A who’s who of the British acting world took to the stage to celebrate National Theatre’s 50th anniversary. Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Helen Mirren and Derek Jacobi were just some of the actors that treaded the boards in front of an audience full of other legends of British theatre. Playwrights such as Tom Stoppard and Peter Shaffer were literally rubbing shoulders with directors Peter Hall and Richard Eyre. Joan Plowright the widow of the National theatre’s first director, Laurence Olivier was also in attendance for this huge gala event.
On the main Olivier stage the audience enjoyed a two-hour retrospective directed by Nicholas Hytner. Judi Dench treated the audience to a repeat performance of her legendary role as Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra, Helen Mirren played a murderer in Mourning Becomes Electra, Russell Beale showed why his Hamlet met such good reviews and many more famous actors took to the stage to show why the National Theatre is such an important and celebrated institution. To find out more about the National Theatre’s history check out the two Arena documentaries on iPlayer. If you can’t get to the National Theatre for their landmark performances you can still see these plays at your local cinema with National Theatre Live. The up-coming programme can be found here.
Ewan McGregor to make his Broadway debut. In 2014 McGregor will be taking to Broadway in a revival of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing, it was revealed last Thursday. The Scottish actor will be playing Henry, a smooth playwright trapped in his marriage, in a Roundabout Theatre Company production from Oct 2nd 2014 to January 2015.
Funding should not just be for London. Bristol Old Vic’s Tom Morris responds to a new report exploring the ‘Rebalancing our cultural capital report’. The report claimed that the Arts Council has allocated five times as much spending per resident to London than those outside the capital. Here he discusses how this could be responded to in a practical way to nurture the potential of theatres outside London.