Daniel Rosenthal’s ‘THE NATIONAL THEATRE STORY’: The definitive history of the National Theatre, published to mark its 50th anniversary

The National Theatre Story


By Daniel Rosenthal

The definitive history of the National Theatre, published to mark its 50th anniversary.

In his gripping and meticulously researched volume, Daniel Rosenthal chronicles the political, architectural and artistic history of the National Theatre; starting with its nineteenth-century origins, through to Laurence Olivier’s hard-won 1963 inauguration at the Old Vic, up until the present day, with the imminent departure of Nicholas Hytner and the announcement of Rufus Norris as his successor.

Ten years in the writing, Rosenthal has interviewed over one hundred actors, directors, playwrights and producers; combine that with his unprecedented access to the National’s archives, including previously unpublished correspondence, and this becomes more than just a history, but a fascinating behind-the-scenes account of Britain’s most influential and successful theatre.

Rosenthal reveals dozens of previously unpublished stories; he includes day-by-day accounts of vicious industrial disputes; artistic, financial and political battles; on-stage triumphs and off-stage disasters.  He tells of the appointments of Peter Hall, Trevor Nunn, Richard Eyre and Nicholas Hytner in complicated succession contests for the post of Director, and how they in turn coped with myriad challenges, exploring their complex and often fraught relationships with playwrights, politicians, the media and sponsors.

Through the book’s pages stride many of the greatest actors, and dramatists of the last 50 years: Gielgud, Redgrave and Richardson; Dench, McKellen and Russell Beale; Frayn, Hare, Pinter, Shaffer and Stoppard; whilst Rosenthal recalls the premieres of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are DeadEquusAmadeusThe Romans In BritainThe Madness of George IIICloserThe History BoysWar Horse and One Man Two Guvnors, and also considers the greatest National Theatre productions never staged.

Beautifully bound and packed with previously unseen images, this is the enthralling story of Britain’s most iconic cultural institution.


Release Date: 25 November, 2013

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