Following last week’s announcement that War Horse is to be the first show at the National Theatre to give performances on a Sunday, the venue’s Director Nicholas Hytner has confirmed that other productions in the autumn season will follow suit.
The Akram Khan and Juliette Binoche collaboration In-I, Jonathan Kent’s production of Oedipus starring Ralph Fiennes and DV8’s To Be Straight With You will all schedule performances on a Sunday.
“It’s long been our ambition to open the National on Sundays, joining all our neighbours on the South Bank who open their doors throughout the weekend,” said Hytner. “This is excellent news for audiences, particularly those who find it difficult to come here during the traditional working week. We are immensely grateful to our NT company of staff and actors, and to the theatre unions Equity, BECTU and the MU, whose co-operation has been vital in enabling us to take this important step.”
Sunday scheduling at the National sets the venue apart from the West End, where the majority of theatres are closed on a Sunday. However, a shift in scheduling traditions is appearing; long-runner Stomp has recently joined The Lion King in incorporating Sunday performances into its regular schedule, new show Dickens Unplugged has opened with a Sunday schedule at the Comedy, while stage show Brief Encounter has retained the Sunday opening of the former cinema in which it is housed.
Sunday performances at the National begin on 21 September with War Horse, last year’s hit family show which returns for a second run. Nick Stafford’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s novel uses innovative design to create life-sized horse puppets, which won designers Rae Smith and the Handspring Puppet Company the Best Set Design 2008 Laurence Olivier Award.