The National Theatre, in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, has launched National Theatre at Home, a new streaming platform.
The service launches with productions including the first ever National Theatre Live, Phèdre with Helen Mirren, Othello with Adrian Lester and the Young Vic’s Yerma with Billie Piper, new titles from the NT’s catalogue of filmed theatre will be added to the platform every month.
In addition to productions previously broadcast to cinemas by National Theatre Live, a selection of plays filmed for the NT’s Archive will be released online for the first time through National Theatre at Home, including Lucy Kirkwood’s Mosquitoes with Olivia Colman and Inua Ellams’ new version of Chekhov’s Three Sisters (a co-production with Fuel).
Viewers can choose a monthly or annual subscription to access the full catalogue and exclusive backstagecontent, or can opt to rent single plays for a 72-hour window.
National Theatre at Home’s digital streaming offer was first made available during the UK’s first COVID lockdown when theatres and cinemas were closed. This resulted in over 15 million views for 16 productions over four months and reached 173 countries around the world.
Lisa Burger, Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre, said: “We were overjoyed to have had 15 million views for National Theatre at Home earlier this year and to discover we had reached so many audiences new to theatre both in the UK and worldwide. At a time when many people were isolated at home, it was uplifting to see audiences recreate the shared experience of visiting the theatre. From homemade tickets to interval drinks, NT at Home was a way of making people feel more connected. And so, since the last stream finished in July, we have been determined to find a way to give our audiences access to these stunning filmed productions online once again. With the agreement from artists, we are now able to showcase an extraordinary range of fantastic NT Live productions and, for the first time, some treasured plays from our NT Archive. This is a really exciting day for the National Theatre as we launch a major, online streaming destination for our filmed theatre productions which we hope will continue to provide audiences with the power and joy of theatre for as long as it is needed. We want National Theatre at Home to once again bring people together from all over the world after what has been a very tough 2020for so many.”
The theatre’s artistic director Rufus Norris said that he lured The Night Manager star back to the stage over a coffee.
Olivia, 42, will appear in Mosquitoes, a new play by Lucy Kirkwood, which will have its world premiere in July next year.
Announcing the new work, Rufus said: “It centres on the relationship between two sisters. One is a leading scientist at the opening of the Large Hadron Collider.
“It’s about physics and the search for Higgs boson. There’s an incredibly lively and acerbic relationship between these two sisters and Olivia is playing one of the sisters.”
He added: “I think she’s a really terrific actress.”
He worked with Olivia on the film production of London Road.
“Since then I’ve been trying to woo her back into the theatre,” he said.
“I had a coffee with her not long ago and managed to trick her into stepping back over the line.
“When actors get that kind of success in TV and film, before you know it, five or 10 years have gone by without them being on stage.
“So it’s really important to get them back to keep that side of their craft up.”
The Broadchurch actress previously starred at the National in 2009 in the play England People Very Nice.
Norris will direct the new play.
Previously announced productions at the National Theatre next year also include Imelda Staunton in Follies, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
Nathan Lane, The Amazing Spider-Man actor Andrew Garfield and Russell Tovey all star in Angels In America.
The theatre recently announced a “national listening project… a verbatim archive of conversations from across the UK” which took place in the days after the EU Referendum in June.
A performance based on the first round of material, created in collaboration with poet Carol Ann Duffy, will be entitled My Country: A Work In Progress.