Childlike in his innocence but grotesque in form, Frankenstein’s bewildered creature is cast out into a hostile universe by his horror-struck maker. Meeting with cruelty wherever he goes, the friendless Creature, increasingly desperate and vengeful, determines to track down his creator and strike a terrifying deal. Urgent concerns of scientific responsibility, parental neglect, cognitive development and the nature of good and evil are embedded within this thrilling and deeply disturbing classic gothic tale.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, finds out that his Uncle Claudius killed his father to obtain the throne, and plans his revenge.
The ruined aftermath of a bloody civil war. Ruthlessly fighting to survive, the Macbeths are propelled towards the crown by forces of elemental darkness. Shakespeare’s most intense and terrifying tragedy, directed by Rufus Norris (The Threepenny Opera, London Road), will see Rory Kinnear (Young Marx, Othello) and Anne-Marie Duff (Oil, Suffragette) return to the National Theatre to play Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
National Theatre Live will broadcast the Donmar Warehouse’s production of Coriolanus, Shakespeare’s searing tragedy of political manipulation and revenge, with Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers, War Horse (film), BBC's The Hollow Crown) in the title role and Mark Gatiss (Season's Greetings at the National Theatre, BBC's Sherlock) as Menenius, directed by the Donmar's Artistic Director Josie Rourke. When an old adversary threatens Rome, the city calls once more on her hero and defender: Coriolanus. But he has enemies at home too. Famine threatens the city, the citizens’ hunger swells to an appetite for change, and on returning from the field Coriolanus must confront the march of realpolitik and the voice of an angry people.
Considered by many to be the greatest tragedy ever written, King Lear sees two ageing fathers – one a King, one his courtier – reject the children who truly love them. Their blindness unleashes a tornado of pitiless ambition and treachery, as family and state are plunged into a violent power struggle with bitter ends.
A parallel world, 1860. Two teenagers thrown together by a tsunami. One wears next to nothing, the other a long white dress. Neither speaks the others language, but somehow they must learn to survive and forge a new nation.
For sixty years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace – a meeting like no other in British public life – it is private. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said. Not even to their spouses. The Audience breaks this contract of silence – and imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen. From Churchill to Cameron, each Prime Minister has used these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional – sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive.
Terrible things breed in broken hearts. Medea is a wife and a mother. For the sake of her husband, Jason, she’s left her home and borne two sons in exile. But when he abandons his family for a new life, Medea faces banishment and separation from her children. Cornered, she begs for one day’s grace. It’s time enough. She exacts an appalling revenge and destroys everything she holds dear.
Gino is a drifter, down-at-heel and magnetically handsome. At a road side restaurant he encounters husband and wife, Giuseppe and Giovanna. Irresistibly attracted to each other, Gino and Giovanna begin a fiery affair and plot to murder her husband. But, in this chilling tale of passion and destruction, the crime only serves to tear them apart.
It’s a summer’s morning in 1988 and Tory politician Robin Hesketh has returned home to the idyllic Cotswold house he shares with his wife of 30 years, Diana. But all is not as blissful as it seems. Diana has a stinking hangover, a fox is destroying the garden, and secrets are being dug up all over the place. As the day draws on, what starts as gentle ribbing and the familiar rhythms of marital scrapping quickly turns to blood-sport.
Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan feature in David Hare’s Skylight, directed by Stephen Daldry, broadcast live from London’s West End by National Theatre Live.
An aged king decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters, according to which of them is most eloquent in praising him. His favourite, Cordelia, says nothing. Simon Russell Beale, whose recent appearances at the National include Timon of Athens and Collaborators, takes the title role in Shakespeare’s tragedy.
Following a sell-out run at London’s Royal Court Theatre, Olivier and Academy Award® winner Martin McDonagh (The Pillowman, The Cripple of Inishmaan, In Bruges) returns to the West End with Matthew Dunster’s award-winning production of his deeply funny new play Hangmen, broadcast live to cinemas by National Theatre Live. In his small pub in the northern English town of Oldham, Harry (David Morrissey – The Walking Dead, State of Play) is something of a local celebrity. But what's the second-best hangman in England to do on the day they've abolished hanging? Amongst the cub reporters and pub regulars dying to hear Harry’s reaction to the news, his old assistant Syd (Andy Nyman – Peaky Blinders, Death at a Funeral) and the peculiar Mooney (Johnny Flynn – Clouds of Sils Maria) lurk with very different motives for their visit.
A ship is wrecked on the rocks. Viola is washed ashore but her twin brother Sebastian is lost. Determined to survive on her own, she steps out to explore a new land. So begins a whirlwind of mistaken identity and unrequited love. The nearby households of Olivia and Orsino are overrun with passion. Even Olivia's upright housekeeper Malvolia is swept up in the madness. Where music is the food of love, and nobody is quite what they seem, anything proves possible.
A new English adaptation of the classic French tragedy Phèdre by Jean Racine (1639-1699). It retells the ancient Greek tale of the wife of the Atenian King Theseus, who conceived a forbidden love for his son (by an earlier wife) Hyppolytus. All ends badly for all.
Grace has agreed to marry Sir Harcourt in return for his financial support of her family. At a house party in her father's place, Harcourt's son Charles also falls in love with Grace. When his father appears on the scene, he has to convince him that there is a case of mistaken identity and he is somebody else. Then Lady Gay Spanker, a married woman also visiting at the house, is persuaded by Charles to seduce his father and thus divert his attention from Grace. Much confusion and scheming ensues.
America, 1947. Despite hard choices and even harder knocks, Joe and Kate Keller are a success story. They have built a home, raised two sons and established a thriving business. But nothing lasts forever and their contented lives, already shadowed by the loss of their eldest boy to war, are about to shatter. With the return of a figure from the past, long buried truths are forced to the surface and the price of their American dream is laid bare.
Tennessee Williams’ twentieth century masterpiece Cat on a Hot Tin Roof played a strictly limited season in London’s West End in 2017. Following his smash hit production of A Streetcar Named Desire, Benedict Andrews’ ‘thrilling revival’ (New York Times) stars Sienna Miller alongside, Jack O’Connell and Colm Meaney. On a steamy night in Mississippi, a Southern family gather at their cotton plantation to celebrate Big Daddy’s birthday. The scorching heat is almost as oppressive as the lies they tell. Brick and Maggie dance round the secrets and sexual tensions that threaten to destroy their marriage. With the future of the family at stake, which version of the truth is real – and which will win out?
National Theatre Live will broadcast Manchester International Festival’s electrifying production of Macbeth, with Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn, Hamlet) in his first Shakespeare performance in over a decade as Macbeth, and Alex Kingston (Doctor Who, ER) as Lady Macbeth. Directed by Olivier and Tony Award-winner Rob Ashford (Anna Christie at the Donmar Warehouse, Thoroughly Modern Millie on Broadway) and BAFTA Award-winner Kenneth Branagh, this unique production of Shakespeare’s tragic tale of ambition and treachery unfolds within the walls of an intimate deconsecrated Manchester church.
“I’ve no talent for life.” Just married. Bored already. Hedda longs to be free... Hedda and Tesman have just returned from their honeymoon and the relationship is already in trouble. Trapped but determined, Hedda tries to control those around her, only to see her own world unravel. Tony Award-winning director Ivo van Hove (A View from the Bridge at the Young Vic Theatre) returns to National Theatre Live screens with a modern production of Ibsen’s masterpiece. Ruth Wilson (Luther, The Affair, Jane Eyre) plays the title role in a new version by Patrick Marber (Notes on a Scandal, Closer).