National Theatre key players tell their stories

The National Theatre opened its doors in 1963 at the Old Vic under Laurence Olivier. Eight hundred productions later, they are marking their half-century with a short season celebrating the remarkable people and plays that have made the NT one of the most cherished and creative of great British institutions: on screen, on stage and online.

In the Platform series ‘National Histories’, some of the leading artists who have been part of the company tell very personal stories about the National. Ten simple questions, 50 years’ worth of possible answers: we ask key National Theatre figures – actors, writers, directors – the who, what, when, where and why of their recollections of the National.

With the following artists, it’s sure to be a wonderful season of talks:

Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton
Fri 4 October, 6pm, The Shed
Jim Carter (Guys and Dolls, The Oresteia) and Imelda Staunton (Guys and Dolls, A Chorus of Disapproval).

Anna Carteret and Edward Petherbridge
Mon 7 October, 6pm, The Shed
Anna Carteret (Never So Good, The National Health) and Edward Petherbridge (The Rivals, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead).

Sara Kestelman and Adrian Lester
Tue 8 October, 6pm,The Shed
Sarah Kestelman (Hamlet, Copenhagen) Adrian Lester (Othello, Henry V).

Marianne Elliott and Clive Rowe
Fri 11 October, 6pm, The Shed
Marianne Elliott (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, War Horse) and Clive Rowe (The Light Princess, Fuente Ovejuna)

Patricia Hodge and Trevor Nunn
Mon 14 October, 6pm, Olivier
Patricia Hodge (His Dark Materials, A Little Night Music) Trevor Nunn (Director of the National Theatre 1997-2003,The Merchant of Venice, Oklahoma!).

David Hare and Penelope Wilton
Tue 15 October, 6pm, Olivier
David Hare (Plenty, Pravda) and Penelope Wilton (Betrayal, Man and Superman).

Gawn Grainger and Zoë Wanamaker
Wed 16 October, 6pm, Olivier
Gawn Grainger (A Woman Killed With Kindness, Saturday Sunday Monday) and Zoë Wanamaker (Much Ado About Nothing, His Girl Friday).

Nicholas Hytner, National Theatre (2012) Credit: Johan Persson

Nicholas Hytner and Rory Kinnear
Fri 18 October, 6pm, Olivier
Nicholas Hytner (Current Director of the National, Othello, Carousel) and Rory Kinnear (Hamlet, The Man of Mode).

Kenneth Cranham and Lesley Manville
Mon 21 October, 3pm, The Shed
Kenneth Cranham (The UN Inspector, An Inspector Calls) and Lesley Manville (Grief, His Dark Materials).

Charles Kay and Fiona Shaw
Mon 21 October, 6pm, Olivier
Charles Kay (The Madness of George III, As You Like It) and Fiona Shaw (Mother Courage, Machinal).

Joan Plowright
Tue 22 October, 6pm, Olivier
Joan Plowright (Three Sisters, Saint Joan) wife of the NT’s first Director Laurence Olivier and one of the National’s first ‘leading ladies’, talks to the current Director, Nicholas Hytner.

Alan Bennett and Frances de la Tour
Wed 23 October, 6pm, Olivier
Alan Bennett (The Habit of Art, The History Boys) and Frances de la Tour (People, Brighton Beach Memoirs).

Richard Eyre and Julie Walters
Thu 24 October, 6pm, Lyttelton
Richard Eyre (Amy’s View, Guys and Dolls) and Julie Walters (The Last of the Haussmans, Fool for Love).

Brenda Blethyn and Simon Russell Beale
Fri 25 October, 6pm, Lyttelton
Brenda Blethyn (Bedroom Farce, The Mysteries) and Simon Russell Beale (Humble Boy, Hamlet, Timon of Athens).


Tickets £4/£3 concessions 6pm (talks last around 45 mins).
Book tickets online at
Box Office: 020 7452 3000

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