From 19 to 22 April 2016, a series of events at the National Theatre will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and the long history of Shakespeare productions at the National.
The history of the creation of the NT is inextricably linked with William Shakespeare. Effingham Wilson’s proposal for a national theatre was partly inspired by the purchase of Shakespeare’s Birthplace for the nation in 1847. In his 1848 Proposition for a National Theatre he set out a claim that a theatre, ‘a house for Shakespeare’, would be an important complement to the preservation of Shakespeare’s home.
The inaugural production of the National Theatre Company at the Old Vic was Hamlet in 1963, directed by Laurence Olivier and featuring Peter O’Toole. When the NT moved to its new building on the South Bank in 1976, the first production was Hamlet directed by Peter Hall, with Albert Finney in the title role. This year, therefore, also marks the 40th anniversary of Shakespeare productions at the NT on the South Bank.
Including those staged at the Old Vic, there have been 66 productions of Shakespeare’s plays at the NT, the most recent being As You Like It directed by Polly Findlay. Twelfth Night, directed by Simon Godwin, will open in early 2017.
As part of the Shakespeare400 Partnership coordinated by King’s College London, the NT will celebrate Shakespeare’s legacy with a series of talks, an exhibition, and a special outdoor film screening.
More details: http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/whats-on/platforms
Flytower Film: Olivier’s Henry V
Fri 22 April, 8pm, Flytower, free
The National’s iconic Flytower becomes an outdoor cinema, showing the film that earned the NT’s first Director, Laurence Olivier, a special Academy Award for outstanding achievement as actor, producer and director.
Opens Monday 18 April, Lyttelton Lounge, free
A new exhibition from the NT Archive, featuring recordings, props, designs, costume and more from the NT’s five productions of Hamlet – which opened the NT in 1963, our South Bank building in 1976, and has been produced more than any other Shakespeare play.
The latest Lyttelton Lounge exhibition includes material from each of the five productions, which featured lead performances by Peter O’Toole, Albert Finney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Simon Russell Beale and most recently Rory Kinnear.