The National Theatre announces reopening plans and a double bill
The National Theatre will reopen in June with Jack Thorne's adaptation of After Life and a Michael Sheen-led production of Under Milk Wood
A likely highlight of the 2021 stage, After Life is being resurrected by three of the industry’s brightest stars – writer Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, A Christmas Carol), director Jeremy Herrin (People, Places and Things) and designer Bunny Christie (The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-time, A Midsummer Night’s Dream). The production has been co-produced with award-winning theatre company Headlong, whose impactful productions (among them Junkyard and People, Places and Things) have seen Thorne, Herrin and Christie collaborate to critical acclaim in the past.
Meanwhile the celeb-led revival of Under Milk Wood will be performed in-the-round in the Olivier theatre, playing each night to an audience of no more than 500 lucky ticket holders – less than half the theatre’s full capacity.
Michael Sheen is starring in Under Milk Wood
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.
Of the reopening plans, the National Theatre's 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 and to be sharing the news of our first two productions that will reopen the National Theatre in June.
'In our transformed Olivier theatre, Lyndsey Turner will share her new staging of Dylan Thomas’s masterful Under Milk Wood with Michael Sheen joining the company. We’re also very excited to reopen the Dorfman theatre for the first time since February 2020 with Jack Thorne’s new adaptation of the film After Life, with concept by Bunny Christie, Jeremy Herrin and Jack Thorne. Both shows will play to socially-distanced audiences and we look forward with cautious optimism to welcoming back larger audiences across our theatres soon.'