News: The NT’s original film Romeo & Juliet, with Josh O’Connor and Jessie Buckley, to be screened in cinemas

The National Theatre today announces that its critically acclaimed original film Romeo & Juliet will be screened in cinemas for one night only on Tuesday 28 September. The film stars Josh O’Connor (The Crown, God’s Own Country) as Romeo and Jessie Buckley (Chernobyl, Judy) as Juliet, and will be available to screen across the UK and Ireland.

Directed by Simon Godwin (Twelfth Night, Antony and Cleopatra), this new 90-minute version was filmed in 17 days in the NT’s Lyttelton theatre in December while it was closed due the pandemic. It was adapted for screen by Emily Burns. The film premiered on television earlier this year on Sky Arts in the UK on 4 April and PBS in the US on 23 April. This is the first time the film will be available on the big screen.

Simon Godwin said: “When we came to make Romeo & Juliet as a film, we had always wanted it to succeed as well on screen as it ever would on stage. So it is the ultimate thrill for all the creatives involved that it is now having its chance to be seen on the big screen. Shakespeare, as Derek Jarman once said, would’ve loved cinema. I’m excited to imagine Shakespeare eating his popcorn watching his wonderful play lit up and brought to life on the big screen in such a dazzling way.”

Romeo and Juliet risk everything to be together. In defiance of their feuding families, they chase a future of joy and passion as violence erupts around them.

This bold new film brings to life the remarkable backstage spaces of the National Theatre in which desire, dreams and destiny collide to make Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy sing in an entirely new way.

The cast also includes Ella Dacres as Peta, Fisayo Akinade as Mercutio, Deborah Findlay as the Nurse, Tamsin Greig as Lady Capulet, Ellis Howard as Sampson, Lloyd Hutchinson as Lord Capulet, David Judge as Tybalt, Adrian Lester as the Prince, Alex Mugnaioni as Paris, Lucian Msamati as the Friar, Shubham Saraf as Benvolio and Colin Tierney as Lord Montague.

The Director of Photography is Tim Sidell (I Hate Suzie), with production and costume design by Soutra Gilmour, movement direction by Jonathan Goddard and Shelley Maxwell, fight direction by Kate Waters and original score by Michael Bruce.

The Romeo & Juliet soundtrack will also be released digitally worldwide on Friday 6 August.

Produced by David Sabel, who created the National Theatre Live programme at the NT, at Sabel Productions. Executive Producers are Rufus Norris, Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre; Dixie Linder, Cuba Pictures (London Road, McMafia); David Horn, Great Performances; Christine Schwarzman & Darren Johnston, No Guarantees; and Philip Edgar Jones, Sky Arts.

Romeo & Juliet is a 1 x 90’ film, presented by Sky Arts, PBS and No Guarantees, produced by the National Theatre, in association with Sabel Productions and Cuba Pictures.

Filming of Romeo & Juliet in the Lyttelton theatre was made possible thanks to the generosity of Graham and Joanna Barker, and Leila Maw Straus. With additional support from Monica Gerard-Sharp and Ali Wambold, and Shawn M. Donnelley and Christopher M. Kelly.

Romeo & Juliet will be screened in select cinemas on Tuesday 28 September. For more information and to find your nearest venue, please visit ntlive.com

Photo credit: Rob Youngson

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