Drama Online - National Theatre Collection for Schools

National Theatre Collection for Schools

The National Theatre’s mission is to make world class theatre that is entertaining, challenging and inspiring – and we make it for everyone. The National Theatre Collection is available to state-funded schools and FE colleges in the United Kingdom, free of charge, and for a fee to independent schools and HE institutions, bringing the very best of British theatre to teachers, students and learners worldwide. Here on Drama Online students can watch a range of extraordinary productions from Shakespeare and Greek tragedy to literary adaptations and classic comedies, all made by world-class theatre-makers. Students can also make use of the expanding bank of learning resources provided by the National Theatre, to help them dive deeper into the productions.

We hope the National Theatre Collection will be a valuable classroom resource. We also hope that it will encourage students and teachers to visit your local theatre, see National Theatre productions in cinemas via NT Live or on tour, and feel inspired to make your own theatre.

If you have any feedback or questions about the NT Collection, please reach out: ntcollection@nationaltheatre.org.uk

The collection features a broad range of productions which will support teaching and learning across the curriculum:

  • Students studying English can experience Shakespeare set texts including Macbeth, Othello, King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing, in vibrant modern stagings. They’ll also be able to see novels come alive on stage in exciting literary adaptations including Frankenstein, Small Island, Wuthering Heights, The Wife of Willesden, Trouble in Mind and Jane Eyre.
  • For those students studying drama and theatre studies, there are a range of theatrical styles and genres, from Greek tragedies such as Antigone and Medea to 20th century classics such as The Crucible, Yerma, The Cherry Orchard, A View from the Bridge and All My Sons and late 20th century works including Top Girls and Angels in America. They’ll be able to see and study the work of extraordinary contemporary practitioners and theatre-makers in some of the NT's more recent programming including Rockets and Blue Lights, Paradise and Phaedra.
  • Students on technical theatre and production arts courses can see and compare examples of extraordinary design and theatre craft in productions including She Stoops to Conquer, One Man, Two Guvnors, Hedda Gabler and Julie. Students can also find out about the unique way in which the Lyttelton Theatre became a film studio during the Coronavirus pandemic for a production of Romeo and Juliet.
  • Students who perhaps want to delve into some new writing, can explore productions such as Dixon and Daughters and Shut Up, I’m Dreaming.
  • Primary school teachers can introduce their pupils to Shakespeare, with vibrant adaptations of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and The Winter’s Tale, created especially for this age group, as well as other shows for younger audiences such as Peter Pan, Treasure Island and I Want My Hat Back and a selection of productions from The Unicorn Theatre such as Anansi the Spider Re-Spun, Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales and Greek Myths Unplugged.

For suggestions on age and subject suitability and how the productions can be used across the curriculum, please see individual show pages.

Primary Schools

We offer a tailored set of recordings and learning resources for UK state primary schools. You can find out more information here:

National Theatre Collection for Primary Schools

How to sign up

Registration is via the online form found here. Only one registration request per institution is required and should, if possible, be completed by the Head of Drama or Head of English.

Please note independent schools in the UK and worldwide can request a trial and subscribe to the National Theatre Collections through JCS Online Resources: info@jcsonlineresources.org

Learning resources

The National Theatre Collection includes an expanding bank of learning resources, which can be accessed here. These include:

  • Learning Guides for most productions: all the information you need to enable you to study the production and write about it in detail. These include plot synopses with timecodes, notes about the key elements from performance style to design, pointers for further research, and much more.
  • Rehearsal Insights: rehearsal room diaries and notes prepared by the Staff Director, where available. These introduce the process of creating, rehearsing and staging each play.
  • Key Stage 3 Packs: study guides for a select number of productions, tailored to teachers and students studying drama at Key Stage 3.
An actor in a white rabbit costume in Rufus Norris' production wonder.land

  • Lesson Plans: individual activities and learning tasks for some productions.
  • Short films and audio recordings including contextual information for the productions and interviews with actors and creatives, which can be found on individual production pages where available.
If you have any questions or feedback on our resources, please get in touch: ntcollection@nationaltheatre.org.uk

More Information

After Life

If you could spend eternity with just one precious memory, what would it be? Adapted from Hirokazu Kore-eda's award-winning film.

All My Sons

From the Old Vic, Jeremy Herrin directs Sally Field and Bill Pullman in Arthur Miller’s blistering drama.

Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches

In the midst of the AIDS crisis and a conservative Reagan administration, six New Yorkers with interconnected lives grapple with life and death, love and sex, heaven and hell.

Angels in America Part Two: Perestroika

Prior, Joe, Belize, Louis, Harper and Roy continue their journeys through love, loss and loneliness to overcome abandonment and ultimately discover forgiveness.


Polly Findlay’s electric 2012 production brings Sophocles’ tragedy into the modern world as a gripping political thriller. Adapted by Don Taylor with a cast including Jodie Whittaker and Christopher Eccleston.

Barber Shop Chronicles

Directed by Olivier award-winning director Bijan Sheibani. For generations, African men have gathered in barber shops to discuss the world. These are places where the banter can be barbed and the truth is always telling.

The Book of Dust

Eighteen years after his groundbreaking production of His Dark Materials, Nicholas Hytner returns to Pullman's parallel universe to direct a spellbinding adaptation by Bryony Lavery.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Sienna Miller stars alongside Jack O’Connell and Colm Meaney in Tennessee Williams’ searing, poetic story of a family’s fight for survival directed by Benedict Andrews.

The Cherry Orchard

Set at the very start of the twentieth century, Andrew Upton’s new version of Chekhov’s classic captures a poignant moment in Russia's history as the country rolls inexorably towards 1917.

Chewing Gum Dreams

Written and performed by Michaela Coel, this award-winning, one-woman play recalls the last days of innocence before adulthood.


Nina Raine’s powerful, painful, funny play which sifts the evidence from every side and puts justice herself in the dock.

The Crucible

Olivier Award-winner Lyndsey Turner directs this electrifying new production with designs by Es Devlin in a restaging of Arthur Miller's masterpiece.


Originally performed at the Ajoka Theatre in Pakistan, Shahid Nadeem’s epic tale of the dispute that shaped modern-day India and Pakistan is brought to life in Nadia Fall’s stunning production.

The Deep Blue Sea

Starring Helen McCrory and directed by Carrie Cracknell, Terence Rattigan’s devastating masterpiece contains one of the greatest female roles in contemporary drama.

Dixon and Daughters

Mary has just been released from prison. Over a tumultuous two days, her family is forced to confront not just their past but themselves in this powerful story of family and forgiveness.

Everyman: When Death comes calling, Everyman must abandon his hedonistic life and embark on a frantic search to find a friend that will speak in his defence. Chiwetel Ejiofor is Everyman, directed by Rufus Norris.

Frankenstein (2 films)

Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller each play Victor Frankenstein and his creation in these two performances of Danny Boyle's smash-hit production. Written by Mary Shelley and adapted by Nick Dear.

The Great Wave

On a Japanese beach, teenager Hanako is lost to the sea. Their mother, however, can’t shake the feeling her missing daughter is still alive, and soon family tragedy takes on a global political dimension.

Hedda Gabler

WhatsOnStage described this production, with Ruth Wilson in the title role, as ‘A Hedda unlike any I have ever seen. Devastating.’


Rufus Norris directs this vividly original musical retelling of the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ fairy tale with music by Jim Fortune, and choreography by Jade Hackett.


Nadia Fall’s vital verbatim play about people living on the margins of society features performances from Michaela Coel, Antonia Thomas and Kadiff Kirwan.

I Want My Hat Back

Based on Jon Klassen's children's picture book classic, this production will support courses in theatre for young audiences as well as musical theatre.

Jack Absolute Flies Again

Richard Bean and Oliver Chris's play is based on Sheridan's 1775 play The Rivals, and stars Caroline Quentin, Laurie Davidson, Natalie Simpson and Kelvin Fletcher.

Jane Eyre

First staged at the Bristol Old Vic and devised by the Company, Sally Cookson's adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's classic novel is a vivid and breathtaking spectacle.


Carrie Cracknell directs a cast including Vanessa Kirby and Eric Kofi Abrefa in this ‘superlative production’ (Time Out) set in contemporary London.

Les Blancs

Written 11 years after A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry’s final drama is an unknown masterpiece of the American stage. This theatrical search for the soul of post-colonial Africa features Danny Sapani as Tshembe.

London Assurance

Nicholas Hytner directs Simon Russell Beale and Fiona Shaw in this new version of Dion Boucicault’s classic comedy about life, love and mistaken identity in 19th Century London.


Helen McCrory takes the title role in Euripides’ powerful tragedy, in a new version by Ben Power, directed by Carrie Cracknell, with music written by Will Gregory and Alison Goldfrapp.

One Man, Two Guvnors

Tony Award-winning James Corden plays Francis Henshall in the hilarious West End and Broadway hit. Written by Richard Bean and directed by Nicholas Hytner, the play is an update of Goldoni’s classic farce A Servant of Two Masters.

Our Generation

Created from five years of interviews with 12 young people from across the UK, this captivating coming-of-age play is for anyone who is – or has ever been – a teenager.


Kae Tempest's epic new take on Greek legend is directed by Ian Rickson and performed by an all-female company including Lesley Sharp as Philoctetes

Peter Pan

A delight for children and adults alike, Sally Cookson directs this wondrously inventive devised production of JM Barrie’s classic. Originally staged at the Bristol Old Vic theatre.


Writer-Director Simon Stone reimagines Seneca's famous tragedy.

Rockets and Blue Lights

Directed by Miranda Cromwell, this fiercely political play by Winsome Pinnock won the 2018 Alfred Fagon Award.

Romeo and Julie

Romeo is a single dad hanging on tight. Julie is fighting to follow her dream of studying at Cambridge. Two Welsh teens raised a few streets apart – but from entirely different worlds – crash into first love and are knocked off their feet.

The Seagull

Chekhov’s masterly meditation on how the old take revenge on the young is both comic and tragic, and marks the birth of the modern stage. ‘Land-mark brilliant’, The Independent.

She Stoops to Conquer

One of the great, generous-hearted and ingenious comedies of the English language, Oliver Goldsmith's play offers a celebration of chaos, courtship and the dysfunctional family. Directed by Jamie Lloyd with a cast including Cush Jumbo and Katherine Kelly.

Shut Up, I'm Dreaming

The PappyShow's love letter to a new generation, directed by Kane Husbands and based on the views, ideas and experiences of teenagers.

Small Island

Andrea Levy’s Orange Prize-winning novel brought to life in an epic theatre adaptation which embarks on a journey from Jamaica to Britain, through the Second World War to 1948 – the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury.

A Streetcar Named Desire

An adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ timeless masterpiece directed by Benedict Andrews and starring Gillian Anderson, Ben Foster and Vanessa Kirby.

This House

A timely, moving and funny insight into the workings of British politics. It's 1974 and to a backdrop of infighting and backstabbing the political parties battle to change the future of the nation.

The Threepenny Opera

Rory Kinnear is Mack the Knife in a new version of this landmark twentieth-century musical from the Olivier stage of the National Theatre.

Three Sisters

Chekhov’s iconic characters are relocated to a 1960s Nigeria on the brink of the Biafran Civil War, in this bold adaptation by Inua Ellams. ‘Brimming with Life. Enlightening and heart-breaking’ Broadway World.

Top Girls

Lyndsey Turner directs Caryl Churchill’s wildly innovative play about a country divided by its own ambitions.


Brian Friel’s modern classic directed by Ian Rickson is a powerful account of nationhood, which sees the turbulent relationship between England and Ireland play out in one quiet community.

Treasure Island

Robert Louis Stevenson's classic adventure of mutiny, money and murder is brought to life on the Olivier stage in a thrilling new adaptation by Bryony Lavery.

Trouble in Mind

In 1950s America, protests for racial equality erupt in the face of voter suppression. On Broadway, Wiletta Mayer, a talented black actress, begins rehearsals for a new play about racism – written and directed by two white men.

Under Milk Wood

The retired sea captain yearning for his lost love. The landlady living in terror of her guests. A father who can no longer access his memories. Michael Sheen stars in Dylan Thomas’ poetic masterpiece.

The Wife of Willesden

Critically acclaimed, multi-award winning, best-selling author Zadie Smith‘s rambunctious play transports Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath to 21st Century Northwest London.

Wuthering Heights

Shot through with music and dance, Emma Rice transforms Emily Bronte's masterpiece into a passionate, powerful and uniquely theatrical experience.

A View from the Bridge

Ivo van Hove directs this stunning production which The Times called ‘One of the great theatrical productions of the decade.’


Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s tale of Alice, and supported by stunning sets, costumes, video projection, lighting, and a score by Blur’s Damon Albarn, this is a coming-of-age adventure for the online generation.


Billie Piper won an Olivier Best Actress award for her performance in Simon Stone’s radical production of Lorca’s achingly powerful masterpiece.

Antony and Cleopatra

Politics and passion are violently intertwined in Shakespeare's gripping tale of power. Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo star in the title roles.<

As You Like It

Disguising herself as a boy, Rosalind embraces a different way of living and falls spectacularly in love with Orlando in Shakespeare’s glorious comedy of love and change.


Shakespeare’s searing tragedy features an award-winning performance from Tom Hiddleston in the title role, directed by the Donmar's former Artistic Director Josie Rourke.


Rory Kinnear delivers an award-winning performance in this dynamic production of Shakespeare’s complex and profound play, directed by Nicholas Hytner.

Hamlet (2022)

Hamlet’s dad is dead. His uncle has taken over the kingdom and married Hamlet’s mum. The whole world feels like it’s turned upside down. This energetic and engaging schools production retells Shakespeare’s tragedy.

Julius Caesar

In Nicholas Hytner’s production, Ben Whishaw and Michelle Fairley play Brutus and Cassius, David Calder plays Caesar and David Morrissey is Mark Antony.

King Lear

The acclaimed Donmar Warehouse production of Shakespeare’s harrowing tragedy, starring Sir Derek Jacobi and directed by Tony Award winning Michael Grandage.

Macbeth (2017)

First performed as part of the National Theatre’s series of Shakespeare for younger audiences, Justin Audibert and the Company create a bold contemporary retelling of this dark play.

Macbeth (2018)

Rufus Norris directs Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff in Shakespeare's most intense and terrifying tragedy.

Much Ado About Nothing

Escape to the Italian Riviera in Simon Godwin's production with a cast including Katherine Parkinson and John Heffernan.


This acclaimed production, directed by Nicholas Hytner, was nominated for Best Revival at the 2013 Olivier Awards. Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear jointly won the Evening Standard Best Actor Award for their performances in the iconic roles of Othello and Iago.

Othello (2022)

Clint Dyer directs an extraordinary new vision for one of Shakespeare’s most enduring tragedies, with a cast that includes Giles Terera, Rosy McEwen and Paul Hilton.

Romeo and Juliet (2017)

Adapted by Ben Power, Bijan Sheibani's thrilling production of Shakespeare's classic story brings the greatest love story of all time alive for a new generation.

Romeo and Juliet (2020)

Starring Jessie Buckley and Josh O’Connor and filmed using the backstage spaces of the National Theatre during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Twelfth Night

Simon Godwin directs this joyous new production with Tamsin Greig as a transformed Malvolia, in a new twist on Shakespeare’s classic comedy of mistaken identity.

The Winter’s Tale

This exciting new version is the perfect introduction to Shakespeare for younger audiences: using colour, song and puppetry to tell this magical tale.

About the National Theatre

The National Theatre building from South Bank, London

At the National Theatre, we make world class theatre that is entertaining, challenging and inspiring – and we make it for everyone.

We stage up to 20 productions at our three theatres in London each year, ranging from reimagined classics to modern masterpieces and new work by contemporary writers and theatre-makers. The work we make strives to be as inclusive, diverse and accessible as possible, playing in London, on tour across the UK, on Broadway, and around the world. The National Theatre reaches 7 million people worldwide each year through live, broadcast and digital programmes including NT Live, which broadcasts some of the best of British theatre to over 2,500 venues in 65 countries.

Our extensive UK-wide learning and participation activity supports young people and schools, through theatre-making and craft programmes, and touring directly into schools. We invest at scale in new work and talent development, working with 1,500 artists each year, and partnering with a range of UK and international theatre companies.


(photo credit: Philip Vile)

The National Theatre Collection is supported by Richard and Kara Gnodde, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), Sidney E. Frank Foundation, The Attwood Education Foundation, The Candide Trust, The Cranshaw Corporation for Mrs. Robert I. MacDonald, Barbara G. Fleischman, Linda Hackett, The Michael Marks Charitable Trust, and members of the NT Collection Syndicate.