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Celebrate Shakespeare at the National Theatre with a free app for iPad and iPhone

Released to mark the 400th anniversary year of Shakespeare’s death, National Theatre Shakespeare draws together a wealth of incredible archive material from the 55 main-house Shakespeare productions the NT has staged to date, from Peter O’Toole as Hamlet in 1963 and the 1964 all-male production of As You Like It, to the critically acclaimed 2013 Othello and Sam Mendes’ production of King Lear in 2014.

Packed with videos, production photographs, costume and set designs, annotated scripts and more, it gives a unique glimpse behind the scenes of the NT, and demonstrates Shakespeare’s continuing relevance to the modern stage.


• Exclusive video interviews including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Derek Jacobi;

• An interactive timeline of production posters;

• Hundreds of production and rehearsal photographs, costume illustrations, set designs, technical images, annotated scripts and other content from a selection of NT productions;

• An introduction to each production from journalist and critic Benedict Nightingale;

• Cast and production lists

The history of the creation of the NT is inextricably linked with William Shakespeare. Effingham Wilson’s proposal for a national theatre was partly inspired by the purchase of Shakespeare’s Birthplace for the nation in 1847. In Wilson’s 1848 Proposition for a National Theatre he set out a claim that a theatre – ‘a house for Shakespeare’ – would be an important complement to the preservation of Shakespeare’s home.

The inaugural production of the National Theatre Company at the Old Vic was Hamlet in 1963, directed by Laurence Olivier and featuring Peter O’Toole. When the NT moved to its new building on the South Bank in 1976, the first production was Hamlet directed by Peter Hall, with Albert Finney in the title role. This year, therefore, also marks the 40th anniversary of Shakespeare productions at the NT on the South Bank.

Including those staged at the Old Vic, there have been 55 main-house productions of Shakespeare’s plays at the NT, the most recent being As You Like It, directed by Polly Findlay. Twelfth Night, directed by Simon Godwin and featuring Tamsin Greig, will open in early 2017.

To download the app from the iTunes Store, click here.