National Theatre Collection

Learning Resources

The National Theatre Collection includes an expanding bank of learning resources. These include:

  • 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.

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

Antigone

Antigone cover image

Age recommendation: 15+ (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' brother, 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.

Download Rehearsal Insights


The Cherry Orchard

The Cherry Orchard cover image

Age recommendation: 12+

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.

Download Rehearsal Insights


Dara

Dara cover image

Age recommendation: 12+

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.

Download Rehearsal Insights


Frankenstein

Frankenstein: Benedict Cumberbatch cover image
Frankenstein: Jonny Lee Miller 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.

Download Rehearsal Insights


Hamlet

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.

Download Rehearsal Insights


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.

Download Rehearsal Insights


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.

Download Rehearsal Insights


Othello

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.

Download Rehearsal Insights


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.

Download Rehearsal Insights