Phil Willmott

Mark the 400 Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death at The National Theatre

Shakespeare 400 The National Theatre is one of a number of theatre’s marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death next month.

As befitting the London’s most prestigious venue there offering is particularly interesting, coordinated for the Shakespeare400 Partnership, by King's College London.

The most eye-popping event will be a screening of Lawrence Olivier's HENRY V which will be screened at the NT's Flytower on 22 April and will feature the film which earned Olivier a special Academy Award for outstanding achievement as actor, producer and director.

UK theatre’s never been short of Hamlets, great and not so great, interpretations of that most coveted of leading roles. So it’s apt that celebrations kick off with an exhibition on the subject, opening on 18 April at the Lyttelton Lounge.

5 HAMLETS will feature recordings, props, designs and costumes from five of the NT's productions of Hamlet, which include lead performances from Peter O'Toole, Albert Finney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Simon Russell Beale and Rory Kinnear.

Clare Higgins, who played Gertrude in HAMLET in 2010, will be among the guest speakers exploring how family and gender is explored in Shakespeare's plays. Lenny Henry will then lead THE WEB OF OUR LIFE: SHAKESPEARE AND MIGRATION. Alongside George Alagiah, BBC journalist and author of A HOME FROM HOME, the actor will discuss how migration and exile is explored in THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, and its relevance today. Finally THE WEB OF OUR LIFE: SHAKESPEARE AND OLD AGE will feature Simon Russell Beale discussing how memory and ageing is explored in KING LEAR, alongside Simon Lovestone, Professor of Translational Neuroscience and Dementia Research at the University of Oxford.

On 22 April, the Clore Learning Centre and Lyttelton Theatre will host a second selection of talks; THE BEGINNINGS which explores the journey through the early history to bring a National Theatre to Britain and what the new NT was to become, THE 20TH CENTURY which explores a series of landmark productions at the NT and features some of the NT's archive material such as photographs, correspondence and designs and THE 21ST CENTURY with former artistic director Nicholas Hytner to discuss his contribution to the history of Shakespeare at this venue.

WRITER FOR TODAY will be the last of the talks with a discussion on how the idea of Shakespeare as our contemporary has been absorbed into our culture and the impact it has on modern productions. Guests will include Dominic Cooke and Ben Power.