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National Theatre announces family-friendly season

Published January 26, 2012

The National Theatre will present new productions of The Count Of Monte Cristo and Hansel And Gretel as part of its forthcoming 2012 season, as well as offering families a brand new free festival this summer.

The new adaptation of The Count Of Monte Cristo in the NT’s Olivier space will be directed by Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s Artistic Director Timothy Sheader. The director’s previous work for family audiences includes last year’s Lord Of The Flies at the alfresco venue.

Based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas, the comedy tells the tale of the handsome young Edmond who, after being falsely imprisoned for 14 years, disguises himself as the rich Count of Monte Cristo to seek revenge on the three men responsible. The new version is penned by Richard Bean, the Olivier Award-winning playwright behind the NT’s recent success One Man, Two Guvnors.

Hansel And Gretel will play in the Cottesloe theatre in December aimed at four to seven year olds. The fairy tale will be presented by Katie Mitchell, the director behind previous NT family hits The Beauty And The Beast and The Cat In The Hat. Well known for her boundary pushing style, Mitchell’s take on the classic story promises to be an inventive offering to enthral young theatregoers.

If winter seems a long time to wait for some family fun at the Southbank venue, the theatre has confirmed two free festivals taking place over the summer with the annual Watch This Space programme returning and a brand new season for 2012 entitled National Theatre Inside Out.

Dates for Watch This Space have yet to be confirmed but the venue has announced that as part of the celebration of the best of national and international outdoor performance there will be new work from The Gandinis, Circus Space, Square Peg and Upswing. The venue has also commissioned two site-specific works by interactive theatre company non zero one and live art company Made in China.

National Theatre Inside Out will offer a packed programme of free activities from 2 June to 9 September with plenty on offer for families. Designed to give passers-by a taste of what goes on inside the theatre, a specially designed riverfront café will evoke the backstage world while a pop-up space on the terrace balcony will offer activities and performances for children.

CM