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A Complete Guide to the National Theatre’s Free Teaching Resources & Free Performances

By Tom Sanderson
Last updated: September 2020
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The National Theatre offers a wealth of free online productions, teaching resources, educational videos, insights and activities. Here’s everything you need to know about their education offering. A round-up of how to watch their productions and how to access their National Theatre Collection and the National Theatre’s free teaching resources.

The National Theatre’s Free Teaching Resources – The Quick Overview

The National Theatre’s main offerings to schools include their new National Theatre At Home productions, the National Theatre Collection and their accompanying downloadable education packs.

All of the National Theatre’s opportunities are free for UK state schools (fee-paying schools pay to get access to the National Theatre Collection). The library of resources, activities, performances and teaching ideas are accessible for students of all ages and across a wide range of subjects.

Activities include:

  • Education Packs
  • Educational Videos
  • Free Online Productions
  • Free Online Course
  • Teaching Resources

Suitable for: KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4 & KS5
Subject links: Dance, Drama, English, Music & PE

Dates available:

  • National Theatre At Home – A new performance each Thursday for 1 week
  • National Theatre Collection – Ongoing
  • National Theatre Teaching Resources & Activities – Ongoing
National Theatre At Home

National Theatre At Home

National Theatre At Home is a way of seeing some of the NT’s famous work from the comfort of our homes, each Thursday from 7pm.

The series kicked off with their hit production of One Man, Two Guvnors. They continued with a range of productions including Jane Eyre, Treasure Island, Frankenstein, Barber Shop Chronicles and A Streetcar Named Desire.

Currently available is the Nottingham Playhouse production of Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George III. Small Island, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Les Blancs, The Deep Blue Sea and Amadeus has also been announced.

Learn more about National Theatre At Home.

National Theatre At Home A Midsummer Night's Dream image

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The Bridge Theatre’s immersive production of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy features Gwendoline Christie and Hammed Animashaun.

Teaching Resources: N/A
Running time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
Suitable for: KS3, KS4 & KS5 (the BBFC rating is 12A with infrequent strong language)
Dates available: until 2 July

Learn more about the National Theatre At Home production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

National Theatre At Home Les Blancs Image

Les Blancs

Yaël Farber directs the final play by Lorraine Hansberry: a brave, illuminating and powerful work that confronts the hope and tragedy of revolution.

Teaching Resources:

Running time: TBC
Suitable for: TBC
Dates available: 2 – 9 July

Learn more about the National Theatre At Home production of Les Blancs.

National Theatre At Home The Deep Blue Image

The Deep Blue Sea

Terence Rattigan’s devastating masterpiece contains one of the greatest female roles in contemporary drama, played by Helen McCrory.

Teaching Resources: TBC
Running time: TBC
Suitable for: TBC
Dates available: 9 – 16 July

Learn more about the National Theatre At Home production of The Deep Blue Sea.

National Theatre At Home Amadeus Image

Amadeus

Lucian Msamati plays Salieri in Peter Shaffer’s iconic play, directed by Michael Longhurst with live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia.

Teaching Resources: TBC
Running time: TBC
Suitable for: TBC
Dates available: 16 – 23 July

Learn more about the National Theatre At Home production of Amadeus.

ALSO SEE – 28 Shows You Can Watch Online For Free

National Theatre Collection

In addition to the weekly performances, UK state-funded schools have access to the National Theatre Collection. The Collection is the new service to replace National Theatre On Demand, which will end in July 2020.

From Shakespeare and Greek tragedy to contemporary literary adaptations, the Collection brings the best of British Theatre to all state-funded schools for free. Teachers get access to high-quality recordings of 30 world-class productions, plus a range of tailored learning resources supporting the primary and secondary curriculum. 

Productions are recorded live at the National Theatre and other leading venues giving students the best seats in the house whenever you want.

Productions are accompanied by supporting teaching resources, rehearsal insights and short films. Education packs and resources will aid students’ understanding of play texts and the theatre-making process.

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Productions available on the National Theatre Collection:

  • A Streetcar Named Desire (Young Vic)
  • Antigone
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Young Vic)
  • Consent
  • Coriolanus (Donmar Warehouse)
  • Dara
  • Frankenstein
  • Hamlet
  • Jane Eyre
  • Julius Caesar (Bridge Theatre)
  • King Lear (Donmar Warehouse)
  • Les Blancs
  • London Assurance
  • Macbeth
  • Medea
  • One Man, Two Guvnors
  • Othello
  • Peter Pan
  • Romeo and Juliet (adapted for younger audiences)
  • She Stoops to Conquer
  • Small Island
  • The Cherry Orchard
  • The Deep Blue Sea
  • The Winter’s Tale (adapted for younger audiences)
  • Translations
  • Treasure Island
  • Twelfth Night
  • Yerma (Young Vic)
  • wonder.land

Find out more about the National Theatre Collection.

How to sign-up to the National Theatre Collection

The National Theatre Collection is available for free for all UK state schools and currently has a free trial for all other educational institutions. 

UK State-Funded Schools.

You can easily sign-up to access the NT Collection via an online form on the JCS Online Resources website. Once verified, you will be provided with a username and password (one per school) to access the platform.

Sign up to the National Theatre Collection through JCS Online Resources.

Find out more about the National Theatre Collection for UK State Schools. 

All other Schools & Educational Institutions.

If you are a teacher at a fee-paying school or another type of educational institution, you can sign-up through the Bloomsbury Drama Online website.

There is a free trial until the end of June, after which point the Collection is available on subscription and as a one-time purchase.

Sign up to the National Theatre Collection through Bloomsbury Drama Online.

Find out more about the National Theatre Collection for fee-paying and other institutions.

The National Theatre Collection during the Coronavirus pandemic

During this unprecedented time, the National Theatre has opened up the license to the NT Collection. Teachers and students in UK state schools can access the platform from home for free. Students will be able to access all productions, plus accompanying learning resources and other educational content.

For UK fee-paying schools, there is a free trial of the platform that can be accessed until the end of June 2020.

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National Theatre’s Free Teaching Resources

Here’s everything you need to know about the National Theatre’s free teaching resources, educational videos and projects – all available for free!

National Theatre Education Packs

National Theatre education resource packs are available to download for free for parents, teachers and students.

The site has over 60 free teaching resources from past National Theatre productions including A Taste of Honey, Hedda Gabler, His Dark Materials, Translations and War Horse.

See all of the National Theatre’s Free Teaching Resources & Education Packs.

ALSO SEE – 20 Free Drama Teaching Resources, Lesson Plans & Teaching Ideas

ALSO SEE – 52 Free English Teaching Resources, Lesson Plans & Teaching Ideas

National Theatre Educational Videos

The National Theatre’s YouTube channel hosts a vast range of educational videos relating to their past productions. The channel also includes insights and explanation videos exploring Voice, Puppets, Devising and more.

See the National Theatre’s Educational Videos.

The National Theatre’s New Views Playwrighting Course.

New Views is the National Theatre’s free playwriting course for 14-19-year-olds.

This online course, written by playwright Jemma Kennedy, is accessible to young people, students and teachers, for free.

Schools can also sign up to an in-depth programme that includes CPD for teachers and in-school workshops with professional playwrights.

Find out more about the National Theatre’s New Views Playwriting Course.

National Theatre Podcasts & Interviews.

The National Theatre has a collection of interviews with actors, directors and playwrights that you and your students can access for free.

You can listen to interviews on your Podcast app, or watch their range of recorded talks on their YouTube channel.

Learn more about the National Theatre’s Podcasts & Interviews.

The National Theatre has further dedicated pages for Primary, Secondary and Further Education schools, plus a hub for family activities.

National Theatre Primary School page.

National Theatre Secondary School & Further Education College page.

National Theatre Families page.

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For more free resources, see our Complete Guide of Free Teaching Resources, Teaching Ideas & Educational Activities. The list features over 100 resources broken down by subject, Key Stage and opportunities.

See our full list of Free Teaching Resources & Teaching Ideas.

Also see…

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