Bringing the Turbulent Tale of the Theater Up to Date
In this second program, the last forty years of the National Theatre is chronicled, beginning with the turbulent Peter Hall years and culminating in the present day, with the move into cinema screening. Hall comes across as rather an abrasive character; a workaholic who entered the National at a time when many of the company - both actors and backroom staff alike - resented the way in which Olivier had been summarily removed from his post as Director. Hall instituted a new director-centered regime, but did so during a period of regular strikes, as well as major upheaval caused by the Company's move to the South Bank. Eventually he weathered the storm, but not without a few of the National's directors deciding to leave the Company and not come back. The Nunn and Hytner years proved less controversial; more recently the National has become something of an innovative institution, screening many of its productions in the cinema as well as performing them in the theater. While perhaps the company lacks the big star names that it once had, it nonetheless continues to produce high-quality work, while remaining true to its founding principles of producing the best drama old and new from Britain and elsewhere. One hopes that the Company will continue to do the same for the next five decades.
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