The production will be performed in the round in the Olivier theatre, playing each night to an audience of no more than 500 guests – less than half the theatre’s full capacity. The largest of the National’s three auditoriums, the Olivier theatre has already been reconfigured to accommodate a socially distanced audience. It briefly reopened twice in late 2020, for ill-fated productions of Clint Dyer and Roy Williams’s Death of England: Delroy and Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd’s pantomime Dick Whittington respectively. But both were forced to close just nights after opening as a result of changing Covid-19 restrictions.
Set in the fictional Welsh fishing village of Llareggub, Under Milk Wood begins with an omniscient narrator revealing to the audience the dreams of its community, which include a retired sea captain yearning for his lost love, a landlady living in terror of her guests, a father who can no longer access his memories and a son in search of redemption. Once the village awakens, the narrative follows the newly familiar characters as they go about their daily lives, safeguarding their innermost thoughts as they interact with one another.
Michael Sheen is starring in Under Milk Wood
Ahead of the Olivier theatre reopening, the National’s Dorfman theatre is welcoming back audiences from Wednesday 2 June with a brand-new stage adaptation of Japanese writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s tender, philosophical 1998 movie After Life – a production being helmed by the crème de la crème of British theatre: writer Jack Thorne, director Jeremy Herrin and designer Bunny Christie.
Further programming, including run dates for a previously announced revival of Larry Kramer’s Aids drama The Normal Heart, and Dyer and Williams’s cut short production of Death of England: Delroy, will be announced at a later date.
Of the plans to reopen the National Theatre, artistic director Rufus Norris said: ‘It’s been an incredibly difficult year for theatre, but I’m delighted to be able to confirm our reopening plans… Sharing our work online and on television over the last year has enabled us to reach millions of people and continue to keep culture alive, but the magic of live theatre is what we can now begin to look towards: to creating work with our freelance artists and colleagues, to supporting young people’s creativity, and to bringing joy to audiences and communities through imaginative and inspiring live performance.’
|What||Under Milk Wood, National Theatre|
|Where||National Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
16 Jun 21 – 24 Jul 21, Performance times vary
|Price||£20 - £89|
|Website||Click here for more information|