The National Theatre’s Olivier & Dorfman theatres to reopen in June 2021 with ‘Under Milk Wood’ & ‘After Life’

The National Theatre has today announced plans to reopen this June with two new productions in its Olivier and Dorfman theatres, welcoming audiences back to the South Bank for the first time since closing last December.



The Olivier theatre will reopen on 16 June 2021 with Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas, with additional material by Siân Owen, and directed by NT Associate Lyndsey Turner.

Michael Sheen leads the acting company which includes Susan Brown, Ifan Huw Dafydd, Alan David, Michael Elwyn, Kezrena James, Karl Johnson, Gaynor Morgan Rees, Anthony O’Donnell, Siân Phillips and Cleo Sylvestre.

Under Milk Wood will have set and costume design by Merle Hensel, lighting design by Tim Lutkin, movement by Imogen Knight, songs composed by Edward-Rhys Harry, and sound design and additional compositions by Donato WhartonTom Bellerby is staff director.

The production will be performed in-the-round in the transformed Olivier theatre, and the theatre will remain in this configuration for further productions until early 2022.



The Dorfman theatre will reopen on 2 June 2021 for the first time since February 2020 with the previously announced co-production with Headlong, After Life, written by Jack Thorne and directed by Jeremy Herrin.

Based on the film by Hirokazu Kore-eda, with concept by Bunny Christie, Jeremy Herrin and Jack Thorne, After Life is a surreal and powerfully human look at the way we live our lives, asking who you would choose to live with for eternity. 

Initial casting includes Olatunji Ayofe, Danielle Henry, Maddie Holliday, Togo Igawa, Anoushka Lucas, Kevin McMonagle, Simon Startin, Luke Thallon, June Watson and Millicent Wong.

Set and costume design is by Bunny Christie, lighting design by Neil Austin, movement direction by Shelley Maxwell, video design by Max Spielbichler and sound design by Tom Gibbons. TD Moyo is staff director.   

Both productions will run until 24 July 2021, with socially-distanced seating for the entire run of the productions. Tickets go on sale to the public on 30 April.  

The Olivier theatre will have a capacity of approximately 500, whilst the Dorfman capacity will be 120. For Under Milk Wood over 200 tickets will be available at £20, whilst nearly half the house for After Life will be at £20. Tickets will be available to purchase as singles, pairs or in threes or fours and with social distancing measures in place. There will also be a number of Access performances for each production. Full information on these and how to book can be found here. 

Further programming, including information on the previously announced productions of The Normal Heart and Death of England: Delroy, will be announced at a later date.  

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