National Theatre partners with Bloomsbury, ProQuest to launch digital service

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

London’s National Theatre has launched a new digital service called the National Theatre Collection in partnership with Bloomsbury Publishing and ProQuest.

The new service draws on 10 years of NT Live broadcasts, alongside high quality archive recordings never previously seen outside of the NT’s Archive. 

The National Theatre Collection will make the best of British theatre available to libraries, schools, universities and the education sector around the world.

Moreover, the NT Collection will be available through Bloomsbury’s award-winning digital library Drama Online and renowned EdTech leader ProQuest. 

Transforming education

It will transform the current landscape of theatre studies and digital learning by connecting students, researchers and teachers across the globe to world-class productions, archive materials and learning resources. 

Additionally, the National Theatre Collection will be available via two models: a one-time payment for the full collection, or via an annual subscription. 

The National Theatre Collection will go live in September with 15 plays, growing to 30 titles by March 2020, and will feature a wide range of works regularly studied at secondary/high school and degree level. 

Unique in its scope, the collection will encompass:

  • Greek classics such as Medea by Euripides, in a contemporary adaptation by Ben Power, directed by Carrie Cracknell with Helen McCrory in the title role
  • Vibrant modern stagings of Shakespeare, such as Twelfth Night, directed by Simon Godwin, with Tamsin Greig in the role of ‘Malvolia’
  • 20th century classics such as Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs and the Young Vic’s production of Lorca’s Yerma, adapted and directed by Simon Stone with Billie Piper in the title role
  • Literary adaptations, such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein adapted by Nick Dear and directed by Danny Boyle, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller
  • Comedies such as She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith, directed by Jamie Lloyd with a cast including Cush Jumbo and Katherine Kelly and One Man, Two Guvnors by Richard Bean, directed by Nicholas Hytner, and featuring James Corden's Tony Award-winning performance alongside many more

In addition, UK schools will now be able to access a greater range of productions through the National Theatre Schools Collection on Drama Online. 

The productions available as part of the Schools Collection will complement the curriculum and be free for UK state-funded schools to access, together with learning resources, ensuring access to the arts as part of a rich and broad education for young people.  

“We are delighted to launch National Theatre Collection today in partnerships with Bloomsbury and ProQuest”, said Lisa Burger, Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre. 

“This new service will provide a comprehensive insight into British theatre-making and aims to transform learning in schools, libraries and universities across the globe in today’s increasingly digital age. 

Accessibility important

“We believe that accessibility to theatre is of paramount importance and by expanding our offer internationally, we are able to maintain our free streaming service to state schools across the UK, ensuring that drama remains an integral part of a broad education. 

“We would like to express our continued gratitude to the rights-holders of these materials who have made this new service possible and helped us to share a rich and broad collection across the globe”.

Jenny Ridout, Global Head of Academic Publishing, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC said: “It is exciting to be taking our longstanding publishing relationship with the National Theatre forward in this landmark digital collaboration. 

“The National Theatre Collection on our educational platform Drama Online will give students and scholars the world over the opportunity to study and enjoy a wealth of theatre productions alongside the playtexts and works of scholarship in one expertly curated digital space. 

“This new partnership will ensure that world-class theatre has a lasting impact, inspiring the theatre makers and performers of the future. 

“We are also delighted to be working with the NT in delivering their wider educational mission, supporting The National Theatre Schools Collection, which will ensure all UK state school pupils have free access to the work of their national theatre”. 

Katie Birch, Director of Product Management at ProQuest said,: “ProQuest is thrilled to partner with the National Theatre to help scholars everywhere access an incomparable wealth of diverse content. 

“Many students are simply not able to invest the time and funds into traveling to see the National Theatre’s world-class productions. 

“This new collaboration creates unprecedented opportunities for research, teaching and learning in the performing arts, all with the power of streaming video and primary sources.”

The National Theatre Collection is supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Fondation Hoffmann, the Sidney E. Frank Foundation and The Attwood Education Foundation. 

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