Spend 2024 with the National Theatre on stage and at the cinema. Whether it’s celebrating community in the multi–Olivier Award-winning best new British musical Standing at the Sky’s Edge, a spectacular reflection on the battle to create the NHS in Nye starring Michael Sheen, or a night at the movies for the smash-hit production about the England men’s football team in Dear England, the National Theatre has something for everyone in the new year.
On the South Bank, 2024 kicks off with Kin, a moving piece about pilgrimage, compassion and acceptance from acclaimed physical theatre company Gecko which plays the Lyttelton theatre from 12 – 27 January. This will be followed by a new play from former National Theatre writer-in-residence Beth Steel (The House of Shades), Till The Stars Come Down, in the Dorfman theatre from 24 January – 16 March. This heartbreaking and hilarious portrayal of a larger-than-life family struggling to come to terms with a changing world is directed by Bijan Sheibani (Barber Shop Chronicles) with a cast including Lorraine Ashbourne (I Hate Suzie), Lisa McGrillis (Mum), Derek Riddel (Happy Valley) and Marc Wootton (Nativity).
Lindsay Duncan (Hansard) plays Dora in a captivating revival of Dodie Smith’s 1938 play Dear Octopus, directed by Emily Burns (Jack Absolute Flies Again) in the Lyttelton theatre from 7 February – 27 March. Heartbreaking and joyful, Dear Octopus is a moving dissection of family and growing up that also stars Malcolm Sinclair (The Doctor’s Dilemma).
NT Director Rufus Norris will direct Michael Sheen as Nye Bevan in Nye – a new play from Tim Price in a co-production with Wales Millenium Centre running from 24 February – 11 May in the Olivier theatre. Nye is a surreal and spectacular journey through the life and legacy of the man who transformed Britain’s welfare state and created the NHS, Aneurin ‘Nye’ Bevan.
From 27 March – 25 May, an irreverent retelling of the life and legend of the Brontë sisters will open in the Dorfman theatre. Underdog: The Other, Other Brontë, a new play from Sarah Gordon (The Edit) in co-production with Northern Stage and directed by their Artistic Director Natalie Ibu. Cast includes Rhiannon Clements (Hollyoaks), Adele James (Queen Cleopatra) and Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones) as the formidable Brontë trio as they navigate the sibling power dynamics that shaped their uneven rise to fame.
A romantic and propulsive thriller soundtracked by original songs from acclaimed singer-songwriter PJ Harvey comes to the Lyttelton Theatre from 10 April – 22 June – London Tide. Based on Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend, this play is directed by Ian Rickson (Translations) and adapted by Ben Power (The Lehman Trilogy).
In the West End, two musicals will have their West End premieres. The National Theatre and Various Productions West End transfer of Sheffield Theatres’ smash-hit production, Standing at the Sky’s Edge, will play at the Gillian Lynne Theatre from 8 February. Written as a love letter to Sheffield and the city’s iconic Park Hill Estate, this 2023 Olivier Award-winning ‘Best New Musical’ is directed by Sheffield Theatres’ Artistic Director, Robert Hastie and features songs by the legendary Sheffield singer-songwriter, Richard Hawley. With a hilarious and gut-wrenching book by Chris Bush, Standing at the Sky’s Edge charts the hopes and dreams of three generations over the course of six tumultuous decades, navigating universal themes of love, loss and survival.
The multi award-winning Hadestown will play at the Lyric Theatre from 10 February. Hadestown takes you on an unforgettable journey to the underworld and back, intertwining two mythic love stories – that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone. A deeply resonant and defiantly hopeful theatrical experience, Hadestown invites you to imagine how the world could be. The musical features music, lyrics, and book by acclaimed Grammy®-winning singer-songwriter and BBC Radio 2 Folk Award-winner Anaïs Mitchell, who then transformed the show into a genre-defying new musical alongside artistic collaborator and Tony® Award-winning director Rachel Chavkin.
For the first time, two public performances of the National Theatre’s schools touring production of Jekyll & Hyde will take place at The Lowry in Salford on 12 and 13 January. Evan Placey’s radical reimagining of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale is directed by Kirsty Housley in a mash up of Victorian England and modern day and will be seen by over 10,000 young people in school halls across England.
To enjoy world-class theatre closer to home, head to a local cinema, grab some popcorn, and enjoy NT Live screenings straight from the iconic building and the West End. From January 25, watch Gareth Southgate lead the England team in Dear England starring Joseph Fiennes. Fans of Andrew Scott can enjoy his performance in the one-man show VANYA released to cinemas from 22 February.