Here’s everything you need to know about the National Theatre’s education offering including a round-up of how to watch their productions through the National Theatre Collection and the links to all of 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 Collection, their accompanying downloadable education packs and educational videos.
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.
- Education Packs
- Educational Videos
- Free Online Productions
- Free Online Course
- Free Online Exhibitions
- Teaching Resources
Suitable for: KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4 & KS5
Subject links: Dance, Drama, English, Music & PE
- The National Theatre Collection
- National Theatre’s Free Teaching Resources
- National Theatre Online exhibitions
The National Theatre Collection
The National Theatre Collection has 29 productions you can stream into your classroom including Shakespeare, Greek Theatre, Comedies, European Classics, American Classics, Adaptations of Novels and New Writing. Titles include hit productions from the National Theatre as well as the Young Vic, Donmar Warehouse and the Bridge Theatre.
Shows are also accompanied by supporting teaching resources, rehearsal insights and short films. All to help you connect the production with the curriculum and aid students’ understanding of play texts, including the theatre-making process.
Productions available on the National Theatre Collection:
- A Streetcar Named Desire (Young Vic)
- Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Young Vic)
- Coriolanus (Donmar Warehouse)
- Jane Eyre
- Julius Caesar (Bridge Theatre)
- King Lear (Donmar Warehouse)
- Les Blancs
- London Assurance
- One Man, Two Guvnors
- 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)
- Treasure Island
- Twelfth Night
- Yerma (Young Vic)
How to sign-up to the National Theatre Collection
The National Theatre Collection is available for free for all UK state schools and currently available as a free trial to 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.
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 available, after which point the Collection is available on subscription and as a one-time purchase.
In-school & remote access
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.
National Theatre’s Free Teaching Resources
The National Theatre’s free teaching resources, educational videos and projects are all available to download and use 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.
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.
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.
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.
Round-up of opportunities for Primary Schools
The National Theatre Primary Programme works with local primary schools across Greater London and schools across the UK, offering a range of projects for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 classes throughout the year. The programme offers many opportunities for enrichment with a focus on creativity across the whole primary curriculum.
Primary schools can get access to:
- Let’s Play
- Primary Theatre: Hamlet
- Make Theatre Days
- Primary Resources
Round-up of opportunities for Secondary Schools
The National Theatre works with teachers and schools across the UK to open access to the arts, encourage young people’s creative ownership and sharing insights into the National Theatre’s backstage and on-stage work.
Secondary schools can get access to:
- NT Collection
- New Views
- Secondary & Further Education Resources
- Teacher CPD
National Theatre Online exhibitions
The National Theatre has brought their exhibitions online, and available for you to access for free. Here you can browse through past productions, theatrical techniques and learn more about the history of the National Theatre.
Costume at the National Theatre
This exhibit explores the work of that department and the skills that go into making the world of a play.
Staging Children’s Stories
This exhibit shines a spotlight on theatre created for children and their families, exploring how children’s stories have been adapted and produced at the National Theatre since 1980.
Shakespeare at the National Theatre
This exhibit tells the story of Shakespeare at the National Theatre through eight landmark productions.
Black Plays at the National Theatre
This exhibit tells the story of how black writers and directors have used theatre to explore issues at the heart of society, establishing themselves as a vital part of the National Theatre’s repertoire.
Greek Tragedy at the National Theatre
This exhibit explores how the challenges of staging Greek tragedy have been met on the National Theatre’s stages through four themes; performance space, setting, chorus, and masks.
Bright Young Tings
A photographic exhibition from the National Theatre Archive’s Michael Mayhew Collection is a rare snapshot of the work developed by black theatre practitioners between 1979 and 1982.
An Architectural History of the National Theatre
This exhibit tells the story of the architects who tried to build the National Theatre, before Denys Lasdun’s landmark three-auditorium complex was finally opened in 1976.
From watching a production on the National Theatre Collection to their free courses for young people, the National Theatre offers a wealth of opportunities to still connect with this world-class theatre.
They offer resources suitable for all ages and most of what they offer can be accessed by everyone for free.
For more information on National Theatre’s Education Offering, see their Learning Page.
Take a virtual school trip!
See our complete guide of 40 Virtual School Trip Ideas You Can Do For Free. The list features virtual school trips broken down by subject, Key Stage and opportunities.
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.