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National Theatre stages events to celebrate Shakespeare400

The NT has announced a series of films, talks and exhibitions to celebrate the Shakespeare anniversary

The National Theatre
© Philip Vile

The National Theatre has announced its plans to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.

From 19 to 22 April, the theatre will host a series of talks with actors including Lenny Henry and Simon Russell Beale, an exhibition, and an outdoor film screening.

The celebrations will kick off with an exhibition, opening on 18 April at the Lyttelton Lounge. 5 Hamlets will feature recordings, props, designs and costumes from five of the NT's productions of Hamlet, which include lead performances from Peter O'Toole, Albert Finney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Simon Russell Beale and Rory Kinnear.

Flytower Film: Olivier's Henry V will be screened at the NT's Flytower on 22 April and will feature the film which earned Olivier a special Academy Award for outstanding achievement as actor, producer and director.

A selection of talks will then run at the Olivier Theatre from 19 to 22 April. Using Shakespeare's plays for inspiration, The Web of Our Life: Shakespeare and... looks at how the works continue to explore everyday issues and key themes. The Web of Our Life: Shakespeare and Old Age will feature Simon Russell Beale discussing how memory and ageing is explored in King Lear, alongside Simon Lovestone, Professor of Translational Neuroscience and Dementia Research at the University of Oxford.

Lenny Henry will then lead The Web of Our Life: Shakespeare and Migration. Alongside George Alagiah, BBC journalist and author of A Home From Home, the actor will discuss how migration and exile is explored in The Comedy of Errors, and its relevance today.

Lastly, Clare Higgins, who played Gertrude in Hamlet in 2010, will be among the guests looking at how family and gender is explored in Shakespeare's plays.

On 22 April, the Clore Learning Centre and Lyttelton Theatre will host a second selection of talks; The Beginnings which explores the journey through the early history to bring a National Theatre to Britain and what the new NT was to become, The 20th Century which explores a series of landmark productions at the NT and features some of the NT's archive material such as photographs, correspondence and designs and The 21st Century with former artistic director Nicholas Hytner to discuss his contribution to the history of Shakespeare at this venue.

Writer for Today will be the last of the talks with a discussion on how the idea of Shakespeare as our contemporary has been absorbed into our culture and the impact it has on modern productions. Guests will include Dominic Cooke and Ben Power.

The celebrations are part of the Shakespeare400 Partnership, coordinated by King's College London.

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