Grey brutalist theatre building in London. National Theatre.
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The National Theatre is Coming to Your Living Room For Free: Here’s What to Expect

Billie Manning

Now this is big news! The National Theatre is opening up its NT Live archive. Cue screaming from theatre fans all over the UK. Lots of screaming. 

That's right: every Thursday from 2 April at 7pm the National will be streaming a show from the NT Live archives on their YouTube channel under the name of National Theatre At Home. How will this all work? Easy as pie: just click through to their YouTube on the allotted time and date and away you go. Don't worry if you have some other pressing engagement (staring into the abyss, dinner with yourself, etc.) at precisely that time either, because the plays will remain available for streaming on their YT channel for a week. There will also be bonus content for the nerdiest amongst us to feast our eyes on, including cast and creative Q&As and post-stream talks.

So which shows are we going to be able to watch? So far, the National Theatre has released details of its first month of streamings, but there will be many more to come (as the National will not reopen until July) so keep checking back here for the latest updates.

Tamsin Greig and Phoebe Fox in Twelfth Night © Marc Brenner
Tamsin Greig and Phoebe Fox in Twelfth Night © Marc Brenner

April 2: One Man, Two Guvnors by Richard Bean
This production from 2011 stars a James Corden naïve to the whims and ways of the LA world he would soon join, and on top form with a brilliantly physical slapstick performance as the main character in this popular panto-esque farce. The gags come thick and fast and the style is a wonderful pastiche of British styles from panto to the Carry On films - we're not surprised this was first pick to cheer up the nation.

April 9: Jane Eyre adapted by Sally Cookson 
The most remarkable feat of this production is simply fitting Jane Eyre into a play that isn't long enough to last until we're all out of quarantine, but outside of that it's also a deeply interesting show, a lo-fi, feminist take on the novel with a lot of unexpected creative twists. The title role goes to the fantastic Nadia Clifford, who injects the production with a huge amount of soul as Jane. 

April 16: Treasure Island adapted by Bryony Lavery
Another family-friendly pick, this was originally a Christmastime show bak in 2014. And will Doctor Who's Arthur Darvill in the driving seat as Long John Silver, it'll warm your heart like a good bit of gingerbread. Most compelling in this production, however, is the incredible set design by Lizzie Clanchan - from the canopy of artificial stars to the actually moving ship, you certainly won't be bored.

April 23: Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
We've gotta have some Shakespeare, right? The NT continues to keep the tone light by picking Twelfth Night (let's be real, I'm not sure any of us could cope with Macbeth right now) - and one that stars Tamsin Grieg, at that! There are sumptuous set pieces, elaborate costumes, a whole bunch of cracking actors and a lotta lotta laughs. Enjoy!

Discover more and keep up to date on their latest screenings here

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