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by Kae Tempest
a new version of Philoctetes by Sophocles

4 August - 11 September 2021
Running Time: approx. 1 hour 50 minutes with no interval

5 star rating

Rich, powerful, thrillingly urgent drama. You need to see it. After you do, you won’t forget it.

The i
4 star rating

Lesley Sharp owns the stage in Kae Tempest’s electric Greek myth.

Evening Standard
4 star rating

Adventurous and astutely contemporary. Lesley Sharp is astounding.

The Times
4 star rating

Lesley Sharp gives a towering performance in Kae Tempest's stirring reimagining.

4 star rating

Terrific: a gritty, witty recycling of an ancient story.

Financial Times
4 star rating

Truly compelling. When Lesley Sharp’s ancient warrior speaks, you’re transfixed.

Sunday Times
4 star rating

A vibrant and engrossing spectacle. Rae Smith’s set design is stunning.

A Younger Theatre


A thrilling story of pride, glory and betrayal.

Kae Tempest, the astonishing writer, recording artist and performer, forges an epic new take on Greek legend.  

Philoctetes: once a celebrated wartime hero, now a wounded outcast on a desolate island.

When a young soldier appears, his hope of escape comes with suspicion. And as an old enemy also emerges, he is faced with an even greater temptation: revenge.

Director Ian Rickson returned to the National Theatre following his acclaimed, sold-out runs of Translations.

The all-female company, with Lesley Sharp as Philoctetes, performed amidst a dramatic wasteland designed by Rae Smith (War Horse, Barber Shop Chronicles).

Paradise is available to rent on NT at Home

NT at Home Subscribers can watch Paradise and a growing list of other productions: Browse NT at Home titles here

Kae Tempest (Brand New Ancients, Let Them Eat Chaos) is winner of the Ted Hughes Award, has been nominated for the Costa Book Award for Poetry, and twice-nominated for the Mercury Prize.

Our teams are working with incredible theatre-makers to achieve our commitment of reducing our carbon impact in this time of climate crisis. The Theatre Green Book is an initiative in collaboration with sustainability experts Buro Happold.

We can’t wait to welcome you for live performances

We're proud to be See It Safely approved by Official London Theatre, so you can feel confident and safe knowing that staff, artists and audiences are COVID-secure based on the latest government guidelines.

You can also rest assured that our theatres and public areas are well ventilated and undergo enhanced cleaning between every show.

Here are some helpful points to remember when booking tickets and planning your visit:

  • All performances of Paradise will be sold at full seating capacities.
  • You will be allocated one of five separate arrival groups, indicated when you select tickets.
  • In advance of your visit, you will receive an email with your specific arrival time.
  • Government expects and recommends that people should continue to wear face coverings in settings such as theatres, to protect themselves and others. If you are exempt, we would appreciate you advising front-of-house staff on arrival.


Learn more about the ways we are welcoming audiences back safely


Supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation through the Weston Culture Fund


Garfield Weston Foundation logo


The reopening of the Olivier theatre is generously supported by Areté Foundation / Betsy & Ed Cohen. 

Production supported by Cockayne – Grants for the Arts and The London Community Foundation. 

Trailer: Paradise by Kae Tempest with Lesley Sharp

More info

Making Theatre in the Climate Crisis | Designing Paradise and the Theatre Green Book

Take a look at how we're placing sustainability at the heart of theatre-making at the National Theatre.

More info

Adapting Greek Legend for the Modern Stage - Kae Tempest | Life in Stages

More info

Jack Absolute Flies Again talks

Join our talks programme for Richard Bean and Oliver Chris' new comedy, Jack Absolute Flies Again. 

Jack Absolute Flies Again

Ticket Prices

Monday - Thursday eves, all matinees
£86, £66, £56, £46, £36, £20
Friday & Saturday eves
£89, £69, £59, £49, £39, £20

Tickets for 16-25 year olds

Find out more

Young people taking part in a NT youth workshop


Eska Mtungwazi
Amie Francis
Amie Francis
Sutara Gayle
Sutara Gayle
Anastasia Hille
Anastasia Hille
Sarah Lam
Sarah Lam
Kayla Meikle
Kayla Meikle
Gloria Obianyo
Gloria Obianyo
Lesley Sharp
Lesley Sharp
Naomi Wirthner
Naomi Wirthner

Production team

Photography (Lesley Sharp) by Alex Telfer

Help Centre

For general ticket information

Browse the frequently asked questions for tickets

For general ticket information

Browse the frequently asked questions for tickets