It’s a strange year and getting stranger, as that bastion of the Southbank arts complex, The National Theatre is to stage its first ever Pantomine this winter.

The theatre has been closed since the lockdown, and reopens later next month, with a revamped Olivier theatre that will let them stage a season of socially distanced performances “in-the-round”.

The Olivier, which is laid out as a fan-shape around the curved stage usually holds 1,150 people, and if left as it was with spaces between seats would hold even fewer people than the 500 people they will be able to host in the new layout. The revamp makes it just about economical to put on performances once more.

Computer rendering of the transformed Olivier Theatre in-the-round (c) National Theatr

In a time when theatres across the country have been forced to postpone their pantomimes by Coronavirus, for one year only, pantomime is coming to the National Theatre. They will be putting on the classic Dick Whittington, which will celebrate and honour what Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre describes as, “an essential part of the living fabric of our nation,”

With so many theatres closed, it could be a chance not only to keep the kids happy with an annual Panto, but also to introduce them to one of the UK’s great brutalist buildings.

The National Theatre reopens on 21 October 2020, with Death of England: Delroy, a new play written by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams, directed by Clint and performed by Giles Terrera. Tickets will go on sale to everyone from 2 October, with over 200 tickets available at £20 for every performance.

Dick Whittington, this performance being updated from a 2018 version performed at the Lyric Hammersmith will start in December.


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