The National Theatre is creating a new filmed version of Romeo & Juliet for television, temporarily transforming the vast stage spaces of its Lyttelton theatre into a film studio to capture Shakespeare’s timeless play for a new generation of audiences.
This will be the first time an original production for screen has been created in its South Bank home.
Romeo & Juliet will star Jessie Buckley (Chernobyl, Judy) and Josh O’Connor (God’s Own Country, The Crown) as the star-crossed lovers.
Romeo & Juliet was originally to have played to theatre audiences in the NT’s Olivier auditorium from Summer 2020. Reconceived for the screen, this new 90-minute version will be shot over three weeks with a collaborative team of theatre and film experts, embracing the architecture of the theatre space in telling the story.
It will premiere in the spring of 2021 on Sky Arts and PBS, in the UK and US respectively.
Fisayo Akinade (The Antipodes, Barber Shop Chronicles) will play Mercutio. Also joining the cast is Deborah Findlay (Coriolanus, The Split) in the role of the Nurse, Tamsin Greig (Twelfth Night, Talking Heads) as Lady Capulet, Lucian Msamati (Master Harold…and the boys, His Dark Materials) as the Friar, Shubham Saraf (A Suitable Boy) as Benvolio, David Judge (My Brilliant Friend) as Tybalt, Alex Mugnaioni (The Visit) as Paris and Ellis Howard (Catherine the Great) as Sampson.
Set in modern Italy in a world where Catholic and secular values clash, two young lovers strive to transcend a world of violence and corruption.
Photo: Seb Nevols