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The National Theatre Podcast

If all the world’s a stage, we’re the programme notes. The National Theatre Podcast explores how theatre connects to the big issues of our time: sex, death, politics, and everything in between. We take you behind the scenes to investigate the artists and the ideas behind some of today’s most interesting productions, and go out into the world to find theatre at play in our everyday lives. It’s a show about theatre, without the drama.

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3. Performing Gender

Dame Harriet Walter has performed some of Shakespeare’s most iconic male roles – she tells us what it taught her about gender and power, and how it made her a better actor. We speak to body language expert India Ford to analyse how our female politicians represent themselves as powerful women, and we talk about breaking down gender barriers with drag queen John Sizzle. Power! Sex! High heels! We’ve got it all.

40mins

15 Jun 2017

Rank #1

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5. Masculinity

‘Moonlight’ writer Tarell Alvin McCraney tells us how growing up in Liberty City, and discovering the drag ball scene, shaped his understanding of what it means to be a man. Poet and playwright Inua Ellams tells us why the barber shop is a safe space for black men to be themselves, and we ask a dressing room of male actors to share their stories of the many kinds of men they’ve been asked to be for their careers.

43mins

13 Jul 2017

Rank #2

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4. Old Lear

Simon Russell Beale and Don Warrington talk to us about playing one of the greatest roles of all time, to help us unpick the complex relationship between acting and ageing. Plus, we talk to theatre company Improbable about teaching actors in their 80s to improvise for the first time. Please note this episode contains strong language.

37mins

29 Jun 2017

Rank #3

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10. Epic Fail

We’ve all failed at something, but rarely on stage in front of hundreds of people. We ask our favourite guests to share their hilarious stories of on-stage mishaps and malfunctions, and professional embarrassment in its most public form. All to answer the simple question - how do we deal with failure? And why are we are so obsessed with it?

42mins

29 Sep 2017

Rank #4

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9. Edinburgh

It’s the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year, so we go on the road to Scotland to ask people from all over the country if it’s still the beating heart of new theatre-making. How has the Fringe shaped the last seven decades of UK culture, and has it become a victim of its own success?

39mins

7 Sep 2017

Rank #5