News: The National Theatre announces 2021-22 programming and launches National Theatre Together

The National Theatre announces new programming and launches a major new campaign for its future, National Theatre Together

The National Theatre has announced its programming until the start of next year with productions on all three South Bank stages as well as three major UK tours, two productions on Broadway, a return to cinemas, and a new feature film to be broadcast on television this autumn. In the week the theatre reopened for audiences again, six new productions were announced, and five productions halted by the pandemic were confirmed to return to the South Bank.  

It has also announced the public launch of National Theatre Together, a new campaign with people at its heart, highlighting the importance of creativity and collaboration with theatre-makers and communities, for young people and audiences. The campaign cements the NT’s commitment to the people of this country and will raise vital funds for the theatre’s ambitious recovery post-pandemic. 

Olivier theatre

Ian Rickson (Translations) directs Kae Tempest’s powerful new version of Philoctetes, the Greek legend by Sophocles and with an all-female cast including Lesley Sharp as Philoctetes. Previously announced for June 2020, Paradise is now confirmed to open in August 2021 in the Olivier.
On a desolate island lives Philoctetes: once a wartime hero, now a wounded outcast. 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.

The cast includes Claire-Louise Cordwell, Amie Francis, Sutara Gayle, Anastasia Hille, Jennifer Joseph, Sarah Lam, Penny Layden, Kayla Meikle, ESKA, Gloria Obianyo and Naomi Wirthner.

Set and costume design by Rae Smith, lighting design by Mark Henderson, compositions by Stephen Warbeck, movement by Coral Messam, sound design by Christopher Shutt, and fight direction by Terry King.

Paradise will be in the Olivier from 4th August to 11th September 2021.

The Normal Heart

In the Olivier in September 2021 is Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, in a co-production with Fictionhouse. Directed by Dominic Cooke, Kramer’s largely autobiographical play about the AIDS crisis in 1980 New York has not been performed professionally in London since its European premiere in 1986. Ben Daniels will perform the role of Ned Weeks, the co-founder of an AIDS advocacy group fighting to change the world around him, with Robert
Bowman, Liz Carr, Daniel Krikler, Daniel Monks, Elander Moore, Luke Norris, Henry Nott, Freddie Stabb and Danny Lee Wynter joining the company.

Set design by Vicki Mortimer, costume design by Lisa Duncan, lighting design by Paule Constable, sound design by Carolyn Downing and fight direction by Bret Yount.


In the Olivier this December, NT Director Rufus Norris directs Hex, a new musical that takes us beyond the kiss that woke the Sleeping Beauty.
Based on the 17th century folk-tale, Hex is written by Tanya Ronder (Dara, Table) and composed by Jim Fortune (Pericles, Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear – The Musical!) with lyrics by Rufus Norris, in a darkly thrilling new version told from the Fairy’s perspective as she tries everything in her power to make it all good, with disastrous consequences.

Hex also reunites director Rufus Norris with set and costume designer Katrina Lindsay (Small Island, London Road) following their 2002 critically acclaimed version of Sleeping Beauty, from which Hex is adapted.

Orchestrations by Simon Hale, music supervision by Marc Tritschler, music direction by Tarek Merchant, lighting design by Paul Anderson, choreography by Jade Hackett with consultant choreography by Bill Deamer and sound design by Simon Baker.

The Father and the Assassin

Opening in the Olivier theatre in early 2022, is a new play by Anupama Chandrasekhar, The Father and the Assassin.

The play tells the story of how Nathuram Godse, sometimes called India’s first terrorist, was radicalised through the fight for Indian independence from being a devout follower of Gandhi to becoming his eventual assassin in 1948. By telling a fictional, imagined version of Godse’s life growing up throughout India’s tumultuous journey towards independence, Anupama Chandrasekhar looks at Indian history though a fresh and contemporary lens, a nation torn between the opposing forces of non-violent protest and violent uprising against colonial oppression, which comes to a fateful end in the encounter between Gandhi and his assassin. Cast to be announced.

Directed by Indhu Rubasingham, Artistic Director of the Kiln Theatre. Anupama was the Writer in Residence at the National Theatre throughout 2016 and the play was commissioned by the National Theatre’s New Work Department.

Dorfman theatre
Rockets and Blue Lights

On the set of a new film about Victorian artist JMW Turner, young actress Lou is haunted by an unresolved history. Meanwhile, in 1840 Londoners Lucy and Thomas try to come to terms with the meaning of freedom. Moving between London past and present the production is a powerfully personal voyage through time. Directed by Miranda Cromwell, and first staged at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester before being cancelled due to Covid-19, this astonishing and fiercely political new play by Winsome Pinnock was named winner of the 2018 Alfred Fagon Award.

The cast are Anthony Aje, Paul Bradley, Karl Collins, Kiza Deen, Rochelle Rose, Matthew Seadon-Young, Kudzai Sitima, Cathy Tyson, Everal A Walsh and Luke Wilson.

Set and costume design by Laura Hopkins, lighting design by Jessica Hung Han Yun, composition and music direction by Femi Temowo, sound design by Elena Peña, movement direction by Annie-Lunnette Deakin-Foster, fight direction by Yarit Dor and staff director Mumba Dodwell.

Rockets and Blue Lights will be in the Dorfman theatre from 25th August to 9th October 2021.

Trouble in Mind

Nancy Medina, recipient of the NT’s Peter Hall Bursary, directs Alice Childress’ ground-breaking play Trouble in Mind in the Dorfman in December 2021.
Brown vs the Board of Education has just shaken America to its core, the civil rights movement is on the horizon and ‘Chaos in Belleville’ has just started rehearsals on Broadway. Trouble in Mind follows the story of Willeta Mayer, an African American singer and actress searching to make her mark in history.

The play takes a satirical look at the white-dominated theatre scene of Broadway in the 1950s as the acting company are forced to face the prejudice of the times, on stage and off. Tanya Moodie leads the cast as Wiletta Mayer.

With set and costume design by Rajha Shakiry.

Childress was the first African-American woman to win an OBIE award for Trouble in Mind in 1956, the original off-Broadway production she directed at the Greenwich mews Theatre in 1955.

Our Generation

Alecky Blythe returns to the National Theatre, following the acclaimed verbatim musical London Road, with Our Generation, a new and extraordinary verbatim play which follows the lives of twelve young people from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales as they evolve from children to adults.
From interviews gathered over a five-year period, we experience the heartache, the humour and the growing pains of twelve remarkable teenagers, as they navigate their families, their friendships, an exams fiasco and a global pandemic.

Directed by Daniel Evans, Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre, in his National Theatre directorial debut, Our Generation will provide a unique insight into growing up in modern Britain, seen through the eyes of those who are experiencing it right now. Opening in the Dorfman in February 2021, Our Generation is a co-production with Chichester Festival Theatre and will play in the Minerva Theatre in Chichester from April 2021 as part of CFT’s 60th anniversary season.

Written by Alecky Blythe and directed by Daniel Evans, with set design by Vicki Mortimer, costume design by Kinnetia Isidore, video design by Akhila Krishnan, lighting design by Zoe Spurr, sound design by Paul Arditti, movement direction by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, music composition, production & direction by DJ Walde.

Lyttelton theatre
East Is East

In October the Lyttelton theatre will reopen to live performances for the first time since March 2020, with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre Production of East Is East, by Ayub Khan Din, directed by Iqbal Khan with design by Bretta Gerecke.

Set in 1970s Salford, East Is East follows the lives of the Khan children and their battle between the traditional values of their Pakistani father and their own desire to be citizens of modern Britain.

Since its premiere at The Rep in 1996, in a co-production with Tamasha and the Royal Court, East Is East has sold out three London runs, been adapted into a BAFTA Award-winning film and become a modern classic of comic-drama.

The production is performed at Birmingham Repertory Theatre in September before transferring to the National Theatre in October.


Manor is a timely new play by Moira Buffini (The Dig), with Nancy Carroll (The Crown), directed by Fiona Buffini (Dinner). Previously announced for April 2020, Manor will open in November 2021 in the Lyttelton theatre.

A violent storm sweeps the coast. Diana Stuckley and her daughter are struggling to keep the roof on their run-down manor house, when neighbours and strangers begin to appear on their doorstep, seeking shelter from the floods. One of these unexpected arrivals is Ted Farrier, the charismatic leader of a far-right organisation: he could be Diana’s saviour – or pull the fragile household to pieces. Stranded together, this explosive mix of people must survive the weather, and each other.

This darkly comic drama reunites the writer and director behind Dinner. The cast includes Nancy Carroll and Michele Austin.

Set and costume design by Lez Brotherston, lighting design by Jon Clark, composition and sound design by Jon Nicholls, video design by Nina Dunn, fight direction by Kate Waters.

Wuthering Heights

Emma Rice’s adaptation of Emily Brontë’s masterpiece Wuthering Heights, previously announced to open in the Lyttelton theatre in September 2020, will open in February 2022 following dates in Bristol and York.

A co-production with Wise Children, Bristol Old Vic and York Theatre Royal, the show will go on to tour the UK in spring 2022. Lucy McCormick is cast as Cathy, with further casting to be announced.

Set and costume design by Vicki Mortimer, lighting design by Jai Morjaria, compositions by Ian Ross, sound and video by Simon Baker, movement and choreography by Etta Murfitt.

The Corn is Green

Emlyn Williams’ semi-autobiographical drama The Corn is Green gets its first London revival for 35 years with director Dominic Cooke’s new, large-scale production that will bring the story to a new generation.

In the Lyttelton theatre from April 2022, Nicola Walker, alongside Iwan Davies, leads the company as Miss Moffat a headstrong English teacher working in an impoverished mining village in late 19th-century Wales. The cast also includes Adam Baker, Gareth David-Lloyd, Megan Grech, Jonathan Hawkins, Steffan Rizzi, Rebecca Todd and Rufus Wright.

Set and costume design by ULTZ, lighting design by Charles Balfour, music arrangements and direction by Will Stuart, sound design by Christopher Shutt and choreography by Bill Deamer.

Digital Media
Death of England: Face to Face

Following on from their acclaimed stage productions Death of England and Death of England: Delroy, Clint Dyer, Deputy Artistic Director of the National Theatre, and Roy Williams (Sucker Punch) have written a new feature film Death of England: Face to Face to be broadcast on Sky Arts this autumn. Also directed by Clint Dyer, Death of England: Face to Face will be filmed in the Lyttelton theatre this June, following on from the success of the NT’s first original film Romeo & Juliet, directed by Simon Godwin and broadcast on Sky and PBS in April.

In this new film, Michael and Delroy, the two characters of the one-man shows Death of England and Death of England: Delroy respectively, come face to face following the birth of Delroy’s child and Michael’s niece.

The cast includes Neil Maskell (Peaky Blinders, Small Axe) as Michael, Giles Terera (Hamilton, Flack) as Delroy, Phil Daniels (I Hate Suzie, Adult Material) as Michael’s father Alan, Amy Newton as Carly and Maggie Saunders as Maggie.
Death of England: Face to Face is presented by Sky Arts and No Guarantees, and produced by the National Theatre, in association with Sabel Productions and Cuba Pictures. Death of England opened in the Dorfman in January 2020, with Rafe Spall as Michael, and Death of England: Delroy opened in the Olivier in October 2020, with Michael Balogun as Delroy.

National Theatre at Home

On the National Theatre’s streaming platform, National Theatre at Home, two new titles are launching today: the Bridge Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Old Vic and Headlong’s All My Sons.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream was captured live at the Bridge Theatre in 2019. Shakespeare’s most famous romantic comedy sees Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones), Oliver Chris (One Man, Two Guvnors), David Moorst (NT Live: Allelujah!) and Hammed Animashaun (Barber Shop Chronicles) lead the cast as Titania, Oberon, Puck and Bottom. This production re-unites the team responsible for the 2018 smash hit Julius Caesar including Tony and Olivier award-winning director Nicholas Hytner (The History Boys, One Man, Two Guvnors).

Also added to the platform today is The Old Vic and Headlong’s production of All My Sons, Arthur Miller’s blistering drama. Captured live at The Old Vic in 2019, Jeremy Herrin directs Academy Award-winner Sally Field and Bill Pullman as Joe and Kate Keller. The cast also includes Jenna Coleman (The Serpent) and Colin Morgan (The Fall).

It is also announced today that Consent will now be available with audio-description.

National Theatre Live

Follies returns to cinemas for the first time since its original National Theatre Live broadcast to cinemas in 2017. After sold-out runs in the Olivier in 2017 and 2019 and winning Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival, it will now be playing in cinemas around the world from this September. Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical is directed by Dominic Cooke (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and features a cast of 40 and an orchestra of 21.
Sky Arts is the UK sponsor for National Theatre Live (

Touring and transfers
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The internationally acclaimed production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time embarks on a third UK and Ireland tour in November 2021. Previously scheduled to tour in 2020, the Olivier and Tony Award®-winning production will now open at London’s Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre on 20 November for a seven week run. Celebrating ten years since the play first premiered at the National Theatre, in 2022 Curious Incident will visit Cardiff New Theatre, Belfast Grand Opera House, Southampton Mayflower, Nottingham Theatre Royal, Sheffield Lyceum, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Newcastle Theatre Royal, Manchester Opera House, Liverpool Empire, Birmingham Hippodrome, King’s Theatre Glasgow, Leeds Grand Theatre, the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin, and Norwich Theatre Royal with further venues to be announced. For further information and to book tickets visit

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

A UK and Ireland tour of The Ocean at the End of the Lane based on the best-selling novel by Neil Gaiman (Stardust, American Gods, Good Omens, Coraline), adapted by Joel Horwood and directed by Katy Rudd is currently being planned for 2023, with further details to be announced. The production, which received its sold-out world premiere in the Dorfman Theatre in 2019, transfers to the Duke of York’s Theatre for a limited run from 23 October 2021.

Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel is brought to life in this modern myth, where the power of imagination and storytelling transports audiences on a spellbinding and spectacular adventure. For further updates and information, visit


Beginning, presented by Lee Dean & Theatre Royal Bath Productions in association with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, by David Eldridge and directed by Polly Findlay and Joe Lichenstein, will be revived at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch in September followed by a UK tour. Casting and further tour dates to be announced.


The Lehman Trilogy, produced by the National Theatre with Neal Street Productions, will return to Broadway in the autumn. Sam Mendes’ production by Stefano Massini, adapted by Ben Power, had played four previews at the Nederlander Theatre in March 2020 before Broadway was forced to shut down due to the pandemic. The Lehman Trilogy will return to the Nederlander Theatre – where the set has remained in situ for the past fifteen months –for 99 performances only from 25 September 2021, with an opening night scheduled for 14 October.

Adrian Lester joins Simon Russell Beale and Adam Godley as the Lehman brothers. Following a 14 week run on Broadway, The Lehman Trilogy will visit Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles (3 March – 10 April 2022) and American Conservatory Theater’s Geary Theater, San Francisco (20 April – 22 May 2022), with cast to be announced.

Hadestown, with music, book and lyrics by Anaïs Mitchell, developed with and directed by Rachel Chavkin, returns to the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway from 2 September, with casting to be announced. A 30 date North American tour will follow the reopening, beginning at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington DC on 15 October. Hadestown will open in Seoul, Korea in August. For more information visit

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