TV stars help boost return of National Theatre

·2-min read
 (Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd)
(Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd)

The National Theatre’s director has hailed its “crucial role supporting the nation’s creativity” as he unveiled a star-studded programme on Friday.

Highlights include Hex, a new musical take on Sleeping Beauty directed by Rufus Norris, and Alice Childress’s play Trouble in Mind, starring Tanya Moodie from hit BBC sitcom Motherland.

Nicola Walker, who stars in ITV drama Unforgotten, will appear in the first revival in 35 years of Emlyn Williams’s semi-autobiographical drama The Corn is Green.

It will see all three South Bank theatres open for the first time since March last year and includes the launch of a new campaign, National Theatre Together, which will seek to raise funds to aid its post-pandemic recovery. Announcing the programme on Friday, National Theatre director Norris said the institution’s full return marked a comeback for the UK creative arts industry.

Norris added: “Theatre is a world-class UK industry, and brings with it a bucket-load of economic and social benefits. The National Theatre has a crucial role to play in supporting the nation’s creativity; it’s an incredible place full of amazing people and elicits enormous affection, pride and passion in audiences around the world.”

Following on from Under Milk Wood, which begins previews on June 16, and Kae Tempest’s Paradise, a new version of Philoctetes by Sophocles, Norris will direct Hex in the Olivier Theatre this December. Playwright Tanya Ronder, an Olivier-nominated musician and writer, and Norris’s wife, will join the creative team. The Dorfman theatre, which reopened this week with previews of After Life, will see a production of Trouble in Mind. Opening at the end of the year, it takes a satirical look at the white-dominated theatre scene of Broadway in the Fifties, with Moodie playing lead character Wiletta Mayer.

Next February, Alecky Blythe will return with a new verbatim play, Our Generation, which follows the lives of 12 young people from across the UK. Meanwhile at the Lyttelton, The Corn is Green will see Walker play Miss Moffat with Iwan Davies as Morgan Evans.

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