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National Theatre Collection for Schools

Explore the collection

The National Theatre is delighted to make the very best of British theatre available to students in state-funded schools and FE colleges in the United Kingdom, free of charge. 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.

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.

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 Twelfth Night, in vibrant modern stagings. They’ll also be able to see novels come alive on stage in exciting literary adaptations including Frankenstein 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 Yerma and The Cherry Orchard. They’ll be able to see and study the work of extraordinary contemporary practitioners and theatre-makers.
  • Students on technical theatre and production arts courses can see and compare examples of extraordinary design and theatrecraft in productions ranging from She Stoops to Conquer to One Man, Two Guvnors.
  • Primary school teachers can introduce their pupils to Shakespeare, with vibrant adaptations of Romeo and Juliet and The Winter’s Tale, created especially for this age group, as well as other shows for younger audiences such as Peter Pan and Treasure Island.

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

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.

Learning resources

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

  • Document resources including introductions to each production for teachers, rehearsal diaries, production insights and scene-by-scene plot summaries with timecodes for the films.
  • Short films and audio recordings including contextual information for the productions and interviews with actors and creatives.

More Information

Antigone

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.

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.

Consent

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

Dara

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.

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.

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.

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.

Medea

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.

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.

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.

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.

Translations

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.

Wonder.land

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.

Yerma

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

Coriolanus

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.

Hamlet

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

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

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.

Othello

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.

Romeo and Juliet

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.

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

Photo of National Theatre building

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.


www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/learning/


(photo credit: Philip Vile)