Theatre News

National Theatre to reopen with Michael Sheen Under Milk Wood and After Life

The venue will be back from June

National Theatre
National Theatre
© David Samuel, User:Hellodavey1902 / CC BY-SA (

The National Theatre has revealed it will reopen in June with a new production of Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood.

Directed by Lyndsey Turner, the piece will star Michael Sheen (Staged) alongside Susan Brown, Ifan Huw Dafydd, Alan David, Michael Elwyn, Kezrena James, Karl Johnson, Gaynor Morgan Rees, Anthony O'Donnell, Siân Phillips and Cleo Sylvestre. Thomas' classic text is considered one of the most iconic of the last century, and will have additional material by Siân Owen.

Set and costume design is by Merle Hensel, lighting design by Tim Lutkin, movement by Imogen Knight, songs composed by Edward-Rhys Harry, and sound design and additional compositions by Donato Wharton.Tom Bellerby is staff director.

It will be presented with socially distanced audiences in the Olivier Theatre from 16 June. The auditorium will remain in-the-round, and is set to play this way into 2022.

In the Dorfman Theatre, Jack Thorne's After Life, created with Jeremy Herrin and Bunny Christie and inspired by Hirokazu Kore-eda's film, will play to audiences of 120 from 2 June.

Co-produced with Headlong, initial casting includes Olatunji Ayofe, Danielle Henry, Maddie Holliday, Togo Igawa, Anoushka Lucas, Kevin McMonagle, Simon Startin, Luke Thallon, June Watson and Millicent Wong.

Set and costume design is by Christie, lighting design by Neil Austin, movement direction by Shelley Maxwell, video design by Max Spielbichler and sound design by Tom Gibbons. TD Moyo is staff director.

Tickets will go on sale on 30 April to the general public, with social distancing set to remain in place for both shows.

Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre, says: "It's been an incredibly difficult year for theatre, but I'm delighted to be able to confirm our reopening plans today and to be sharing the news of our first two productions that will reopen the National Theatre in June. In our transformed Olivier theatre, Lyndsey Turner will share her new staging of Dylan Thomas's masterful Under Milk Wood with Michael Sheen joining the company.

We're also very excited to reopen the Dorfman theatre for the first time since February 2020 with Jack Thorne's new adaptation of the film After Life, with concept by Bunny Christie, Jeremy Herrin and Jack Thorne. Both shows will play to socially-distanced audiences and we look forward with cautious optimism to welcoming back larger audiences across our theatres soon. Sharing our work online and on television over the last year has enabled us to reach millions of people and continue to keep culture alive, but the magic of live theatre is what we can now begin to look towards: to creating work with our freelance artists and colleagues, to supporting young people's creativity, and to bringing joy to audiences and communities through imaginative and inspiring live performance."

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