Award-winning British theatre productions will soon be available to watch online as part of a new initiative launched by the National Theatre.
The new National Theatre Collection will draw on 10 years of NT Live broadcasts as well as recordings never previously seen out of the National Theatre’s archives.
It will include shows such as Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, One Man, Two Guvnors with James Corden and Twelfth Night with Tamsin Greig.
But it will not just be National Theatre productions: the first 15 shows to be available will include Billie Piper in Lorca’s Yerma, adapted and directed by Simon Stone, that premiered at the Young Vic.
The first wave of videos will be available online from September in partnership with education technology specialist ProQuest and publisher Bloomsbury via its digital library, Drama Online. It will be available via a one-time payment for the full collection or an annual subscription.
It is aimed at providing a new resource for students, researchers and teachers around the world, including theatre-makers of the future.
In addition, a greater range of productions will be available through the National Theatre Schools Collection on Drama Online. Complementing the curriculum, they will be free for UK state-funded schools to access.
Drama Online is a fast-growing study resource that now features over 2,500 play texts, 330 scholarly books, 400 audio plays, 260 hours of video including theatre productions. It is available only to institutions such as libraries.
The collection will grow to 30 plays by March 2020, focusing on works regularly studied at secondary and higher education levels. Other shows from September will include Euripides’ Medea with Helen McCrory, Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer with Cush Jumbo, and Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs with Sheila Atim.
Lisa Burger, joint chief executive of the National Theatre, said: “This new service will provide a comprehensive insight into British theatre-making and aims to transform learning in schools, libraries and universities across the globe in today’s increasingly digital age.
“We believe that accessibility to theatre is of paramount importance and, by expanding our offer internationally, we are able to maintain our free streaming service to state schools across the UK, ensuring that drama remains an integral part of a broad education.”
Jenny Ridout, global head of academic publishing at Bloomsbury, added: “This new partnership will ensure that world-class theatre has a lasting impact, inspiring the theatre-makers and performers of the future.”