When someone turns fifty, there is only one thing you can do, and that is have a big birthday bash. And Although the National Theatre is an institute rather than a person, fifty years of stage performances is still something worth celebrating. But one day is clearly not enough to pay proper tribute to a half century's entertainment, so from the 9th September until the 10th November, the National Theatre will be exploring its past, present, and future with talks, exhibitions, cinema, and a very special one night performance.
Scenes from National Life
From the 9th September at in the Lyttelton Exhibition Area the National Theatre will be documenting the working life of the company's first actors, such as Anthony Hopkins, Maggie Smith, and Laurence Olivier.
From the 19th September in the Olivier Exhibition Area you can follow the timeline of National Theatre through rarely seen cartoons, caricatures, and dairies.
The National Trail
Between the 1st October – 10th November, take part in a treasure hunt as you go on an interactive journey around the National Theatre. Solve clues to gain access to a secret vault of treasure.
The National Theatre will present live encore screenings of some of its most popular productions, including Hamlet on the 22nd October, Frankenstein on the 31st October, and The Habit of Art on the 7th November.
Fifty Years on Stage is a special event that you're going to have dig into your bank account to see. Tickets for the Special Preview Performance are £300 or £500. So what does this bank bust experience give you?
On the 2nd November, the BBC will be broadcasting a documentary and live performance by the National Theatre. It will tell the story of the National from Laurence Olivier's Old Vic company to the South Bank, as well as recent stage productions around the world. It includes archived footage, and a behind the scenes look at plays such as War Horse, Frankenstein, and Othello.
The National Theatre will be showing a preview on the 1st November, which is part of the rehearsal period. The cast includes Simon Russell Beale, Frances de la Tour, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi, Alex Jennings, Rory Kinnear, Adrian Lester, Anna Maxwell Martin, Andrew Scott, Maggie Smith, and Penelope Wilton.
There are three series of talks scheduled to take place. The first is called Scene Changes and looks at how the theatre industry has changed over the last fifty years. It will explore aspects such as architecture, sound, lighting, gender, and more.
National Histories tell personal stories from leading artists who have been part of the company. There will be ten interviews spread between 1st - 25th October.
Future Questions looks towards the future and contemplates the challenges the theatre will face in its next fifty years. Tickets to all the talk are £4 each.