It’s not pantomime, but it is undoubtedly a theatrical Christmas tradition. The UK’s two flagship theatre companies – the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre (pictured) – go head-to-head tonight, 21 December 2001, in the 18th annual Theatre Quiz, which takes place at the NT Lyttelton from 6.00pm.

Hosted by presenter Emma Freud, the quiz pits actors, directors and administrators at both companies against one another in a test of theatrical knowledge and dramatic invention, with rounds such as “Feel the Actor” alongside more general questions on the year in theatreland.

The National team is captained by outgoing NT executive director, Genista McIntosh. In 1999 she was created a Life Peer taking the title of Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall. After 11 years at the National, she will become Principal of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama next autumn.

The RSC team is captained by actor Guy Henry, currently playing at London’s Barbican Centre as Malvolio in Twelfth Night and the title role in King John. Henry’s previous RSC work includes Volpone, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Cymbeline; while, at the NT, he has appeared in Bartholemew Fair, The School for Scandal and The Voysey Inheritance.

Last year’s quiz was won by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

- by Terri Paddock