National Theatre celebrates 60 years with free tickets for 16 – 25 year olds

National Theatre celebrates 60 years with 3600 free tickets for 16 – 25-year-olds available across 60 performances on the South Bank and in the West End during October.

National Theatre London2020

As the National Theatre prepares to mark 60 years of entertaining and inspiring audiences around the world on 22 October, a birthday present of 3,600 free tickets, 60 tickets for 60 performances in October, will be available for 16–25-year-olds to book for productions on the South Bank and in the West End. Productions include The Father and the Assassin, Death of England: Closing Time, The Effect, The Confessions, The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Dear England.

Tickets for the productions on all three stages of the National Theatre and at the Noël Coward and Prince Edward theatres in the West End will be made available to book for free via the National Theatre website on Monday 2 October from 12 – 6pm or whilst tickets last.

From the powerful exploration of oppression and extremism in Anupama Chandrasekhar’s The Father and the Assassin, to James Graham’s smash-hit new play Dear England, which tells the story of the England men’s football team under Gareth Southgate, there is a wealth of theatrical experience on offer for thousands of young people to experience for free.

On Thursday 19 October audiences across the UK and around the globe are invited to join the anniversary celebrations with a special free worldwide stream of Othello, directed by the National Theatre’s Deputy Artistic Director, Clint Dyer. The initiative, called Take Your Seats, will allow anyone, anywhere in the world, to enjoy this ground-breaking National Theatre production for free.

Olivier Award winner Giles Terera plays Othello and Rosy McEwen Desdemona in this critically acclaimed production of Othello. Filmed live on the Lyttelton stage, Othello will premiere on YouTube on Thursday 19 October at 7pm BST. The stream will be free to watch on YouTube until 22 October, after which it will be available for free on the National Theatre’s flagship streaming platform, National Theatre at Home, until 26 October. Othello will then join the catalogue of over 70 plays on the platform available to rent or watch via subscription. Audiences will also be able to watch the production with audio description and British Sign Language.

Dear England
Joseph Fiennes (Gareth Southgate) and Dear England cast. Photo” Marc Brenner

Created especially as a gift for audiences to celebrate the theatre’s 60th birthday, Take Your Seats brings audiences around the world together to enjoy the National Theatre for a one-night special watch-a-long in the comfort of their own homes. This release has been made possible by National Theatre at Home’s partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, supporting the National Theatre’s mission of entertaining and inspiring global audiences with world class theatre.

Rufus Norris, Director, National Theatre, said ‘I’m thrilled to be celebrating 60 years of this extraordinary creative institution by giving audiences the chance to see our productions for free. Audiences are at the heart of everything we do and throwing open our physical doors to young people and our virtual doors to everyone, wherever they may be in the world with Take Your Seats, is the perfect way to celebrate. Clint Dyer’s Othello is an astonishing interpretation of a play that has seen five different productions throughout our history and encapsulates the progression of the National Theatre over the past six decades. With the generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, we continue to break down barriers to accessing theatre through our flagship National Theatre at Home platform reaching over 170 countries around the world. I hope you will join me in marking this historic moment in our history. Here’s to the next 60 years!

Alongside the digital innovation that has defined recent years in the National Theatre’s history, this autumn sees a wealth of activity encapsulating the range of work for which the National Theatre has come to be known over the past 60 years. Harriet Walter returns to the National Theatre for the first time in more than a decade in Alice Birch’s new adaptation of Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba, directed by Rebecca Frecknall and co-produced with Playful Productions. And the iconic building on the South Bank, which the National Theatre has called home since 1976, prepares to be filled with magic as Lucy Kirkwood and Dave Malloy’s rip-roaring fresh adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, a co-production with Roald Dahl Story Company, directed by Lyndsey Turner, comes to life on the Olivier stage. Out nationwide tour of The Ocean at the End of the Lane which has taken in 29 venues across the UK and Ireland returns to the West End alongside James Graham’s Dear England and Jack Thorne’s The Motive and the Cue, a co-production with Neal Street Productions.

The National Theatre Collection, which is free for state schools to stream productions in the classroom, launches ten new titles on the platform, including The Crucible, Othello and Kiln’s production of The Wife of Willesden, Zadie Smith’s adaptation of Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath.  In November, rehearsals begin for Evan Placey’s radical reimagining of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale Jekyll & Hyde which will tour directly to secondary schools across the country from January 2024. The tour will be seen by over 10,000 pupils in 12 Theatre Nation Partnership areas across England, including Doncaster, Leicester, North Devon, Outer East London and South Essex, Peterborough, Rochdale, Salford, Stoke, Sunderland, Wakefield, Wigan and Wolverhampton.

Kate Varah, Executive Director, National Theatre, said In its 60th year, the National Theatre has transferred a record number of shows to the West End, ensuring our work reaches even more audiences. The expansion and reach of the National Theatre around the UK since its foundation in 1963 has resulted in 85% of all secondary schools across the UK accessing the National Theatre Collection, the free streaming platform for schools. Last year over 42,000 children and young people participated in National Theatre Learning activity. The National Theatre at 60 is a thriving and vital part of our cultural life.

The National Theatre’s commitment to developing skills and inspiring a creative workforce for the future has seen more than 60 apprentices training and developing their craft at the National Theatre in departments as varied as carpentry and scenic art to IT. The National Theatre is part of a Government pilot scheme of ‘portable’ apprentices working flexibly across organisations in collaboration with ATG, White Light and the Royal Opera House. Our network of former apprentices continues to enrich the cultural sector beyond the National Theatre with many going on to work in roles across the industry including English National Opera and Netflix.

As the National Theatre enters its seventh decade, the necessity for creating a sustainable future for theatre is paramount. The National Theatre is spearheading a new large-scale sustainability initiative, in collaboration with theatres across the industry including the Young Vic, Royal Court and Kiln. From 2024, it will bring together the theatres’ storage of costumes, props and recyclable scenery under one roof at a new site in central London to encourage reuse and reduce carbon impacts. With plans of this scale, the National Theatre looks to a future of exceptional sustainable creativity for the whole sector.

For 60 years the National Theatre has been entertaining and inspiring audiences around the world. Audiences are invited to consider making a donation to support the National Theatre to help keep theatre accessible to all, on stage and on screen for the next 60 years and beyond.

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