Theatre News

National Theatre to give away thousands of tickets and stream Othello as part of 60th year celebrations

The tickets will go to those aged between 16 and 25 for a number of National productions

© Cameron Slater
© Cameron Slater

As the National Theatre gears up to mark its 60-year journey, it’s offering a birthday gift — a total of 3,600 free tickets, equating to 60 tickets for 60 performances throughout October, exclusively available for 16 to 25 year-olds.

These complimentary tickets encompass productions both on the South Bank and in the West End, featuring plays such as The Father and the Assassin, Death of England: Closing Time, The Effect, The Confessions, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and Dear England.

They will be accessible for booking via the National Theatre website on Monday 2 October from 12 pm to 6 pm – or until tickets are exhausted.

On Thursday, 19 October, the National Theatre will also launch a special worldwide stream of its five-star production of Othello, directed by Clint Dyer, the National Theatre’s deputy artistic director.

Award-winning star Giles Terera takes on the role of Othello, alongside Rosy McEwen as Desdemona, in the critically acclaimed rendition. Captured live on the Lyttelton stage, the piece will debut on YouTube on Thursday 19 October at 7 pm BST. The stream will remain accessible on YouTube until 22 October, following which it will be available for free on the National Theatre’s streaming platform, National Theatre at Home, until 26 October. Audiences will also have the option to watch the production with audio description and British Sign Language.

Rufus Norris, director of the National Theatre, expressed his excitement, stating: “I’m thrilled to be celebrating 60 years of this extraordinary creative institution by giving audiences the chance to see our productions for free. Audiences are at the heart of everything we do and throwing open our physical doors to young people and our virtual doors to everyone, wherever they may be in the world with the “Take Your Seats” initiative, is the perfect way to celebrate.

“Clint Dyer’s Othello is an astonishing interpretation of a play that has seen five different productions throughout our history and encapsulates the progression of the National Theatre over the past six decades. With the generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, we continue to break down barriers to accessing theatre through our flagship National Theatre at Home platform reaching over 170 countries around the world. I hope you will join me in marking this historic moment in our history. Here’s to the next 60 years!”

Kate Varah, executive director at the National Theatre, added: “In its 60th year, the National Theatre has transferred a record number of shows to the West End, ensuring our work reaches even more audiences. The expansion and reach of the National Theatre around the UK since its foundation in 1963 has resulted in 85 per cent of all secondary schools across the UK accessing the National Theatre Collection, the free streaming platform for schools. Last year over 42,000 children and young people participated in National Theatre Learning activity. The National Theatre at 60 is a thriving and vital part of our cultural life.”

As the National Theatre enters its seventh decade, it will also spearhead a new large-scale sustainability initiative, in collaboration with theatres across the industry including the Young Vic, Royal Court and Kiln. From 2024, it will bring together the theatres’ storage of costumes, props and recyclable scenery under one roof at a new site in central London.

In addition, more than 60 apprentices training and developing their craft at the National Theatre in departments as varied as carpentry and scenic art to IT.