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NT Talks

Welcome to our collection of conversations recorded live from the National Theatre stages, including interviews with actors, directors and playwrights.

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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Tony Kushner on Angels in America

The writer discusses his play, Angels in America. Chaired by Ola Animashawun.

28mins

13 Jul 2017

Rank #1

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Andrew Garfield and Denise Gough on Angels in America

The actors Andrew Garfield and Denise Gough discuss their experience of performing in Angels in America. Chaired by Kate Bassett.

58mins

4 Jul 2017

Rank #2

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Ivo van Hove and Patrick Marber on Hedda Gabler

Director Ivo van Hove and writer Patrick Marber discuss this new version of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler with Kirsty Wark.

23mins

8 Feb 2017

Rank #3

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Ruth Wilson on Hedda Gabler

The actor reflects on the challenges and rewards of playing the title role in Hedda Gabler.

32mins

21 Feb 2017

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

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Judi Dench at the National Theatre

Judi Dench joins Angus MacKechnie on the Lyttelton stage to discuss her career and share memorable moments from her performances at the National Theatre.

28mins

2 Jan 2015

Rank #5

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Alexander Technique in the Theatre

As her memoir, Touching Lives, is published, Sue Laurie reflects on thirty years of learning, training and teaching the Alexander Technique – an integral part of the inner workings of the National Theatre and RSC. She talks about the huge impact that Alexander Technique has on voice, body and mind for actors, directors and puppeteers, and her own indomitable passion for theatre with actor Michelle Terry (NT: Cleansed, London Assurance) and director Ian Rickson (NT: Evening at the Talk House, The Red Lion), who calls her work ‘invaluable during rehearsal… almost imperceptible yet with palpable results’.

25mins

17 Oct 2016

Rank #6

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A Conversation with Peter Brook

Join legendary theatre-maker Peter Brook (‘our greatest living director’, Independent) as he speaks to Mark Lawson to discuss his new book Playing by Ear: Reflections on Music and Sound, which explores the role of music in the theatre and revisits some of the best-known productions from his long and distinguished career.

28mins

10 Jan 2020

Rank #7

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Shakespeare: The 21st Century

The former Director of the National Theatre talks to Abigail Rokison-Woodall about his enormous contribution to the history of Shakespeare at the NT. In her forthcoming new book, Shakespeare in the Theatre: Nicholas Hytner, she looks at his career through his Shakespeare productions as a whole, including those of Henry V, Much Ado about Nothing, Timon of Athens and Othello at the National.

50mins

27 Apr 2016

Rank #8

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Arthur Miller reads from his log of Death of a Salesman in Beijing

Arthur Miller's plays, The Crucible, All My Sons, A View from the Bridge and Death of a Salesman, have been embraced all around the world. His work embodies the public issues of his day, translating them into terms of the private conscience. In this audio podcast from 1984 Arthur Miller reads from his log of Death of a Salesman in Beijing to a live audience at the National Theatre. This has been taken from the National Theatre Archive.

47mins

13 Aug 2012

Rank #9

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Nathan Lane and Russell Tovey on Angels in America

The actors reflect on the challenges and rewards of performing in Angels in America. Chaired by Matt Wolf.

44mins

8 Aug 2017

Rank #10

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Another World: Islamic State Discussion (part 3/3)

The last of a series of discussions on the issues raised by the play, Another World.

36mins

9 May 2016

Rank #11

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Director Simon Godwin and Writer Simon Woods on Hansard

Director Simon Godwin (Antony & Cleopatra, Man + Superman) and writer Simon Woods reflect on their new production of Hansard

22mins

20 Dec 2019

Rank #12

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The Future of Musical Theatre

A conversation exploring recent influences and shifts in writing for musical theatre, and looking forward to the future of the genre. Speakers include Anthony Drewe, Victoria Saxton and Sevan Tavoukdijan, chaired by Adam Lenson.

43mins

7 Mar 2018

Rank #13

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Shakespeare's England in 1606 with James Shapiro

1606, while a very good year for Shakespeare (he wrote Macbeth, King Lear and Antony and Cleopatra), was a fraught one for England. The plague had returned. There was resistance to the new king's desire to turn England and Scotland into a united Britain. Fear and uncertainty across the land exposed deep divisions in the aftermath of a failed terrorist attack that came to be known as the Gunpowder Plot. Join James Shapiro to explore how Shakespeare’s plays responded to the tumultuous events of 1606. James Shapiro, who teaches English at Columbia University in New York, is author of several books, including 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (winner of the BBC4 Samuel Johnson Prize in 2006), 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear, as well as Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? He also serves on the Board of the Royal Shakespeare Company. This talk will be chaired by Mark Lawson.

32mins

7 Mar 2018

Rank #14

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Rory Kinnear - Talking Shakespeare

Rory Kinnear talks to Matt Wolf about his approach to playing the historic part of Hamlet in Nicholas Hytner's production and of the process behind creating his version of the role. This is a Platform event from January 2011.

30mins

14 Aug 2012

Rank #15

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Lear and Rosalind

The timeless Shakespearean characters of Lear and Rosalind are given a voice through the different and unorthodox approach of their biographers, in two newly-published books. Michael Pennington, who played King Lear in New York and is currently touring the UK, takes us on a journey through the play from the point of view of Lear himself, commenting on its motives and themes in Lear’s own words, in King Lear in Brooklyn. Angela Thirlwell explores the fictitious life and the many after-lives of Shakespeare’s progressive heroine Rosalind, and her perennial influence on drama, fiction and art, using interviews with actors and directors in Rosalind: A Biography of Shakespeare’s Immortal Heroine.

34mins

31 May 2016

Rank #16

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Shakespeare: Writer for Today

From the new series of the BBC's The Hollow Crown, director Dominic Cooke and writer Ben Power discuss their approach to filming Shakespeare's work for the screen.

15mins

27 Apr 2016

Rank #17

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Ralph Fiennes on Man and Superman

The actor talks about the challenges and rewards of playing Jack Tanner in Man and Superman. Chaired by Joan Bakewell.

31mins

28 May 2015

Rank #18

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Shakespeare and Old Age: Simon Russell Beale

Simon Russell Beale and Simon Lovestone look at how memory and ageing are explored in Shakespeare’s play, King Lear, and discuss how the situations experienced by the characters might be mirrored today. Part of the Shakespeare400 Partnership, coordinated by King’s College London.

42mins

26 Apr 2016

Rank #19

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Marianne Elliott on Angels in America

The Director talks about her production of Angels in America, chaired by Susannah Clapp.

23mins

13 Jul 2017

Rank #20