UK’s National Theatre To Set Up Shop in New York

The United Kingdom’s National Theatre has enjoyed significant success in recent years with transfers of its hit London shows to Broadway.  Notable recent examples include the still-running War Horse and the just-closed comedy One Man, Two Guvnors.  It seems that hardly a Broadway season goes by that doesn’t feature at least one production that has transferred to New York after winning acclaim on the other side of the pond.  These limited-run productions, which usually enjoy equal acclaim from NYC critics, give Broadway audiences an opportunity to see some of Britain’s most talented performers live.

To keep up with the demand, the National Theatre has decided to establish an office in New York.  Up to this point, the National has worked with producing partners here in New York to help facilitate the Broadway productions, but having a “home office” in the U.S. will make it easier for the NT to monitor its North American ventures.  National Theatre executive director Nick Starr said in a press statement, “Establishing this office will allow us to build on existing relationships with American theatre companies, and to continue to foster a theatrical dialogue involving artists from both sides of the Atlantic.”

Despite the fact that the National Theatre was established for British citizens and receives funding from their taxes, it has become an international phenomenon.  Not only through its transfers to Broadway and other countries, but also through the success of its National Theatre Live broadcasts, in which London performances from the National stage are beamed to movie theaters around the globe.

War Horse Launches U.S. Tour

War Horse, the theatrical sensation currently playing in London’s West End, on Broadway in New York, and in Toronto, is finally going out on the road. The North American tour of War Horse has begun with an engagement at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, where it will play until July 29. After the L.A. stop, War Horse will march on to numerous stops across the U.S., including San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta, Boston, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, and Minneapolis. A number of smaller cities, such as East Lansing, Tempe, Spokane, Fayetteville, and Appleton are also on the docket.

Based on the Michael Morpurgo novel (adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford), War Horse started as a huge hit for the National Theatre in London, going on to enjoy a successful Tony Award-winning production on Broadway at the Lincoln Center Theater.  In addition to the power of its World War I-era tale of a boy and his beloved horse, War Horse‘s main draw has been the phenomenal life-size (and life-like) puppets created by the Handspring Puppet Company.

This past Christmas, director Steven Spielberg brought the story to a global movie-going audience with his adaptation of War Horse.  The film — which of course used real horses — was well-received and earned a Best Picture Oscar nomination, but the stage adaptation still offers a uniquely theatrical experience that is likely to draw large audiences as it makes its way across the country.