The National Theatre seems to be a buzz with all sorts of goings on at the moment. As you’ll see from previous posts I’ve been to many of it’s productions this year and have enjoyed them all. It’s also been great to sit outside this summer in their deck chairs or if you’re lucky their funky giant green furniture;
I was pleased to see that The National has had a 45% rise in attendance at productions for 2009/2010. The success of War Horse is a major contributer to this, but the Sunday performances have also been a significant success. In fact two of the productions I’ve been to this year have been Sunday matinees. As to me it’s a really convenient time to go to the theatre. The Stage reports that “NT-produced shows in the capital achieved audiences of 1.2 million – or 90% capacity. As a result the report states, the National accounted for a third of all play-going across London theatre as a whole.” This is a phenomenal acheivement and I congratulate all those involved, it’s great that we have such a beacon of theatrical excellence/innovation and success as The NT.
I also read this week that the NT is in the early stages of discussions with other London theatres about sharing it’s services, in the tough economic climate, especially as the dreaded spending revue is going to occur shortly, I think that it is wonderful that London theatres are being proactive and looking at ways of working together to ensure that this important part of the British (and especially the London) economy can continue to do it’s important work. It’s encouraging that the NT realises its responsiblity to other smaller venues in London and I hope this will help them in the tought times that are ahead. More so I hope that it leads to artistic growth and co-operation.
As you can no doubt realise, I’m a great supporter of the NT, I think it’s vital that we have a National theatre, and that it sets a standard for excellence and innovation. So I’m even more excited that it’s going to have a £70 million refurbishment between now and 2014. It’s going to be totally overhauled both internally/externally and backstage. The fundraising for this is going to begin in earnest now and I trust they meet their targets despite the financial climate and I encourage any of you to contribute as and how you can.
I’m next going to the NT in November to see a couple of their “Platforms”, one with William Gaskill (he’s being joined by Max Stafford-Clark too) looking at bringing the text to life. The other is entitled “Can we talk about this?” and is being led by DV8 and is about freedom of speech / offence. You know where to come to read a review about them!