26 March 2020 16:41
As numerous theatrical institutions have admirably opened up their archives in response to increasing lockdown restrictions, all eyes have remained on one organisation: the National Theatre, which has the greatest archive of cinema-quality recordings of stage plays of any theatre in the world, thanks to its formidable NT Live programme. It's designed to beam productions from the NT into cinemas across the country, but there are of course no cinemas in operation at present. So the NT is switching to its YouTube channel. From April 2, under the banner of National Theatre at Home, every Thursday (7pm) will see a new National Theatre play released – free to watch for one week – along with bonus content including cast and creative Q&As and post-stream talks. There's a definite emphasis on family-friendly good cheer for the line-up so far, which kicks off with a big hitter: Richard Bean's beloved farce 'One Man, Two Guvnors', starring a pre-chat-show-days James Corden.
Over the next few weeks you can expect a string of family-friendly titles, though naturally there will be those hoping for some of the real NT Live blockbusters, notably 'Hamlet' and 'Frankenstein' starring Benedict Cumberbatch and 'Coriolanus' starring Tom Hiddleston. The initial programme is: April 2 'One Man, Two Guvnors' by Richard Bean, starring James Corden. April 9 'Jane Eyre', adapted by Sally Cookson. April 16 'Treasure Island', adapted by Bryony Lavery. April 23 'Twelfth Night' by William Shakespeare, starring Tamsin Greig. Read our review. Additionally, the National Theatre will be rolling out National Theatre Collection study resources to pupils now learning at home. The NT has also confirmed that live performances won't restart until at least July. For more information on National Theatre at Home, click here. For other ways you can watch plays while London's in lockdown, click here.