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Olivier Theatre being remodelled into the round

National Theatre's Olivier Theatre being remodelled into the round

National Theatre announces plans for reopening, including a pantomime

Jess Young

By Jess Young First Published 17 September 2020, Last Updated 17 September 2020

The National Theatre have announced they will be reopening to audiences on the 21 October, with Death Of England: Delroy and for one year only, a pantomime will be taking the stage, oh yes it is (sorry!).

In preparation for their reopening, the Olivier theatre is to be significantly remodelled in order to stage a season of performances in-the-round, which will achieve an audience capacity of almost 500 while maintaining social distancing for audiences.

The first production in the season, Death Of England: Delroy is a new play written by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams, directed by Dyer and performed by Giles Terera. The production follows on from Death of England that was performed by Rafe Spall and closed just before lockdown. This new work explores a Black working-class man searching for truth and confronting his relationship with Great Britain. Tickets will go on sale to the public from 2 October with over 200 tickets available at £20 for every performance.

Death of England: Delroy opening at National Theatre

The second production the National Theatre will stage as part of the Olivier in-the-round season will be Dick Whittington, originally commissioned by the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, which will celebrate and honour panto’s place at the heart of British theatre. Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd’s hilarious and heartfelt version of the famous story was first staged at Lyric Hammersmith in 2018. Freshly updated for 2020, Ned Bennett directs this exciting new production which promises fun for everyone and will open on the South Bank in December.

Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre said: ‘We’re both delighted and relieved to be reopening the National Theatre with the Olivier in-the-round season, which will allow us to present live work to as many people as possible while social distancing remains in place. It is dynamically appropriate to begin the season with Death of England: Delroy, an extraordinarily important and timely piece of work by the hugely talented Clint Dyer and Roy Williams, and we are also proud and privileged to be presenting Dick Whittington this Christmas, helmed by the inspirational Jude Christian, Cariad Lloyd and Ned Bennett. Pantomime is an essential part of the living fabric of our nation, and it is devastating that so many theatres across the country have had no choice but to postpone their pantos this year because of the unprecedented financial impact of Coronavirus. We’ll do all we can to keep the flame alive: brilliant theatre artists will serve up a slice of joy to families on the South Bank, and we’ll be asking everyone to support their local theatres by booking ahead for their 2021 pantomimes. Of course, we hope that it will be possible for theatres to perform safely to fuller audiences long before then.’

Following UK Government guidelines, social distancing measures have been put in place for those attending performances at the NT. These include staggered arrival times, paperless tickets, pre-ordered drinks, enhanced cleaning, and sanitisation stations throughout the theatre. Tickets are available to be purchased as single tickets, as pairs or in threes or fours for audiences to attend with others from their social bubbles. Face coverings will be required at all times, aside from when audience members are eating or drinking. Full information on the safety measures for audiences can be found here.

Further information, including performance dates for Dick Whittingtonwill be released at a later date. Tickets will go on sale in October.

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We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.