National Theatre Collection Learning Resources

The National Theatre Collection includes an expanding bank of learning resources. 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.
  • Primary School Learning Packs: resources designed to support primary teachers as they prepare to explore a production with their class.
  • 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

Check back regularly for updates, as we add more resources to this page and the production pages.

The learning resources are available in PDF format.Link to download Adobe Acrobat Reader


Download an introduction to the National Theatre Collection for Secondary School teachers. Find out which productions are available, when they were recorded, what genre they fit into and which age group they are best suited to.

Introduction for Secondary School Drama teachers

Introduction for Secondary School English teachers


After Life

After Life cover image

Age recommendation: 14+ (themes of grief and loss)

Captured on 16th June, 2021 from the National’s Dorfman Theatre in London.

If you could spend eternity with just one precious memory, what would it be? A group of strangers grapple with this impossible question as they find themselves in a bureaucratic waiting room between life and death. Encouraged by enigmatic officials, they must sift through their past lives to choose their forever.

Adapted from Hirokazu Kore-eda's award-winning film, After Life is a new co-production with Headlong.

Learning Guide

All My Sons

All My Sons cover image

Age recommendation: 12+

This Old Vic production was recorded through National Theatre Live on 14th May 2019.

America, 1947. Despite hard choices and even harder knocks, Joe and Kate Keller are a success story. They have built a home, raised two sons and established a thriving business.

But nothing lasts forever and their contented lives, already shadowed by the loss of their eldest boy to war, are about to shatter. With the return of a figure from the past, long buried truths are forced to the surface and the price of their American dream is laid bare.

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

Learning Pack

Angels in America

Angels in America cover image

Age recommendation: 15+ (strong language and adult themes)

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 27th July 2017 from the Lyttelton Theatre in London.

America in the mid-1980s. In the midst of the AIDS crisis and a conservative Reagan administration, six New Yorkers with interconnect lives grapple with life and death, love and sex, heaven and hell.

This multi-award-winning revival of Tony Kushner’s two-part play is directed by Marianne Elliott, with a cast including Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane, Denise Gough and Russell Tovey.

Learning Guide and Activity Pack


Antigone cover image

Age recommendation: 14+ (some strong, bloody images)

This archive recording was captured on 4th July, 2012.

In the unstable aftermath of a civil war, Creon, the new King of Thebes, asserts his authority by forbidding anyone from honouring the death of the traitor Polyneices. But Antigone, Polyneices' sister, will not obey.

When Creon's authority is challenged, a gripping conflict emerges between the power of an individual and the state.

Polly Findlay's electric 2012 production brings Sophocles' tragedy into the modern world as a gripping political thriller.

Learning Guide

Rehearsal Insights

Barber Shop Chronicles

Barber Shop Chronicles cover image

Age recommendation: 12+

This co-production with Fuel Theatre was captured in the Dorfman Theatre on 20th June, 2017.

One day. Six cities. A thousand stories.

Newsroom, political platform, local hot spot, confession box, preacher-pulpit and football stadium. 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.

Barber Shop Chronicles is a heart-warming, hilarious and insightful new play that leaps from a barber shop in Peckham to Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos and Accra.

Learning Guide

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof cover image

Age recommendation: 14+ (contains nudity)

This Young Vic production was recorded through National Theatre Live from the Apollo Theatre in London’s West End on 22nd February, 2018.

On a steamy night in Mississippi, a Southern family gather at their cotton plantation to celebrate Big Daddy’s birthday. The scorching heat is almost as oppressive as the lies they tell. Brick and Maggie dance round the secrets and sexual tensions that threaten to destroy their marriage. With the future of the family at stake, which version of the truth is real – and which will win out?

Tennessee Williams’ searing, poetic story of a family’s fight for survival is a twentieth century masterpiece.

Learning Guide

The Cherry Orchard

The Cherry Orchard cover image

Age recommendation: 14+

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 30th June, 2011.

Ranyevskaya returns more or less bankrupt after ten years abroad. Luxuriating in her fading moneyed world and regardless of the increasingly hostile forces outside, she and her brother snub the lucrative scheme of Lopakhin, a peasant turned entrepreneur, to save the family estate. In so doing, they put up their lives to auction and seal the fate of the beloved 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.

Learning Pack

Rehearsal Insights

Chewing Gum Dreams

Chewing Gum Dreams cover image

Age recommendation: 14+ (adult themes)

Captured on 17th March, 2014 from the National’s temporary theatre, The Shed, in London.

Meet Tracey Gordon. Friendship, sex, UK garage, school, teachers, periods, emergency contraception, raves, tampons, white boys, God, money. Friendship.

The more she learns about the world the less she understands. Michaela Coel plays Tracey in this one-woman play that recalls the last days of innocence before adulthood.

Originally developed with the Yard Theatre in association with the Bush Theatre, Chewing Gum Dreams is a one-woman play that recalls those last days of innocence before adulthood.

Learning Guide


Consent cover image

Age recommendation: 14+ (references to rape)

This archive recording was captured on 9th May, 2017.

Why is Justice blind? Is she impartial? Or is she blinkered? Friends take opposing briefs in a rape case. The key witness is a woman whose life seems a world away from theirs. At home, their own lives begin to unravel as every version of the truth is challenged.

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

Consent received its world premiere in a co-production with Out of Joint at the National Theatre in April 2017.

Learning Guide


Coriolanus cover image

Age recommendation: 12+

This Donmar Warehouse production was recorded through National Theatre Live on 30th January, 2014.

When an old adversary threatens Rome, the city calls once more on her hero and defender: Coriolanus. But he has enemies at home too. Famine threatens the city, the citizens’ hunger swells to an appetite for change, and on returning from the field Coriolanus must confront the march of realpolitik and the voice of an angry people.

Shakespeare’s searing tragedy of political manipulation and revenge, Coriolanus features an Evening Standard Award-winning performance from Tom Hiddleston in the title role, directed by the Donmar's former Artistic Director Josie Rourke.

Learning Pack


Dara cover image

Age recommendation: 14+

This archive recording was captured in the Lyttelton Theatre on 17th March, 2015.

1659. Mughal, India. Two brothers, Dara and Aurangzeb, are both heirs to the Muslim empire. Dara, the crown prince, has the love of the people – and of his emperor father – but younger brother Aurangzeb holds a different vision for India's future. Now they fight ferociously for succession.

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 Tanya Ronder's adaptation and Nadia Fall's stunning production.

Learning Pack

Rehearsal Insights

The Deep Blue Sea

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Age recommendation: 14+ (contains references to suicide)

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 1st September, 2016.

A flat in Ladbroke Grove, West London. 1952. When Hester Collyer is found by her neighbours in the aftermath of a failed suicide attempt, the story of her tempestuous affair with a former RAF pilot and the breakdown of her marriage to a High Court judge begins to emerge. With it comes a portrait of need, loneliness and long-repressed passion. Behind the fragile veneer of post-war civility burns a brutal sense of loss and longing.

Terence Rattigan’s devastating masterpiece contains one of the greatest female roles in contemporary drama. Helen McCrory and director Carrie Cracknell reunited following the acclaimed Medea in 2014.

Learning Pack


Frankenstein: Benedict Cumberbatch cover image

Age recommendation: 15+ (contains nudity and one scene of sexual violence)

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.

Childlike in his innocence but grotesque in form, Frankenstein’s bewildered Creature is cast out into a hostile universe by his horror-struck maker. Meeting with cruelty wherever he goes, the friendless Creature, increasingly desperate and vengeful, determines to track down his creator and strike a terrifying deal.

Urgent concerns of scientific responsibility, parental neglect, cognitive development and the nature of good and evil are embedded within this thrilling and deeply disturbing classic gothic tale.

The production was a sell-out hit at the National Theatre in 2011, and the broadcast has since become an international sensation, experienced by almost half a million people in cinemas around the world.

Learning Guide

Rehearsal Insights

Lesson Plan: Putting Frankenstein in Context

Lesson Plan: Comparing Different Performances

Lesson Plan: Analysing Theatre Craft in Frankenstein

Lesson Plan: Adapting a Novel for the Stage

Lesson Plan: Adapting Victorian Language

Lesson Plan: Who is Responsible for the Creature's Actions

Lesson Plan: Is the Creature a Monster?


Hamlet cover image

Age recommendation: 12+

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 9th December, 2010.

Director Nicholas Hytner offers a detailed political, social and psychological context to Hamlet's dilemma: whether or not to avenge the death of his father.

Rory Kinnear plays Hamlet in this dynamic production of Shakespeare’s complex and profound play about the human condition. His performance earned him an Evening Standard Award.

Learning Pack

Rehearsal Insights

Lesson Plan: Contrasting Hamlet's Soliloquies

Lesson Plan: Understanding Theatre Craft in the Play within the Play

Lesson Plan: Rewriting Ophelia's Soliloquy

Lesson Plan: Truth and Performance in the Play within the Play

Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler cover image

Age recommendation: 14+

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 9th March, 2017.

Just married. Bored already. Hedda longs to be free…

Hedda and Tesman have just returned from their honeymoon and the relationship is already in trouble. Trapped but determined, Hedda tries to control those around her, only to see her own world unravel.

Ivo van Hove, one of the world’s most exciting directors, made his National Theatre debut with a modern production of Ibsen’s masterpiece. This vital new version by Patrick Marber features Ruth Wilson in the title role and Rafe Spall as Brack.

Learning Guide


Home cover image

Age recommendation: 14+

Captured on 7th August, 2013 from the National’s temporary theatre, The Shed, in London.

Bullet doesn’t want to call a hostel home. Eritrean Girl was smuggled here in a lorry. Singing Boy dreams of seeing his name in lights and Garden Boy just wants to feel safe.

Homelessness amongst young people in the UK is at a record high, so when the big society doesn’t work – where do you go? An inner-city high-rise hostel, TargetEast, offers a roof.

Nadia Fall’s verbatim play used more than 30 hours of interviews to give a blistering insight into life inside a homeless hostel.

Learning Guide

I Want My Hat Back

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Age recommendation: 3+

Recording from the National Theatre Archive, 2015.

Bear's hat is gone. He loves his hat. He wants it back. He asks all the animals in the forest, but no one has seen it. WAIT! He has seen it somewhere...

Based on Jon Klassen’s children’s picture book classic, I Want My Hat Back features music by Arthur Darvill and a book and lyrics by Joel Horwood.

Learning Guide

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre cover image

Age recommendation: 12+ (occasional swearing)

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 8th December, 2015 as a co-production with the Bristol Old Vic.

Born into a life of struggle, the spirited Jane Eyre tackles life's obstacles head-on as she seeks to pursue her own path in the world. Faced with poverty, injustice and a bitter betrayal, the trailblazing Jane follows her heart to fight for freedom and fulfillment on her own terms.

Devised by the Company, Sally Cookson's adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's masterpiece is a vivid and breathtaking spectacle.

Learning Guide

Rehearsal Insights


Julie cover image

Age recommendation: 15+ (contains adult themes and drug misuse)

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 6th September, 2018.

Wild and single, Julie throws a huge party in her luxurious London house which rapidly descends into a fight for her own survival.

Fuelled by social division, August Strindberg’s masterpiece Miss Julie remains shocking and fiercely relevant in this new version by Polly Stenham set in contemporary London.

Learning Guide

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar cover image

Age recommendation: 12+

This Bridge Theatre production was recorded through National Theatre Live on 22nd March, 2018.

Caesar returns in triumph to Rome and the people pour out of their homes to celebrate. Alarmed by the autocrat’s popularity, the educated élite conspire to bring him down. After his assassination, civil war erupts on the streets of the capital.

Nicholas Hytner’s production thrusts the audience into the street party that greets Caesar’s return, the congress that witnesses his murder, the rally that assembles for his funeral and the chaos that explodes in its wake.

Learning Pack

King Lear

King Lear cover image

Age recommendation: 12+

This Donmar Warehouse production was recorded through National Theatre Live on 3rd February, 2011.

An aged king decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters, according to which of them is most eloquent in praising him. His favourite, Cordelia, says nothing. As Lear’s world descends into chaos, all that he once believed is brought into question. One of the greatest works in western literature, King Lear explores the very nature of human existence: love and duty, power and loss, good and evil.

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

Learning Pack

Les Blancs

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Age recommendation: 14+ (contains mature themes and references to racism)

This production is an archival recording captured in 2016.

An African country teeters on the edge of civil war. A society prepares to drive out its colonial present and claim an independent future. Racial tensions boil over. Tshembe, returned home from England for his father’s funeral, finds himself in the eye of the storm.

A family and a nation fall apart under the pressure to determine their own identity as this brave, illuminating and powerful play confronts the hope and tragedy of revolution.

Les Blancs marked the National Theatre debut of the multi-award-winning director Yaël Farber, whose productions include The Crucible (Old Vic) and the internationally-acclaimed Mies Julie and Nirbhaya.

Written eleven years after A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry’s final drama is an unknown masterpiece of the American stage and a highly theatrical search for the soul of post-colonial Africa.

Learning Pack

London Assurance

London Assurance cover image

Age recommendation: 12+

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 28th June, 2010.

Grace has agreed to marry Sir Harcourt in return for his financial support of her family. At a house party in her father's place, Harcourt's son Charles also falls in love with Grace. When his father appears on the scene, he has to convince him that there is a case of mistaken identity and he is somebody else. Then Lady Gay Spanker, a married woman also visiting at the house, is persuaded by Charles to seduce his father and thus divert his attention from Grace. Much confusion and scheming ensues.

Originally written by Dion Boucicault, Nicholas Hytner directs Simon Russell Beale and Fiona Shaw in this a new version by Richard Bean about life, love and mistaken identity in 19th Century London.

Learning Pack

Macbeth (2017)

Macbeth (2017) cover image

Age recommendation: 12+

A new version by Justin Audibert and the company.

Originally staged as part of the National Theatre’s Shakespeare for younger audiences programme. This archival recording was captured in 2017.

Amid bloody rebellion and the deafening drums of war, Macbeth and his wife will stop at nothing to fulfil their ambition. Witchcraft, murder, treason and treachery are all at play in this murky world.

A bold contemporary retelling of one of Shakespeare’s darkest plays.

Learning Guide

Macbeth (2018)

Macbeth (2018) cover image

Age recommendation: 12+ (some gory imagery)

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 10th May, 2018.

Sleep no more...

The ruined aftermath of a bloody civil war. Ruthlessly fighting to survive, the Macbeths are propelled towards the crown by forces of elemental darkness.

Shakespeare’s most intense and terrifying tragedy is directed by Rufus Norris. Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff play Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

Learning Guide


Medea cover image

Age recommendation: 14+

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 4th September, 2014.

Terrible things breed in broken hearts. Medea is a wife and a mother, stricken with grief. For the sake of her husband, Jason, she’s left her home and borne two sons in exile. But when he abandons his family for a new life, Medea faces banishment and separation from her children. Cornered, she begs for one day’s grace.

It’s time enough. She exacts an appalling revenge and destroys everything she holds dear.

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.

Learning Pack

One Man, Two Guvnors

One Man, Two Guvnors cover image

Age recommendation: 12+

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 15th September, 2011.

Fired from his skiffle band, Francis Henshall becomes minder to Roscoe Crabbe, a small time East End hood, now in Brighton to collect £6,000 from his fiancée’s dad. But Roscoe is really his sister Rachel posing as her own dead brother, who’s been killed by her boyfriend Stanley Stubbers.

Holed up at The Cricketers’ Arms, the permanently ravenous Francis spots the chance of an extra meal ticket and takes a second job with one Stanley Stubbers, who is hiding from the police and waiting to be re-united with Rachel. To prevent discovery, Francis must keep his two guvnors apart. Simple.

Tony Award-winning James Corden plays Francis Henshall in the hilarious West End and Broadway hit.

Learning Guide

Rehearsal Insights


Othello cover image

Age recommendation: 12+

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 26th September, 2013.

Othello, newly married to Desdemona – who is half his age – is appointed leader of a major military operation. Iago, passed over for promotion by Othello in favour of the young Cassio, persuades Othello that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair.

This acclaimed production of William Shakespeare’s play about the destructive power of jealousy 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.

Learning Guide

Rehearsal Insights

Lesson Plan: Understanding Persuasion

Lesson Plan: Writing a Final Soliloquy for Iago

Lesson Plan: Rewriting Act IV Scene 3

Lesson Plan: Theatre Craft in the Brawl


Paradise cover image

Age recommendation: 14+

This archive recording was captured from the National Theatre’s Olivier Theatre on 2nd September, 2021.

A new version of Philoctetes by Sophocles.

Philoctetes: once a celebrated wartime hero, now a wounded outcast on a desolate island.

When a young soldier appears, his hope of escape comes with suspicion. And as an old enemy also emerges, he is faced with an even greater temptation: revenge.

Kae Tempest, the astonishing writer, recording artist and performer, forges an epic new take on Greek legend.

Learning Guide

Peter Pan

Peter Pan cover image

Age recommendation: 7+

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 10th June, 2017 as a co-production with Bristol Old Vic Theatre.

All children grow up, except one.

When Peter Pan loses his shadow, headstrong Wendy helps him reattach it. In return, she is invited to Neverland, where Tinker Bell the fairy, Tiger Lily and the vengeful Captain Hook await. A riot of music, magic and make-believe ensues.

A delight for children and adults alike, Sally Cookson directs this wondrously inventive devised production of JM Barrie's classic.

Learning Guide

Lesson Plan: Shadow Puppets

Lesson Plan: Flying Poetry

Lesson Plan: Designing Neverland

Lesson Plan: Character Posters

Lesson Plan: Childhood vs Adulthood

Key Stage 3 Pack

Rockets and Blue Lights

Rockets and Blue Lights cover image

Age recommendation: 14+

A co-production with the Royal Exchange Theatre, this archive recording was captured at the National Theatre’s Dorfman Theatre on 6th October, 2021.

On the set of a new film about Victorian artist JMW Turner, young actress Lou is haunted by an unresolved history. Meanwhile, in 1840 Londoners Lucy and Thomas try to come to terms with the meaning of freedom.

Moving between London past and present, we embark on a powerfully personal voyage through time.

Directed by Miranda Cromwell, this astonishing and fiercely political new play by Winsome Pinnock was named winner of the 2018 Alfred Fagon Award.

Learning Guide

Romeo and Juliet (2017)

Romeo and Juliet (2017) cover image

Age recommendation: 8+

A new version for younger audiences by Bijan Sheibani and Ben Power.

Originally staged as part of the National Theatre’s Shakespeare for younger audiences programme. This archival recording was captured in 2017.

This contemporary production sees a company of eight tell the most famous love story of all time, set against a vivid urban backdrop bursting with excitement, colour, dance and song.

A swift, contemporary celebration of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Bijan Sheibani’s thrilling production brings Romeo and Juliet to life for a new generation.

Learning Pack

Lesson Plan: Insults

Lesson Plan: Stage Fighting

Lesson Plan: Who am I?

Romeo and Juliet (2020)

Romeo and Juliet (2020) cover image

Age recommendation: 12+

This film was captured in the empty Lyttelton Theatre, over seventeen days, during a global pandemic in November and December 2020.

Romeo and Juliet risk everything to be together. In defiance of their feuding families, they chase a future of joy and passion as violence erupts around them.

This bold new film brings to life the remarkable backstage spaces of the National Theatre in which desire, dreams and destiny collide to make Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy sing in an entirely new way.

Learning Guide

The Seagull

The Seagull cover image

Age recommendation: 12+

The Seagull is part of the Young Chekhov trilogy of the playwright’s early work, adapted by David Hare. The trilogy opened to overwhelming acclaim at the Chichester Festival in 2015 and transferred to the National Theatre in 2016.

On a summer’s day in a makeshift theatre by a lake, Konstantin’s cutting-edge new play is performed, changing the lives of everyone involved forever.

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.

Learning Guide

She Stoops to Conquer

She Stoops to Conquer cover image

Age recommendation: 12+

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 29th March, 2012.

Hardcastle, a man of substance, looks forward to acquainting his daughter with his old pal's son, with a view to marriage. But thanks to playboy Lumpkin, he's mistaken by his prospective son-in-law Marlowe for an innkeeper, and his daughter for a local barmaid.

But while Marlowe can barely speak to a woman of quality, he's a charmer with those of a different stamp. And so, as Hardcastle's indignation intensifies, Miss Hardcastle's appreciation for her misguided suitor soars. Misdemeanours multiply, love blossoms, and mayhem ensues.

One of the great, generous-hearted and ingenious comedies of the English language, Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer offers a celebration of chaos, courtship and the dysfunctional family.

Learning Pack

Rehearsal Insights

Small Island

Small Island cover image

Age recommendation: 14+ (strong language and racist terms)

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 30th May, 2019.

Adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson, Small Island follows three intricately connected stories. Hortense yearns for a new life away from rural Jamaica, Gilbert dreams of becoming a lawyer, and Queenie longs to escape her Lincolnshire roots. Hope and humanity meet stubborn reality as the play traces the tangled history of Jamaica and the UK.

Andrea Levy’s epic, Orange Prize-winning novel bursts to new life on the Olivier stage. A company of 40 tells a story which journeys from Jamaica to Britain, through the Second World War to 1948 – the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury.

Learning Guide

Rehearsal Insights

A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire cover image

Age recommendation: 14+

This Young Vic production was recorded through National Theatre Live on 16th September, 2014.

As Blanche’s fragile world crumbles, she turns to her sister Stella for solace – but her downward spiral brings her face to face with the brutal, unforgiving Stanley Kowalski.

The fastest-selling production in Young Vic's history, Tennessee Williams’ timeless masterpiece is brought to life on the modern stage with an outstanding cast and creative team.

Learning Guide

This House

This House cover image

Age recommendation: 15+ (very strong language)

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 16th May, 2013.

It’s 1974, and Britain has a hung Parliament. The corridors of Westminster ring with the sound of infighting and backstabbing as the political parties battle to change the future of the nation.

During this era of chaos, when a staggering number of politicians die and age-old traditions are thrown aside, MPs find they must roll up their sleeves, and bend the rules, to navigate a way through the Mother of all Parliaments.

Enjoying two sold-out National Theatre runs, a NT Live broadcast in 2013, plus a West End transfer and UK tour, This House is a timely, moving and funny insight into the workings of British politics.

Learning Guide

The Threepenny Opera

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Age recommendation: 15+ (strong language & adult themes)

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 22nd September, 2016 from the Olivier Theatre in London.

London scrubs up for the coronation. The thieves are on the make, the whores on the pull, the police cutting deals to keep it all out of sight.

Mr and Mrs Peachum are looking forward to a bumper day in the beggary business, but their daughter didn’t come home last night. Mack the Knife is back in town.

A landmark of twentieth-century musical theatre, The Threepenny Opera comes to the National Theatre in a bold new production.

Learning Guide

Three Sisters

Three Sisters cover image

Age recommendation: 12+

This co-production with Fuel Theatre was captured on 4th December 2019.

Nigeria, 1967. Lolo, Nne Chukwu and Udo are grieving the loss of their father. Months before, two ruthless military coups plunged the country into chaos.

Fuelled by foreign intervention, the conflict encroaches on their provincial village, and the sisters long to return to their former home in Lagos.

Anton Chekhov’s iconic characters are relocated to 1960s Nigeria on the brink of the Biafran Civil War in this bold adaptation by Inua Ellams.

Learning Guide

Top Girls

Top Girls cover image

Age recommendation: 14+ (strong language)

This archive recording was captured on 8th April, 2019 from the Lyttelton Theatre in London.

Now hiring: top girls wanted for prestige positions. Must be self-motivated go-getters with an appetite for success. No timewasters.

Marlene is the first woman to head the Top Girls employment agency. But she has no plans to stop there. With Maggie in at Number 10 and a spirit of optimism consuming the country, Marlene knows that the future belongs to women like her.

For the first time, the National Theatre stages Caryl Churchill’s wildly innovative play about a country divided by its own ambitions.

Learning Guide


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Age recommendation: 14+

This archive recording was captured on 31st July, 2018.

What happens when a land is robbed of its language?

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

Owen, the prodigal son, returns to rural Donegal from Dublin. With him are two British army officers. Their ambition is to create a map of the area, replacing the Gaelic names with English. It is an administrative act with radical consequences.

Learning Guide

Rehearsal Insights

Treasure Island

Treasure Island cover image

Age recommendation: 9+

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 22nd January, 2015.

It's a dark and stormy night. The stars are out. Jim, the inn-keeper's granddaughter, opens the door to a terrifying stranger. At the old sailor's feet sits a huge sea-chest, full of secrets. Jim invites him in – and her dangerous voyage begins.

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 and directed by Polly Findlay.

Learning Guide

Lesson Plan: Bringing Historical Characters to Life

Lesson Plan: Designing a Poster for Treasure Island

Lesson Plan: Making Treasure Maps

Lesson Plan: Time Travelling Pirate's Debate Club

Lesson Plan: Eating on Board a Pirate Ship

Lesson Plan: Languages of Old

Lesson Plan: Roles of Women in the 18th Century

Lesson Plan: Poetry of the Sea

Lesson Plan: Sea Shanties

Key Stage 3 Pack

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night cover image

Age recommendation: 12+

Recorded through National Theatre Live on 6th April, 2017.

A ship is wrecked on the rocks. Viola is washed ashore but her twin brother Sebastian is lost. Determined to survive on her own, she steps out to explore a new land. So begins a whirlwind of mistaken identity and unrequited love.

The nearby households of Olivia and Orsino are overrun with passion. Even Olivia's upright housekeeper Malvolia is swept up in the madness. Where music is the food of love, and nobody is quite what they seem, anything proves possible.

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

Learning Guide

A View from the Bridge

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Age recommendation: 14+

This Young Vic production was captured from London’s West End on 26th March, 2015.

In Brooklyn, longshoreman Eddie Carbone welcomes his Sicilian cousins to the land of freedom. But when one of them falls for his beautiful niece, they discover that freedom comes at a price. Eddie’s jealous mistrust exposes a deep, unspeakable secret – one that drives him to commit the ultimate betrayal.

The visionary Ivo van Hove directs this stunning production of Arthur Miller’s tragic masterpiece about the American dream.

Learning Guide

The Winter's Tale

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Age recommendation: 8+

A new version for young audiences by Justin Audibert.

Originally staged as part of the National Theatre’s Shakespeare for younger audiences programme. This archival recording was captured in 2018.

Perdita is a brave, intelligent and much-loved girl, but something is not quite right in her world. Join her on a journey through magic and mayhem as she uncovers her story – the girl who was once lost and then found.

This exciting new version of The Winter's Tale is the perfect introduction to Shakespeare: using colour, song and puppetry to tell this magical tale.

Learning Pack


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Age recommendation: 11+

This archive recording was captured on 9th May, 2017.

A new musical inspired by Lewis Carroll’s iconic story, wonder.land is a coming-of-age adventure that explores the blurred boundaries between our online and offline lives. Combining live theatre and digital technology in dazzling new ways, wonder.land is brought to life on stage by an extraordinary creative team.

With stunning sets, costumes, video projection and lighting, and a score by Blur’s Damon Albarn, this is a musical like no other: an Alice for the online generation.

Learning Guide

Background Pack

Key Stage 3 Pack


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Age recommendation: 14+ (very strong language and sexual references)

This Young Vic production was recorded through National Theatre Live on 31st August, 2017.

A young woman is driven to the unthinkable by her desperate desire to have a child in Lorca’s classic tragedy about honour, family and female empowerment. Set in contemporary London, Piper’s portrayal of a woman in her thirties desperate to conceive builds with elemental force to a staggering, shocking, climax.

The theatre phenomenon sold out at the Young Vic and critics called it ‘an extraordinary theatrical triumph’ (The Times) and ‘stunning, searing, unmissable’ (Mail on Sunday). Billie Piper’s lead performance was described as ‘spellbinding’ (The Evening Standard), ‘astonishing’ (iNews) and ‘devastatingly powerful’ (The Daily Telegraph).

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

Learning Guide

Key Stage 3 Packs (Ages 11 to 14)

These activities are designed to support Key Stage 3 students as they watch National Theatre productions and include research, discussion, writing and creative tasks, most of which can be carried out in isolation if required. Some resources in the Productions section of this page are also appropriate for students in Key Stage 3.

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