and to see the full programme of streaming shows

5 star rating

Humane and disturbingly beautiful. An exquisite production.

Daily Telegraph
4 star rating

A searing portrait of the revolutionary spirit.

Evening Standard
4 star rating

Powerful. Jaw-dropping.

Time Out
4 star rating

Epic. A near-perfect production.

Guardian
4 star rating

Extraordinary. Compelling. Revolution so real you can smell it.

Observer
4 star rating

Heart-rending. A blistering triumph.

Radio Times

Les Blancs: The African, European and American Narrative and the Role of Trauma | National Theatre

A panel discussion on Les Blancs, in the context of the African, European and American narrative, and the role of trauma in the play, lead by Ola Animashawun, from the National Theatre's New Work and Learning departments.

More info

Cast

The Woman
Sheila Atim
Abioseh Matoseh
Gary Beadle
Peter
Sidney Cole
Charlie Morris
Elliot Cowan
Dr Willy Dekoven
James Fleet
Major George Rice
Clive Francis
Cast avatar
Matriarch & Singer
Mpahleni (Madosini) Latozi
Understudy Willy Dekoven / Major Rice
Paul Lavers
Understudy Marta Gotterling
Katie Lightfoot
Dr Marta Gotterling
Anna Madeley
Cast avatar
Matriarch & Singer / Music Director
Joyce Moholoagae
Cast avatar
Matriarch & Singer
Nofenishala Mvotyo
Cast avatar
Matriarch & Singer
Nogcinile Yekani Nomaqobiso
Madame Neilsen
Siân Phillips
Understudy Charlie Morris
Cameron Robertson
Tshembe Matoseh
Danny Sapani
Ensemble
Mark Theodore
Understudy Peter
Trevor A Toussaint
Understudy Madame Neilsen
Karren Winchester

Production team