National Theatre

Rufus Norris: Artistic director of the UK’s National Theatre

Taking Small Island, a new play about Caribbean migration, from page to stage
How is a script transformed into a staged play? The UK’s National Theatre is one of the world’s most prolific producing houses and its artistic director Rufus Norris might have the biggest job in British theatre: balancing its commercial success with the need to take a chance on a new play. His latest production, Small Island, is the first theatrical adaptation of the well-known novel by Andrea Levy about Caribbean migration. Set in the 1940s, it deals with the experiences of Jamaicans and Britons around the arrival of the Empire Windrush in London. 

Arts broadcaster and journalist Fiona Lindsay talks to Rufus Norris, as well as members of the cast and crew, to explore the technical and creative challenges of this epic production. With unique access to the rehearsal room, she takes us behind the scenes at the National Theatre to discover how a complex and much-loved story is brought to new life on stage

NT supports showing of Calais migrant play for Javid

Sajid Javid (centre)
Sajid Javid on a visit to Dover on 2 January

The National Theatre has offered to support a performance of a play about Calais refugees for Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Mr Javid was criticised for questioning whether people risking their lives crossing the English Channel are "genuine" refugees and defended his decision to declare the migrant crossings a "major incident".

He had been accused of "positioning for the forthcoming Tory leadership battle".

More than 200 migrants have arrived in the UK by boat since November and 543 attempts to cross the Channel were recorded in 2018.

Now, Good Chance Theatre, which has staged plays in the Calais Jungle refugee camp, has offered to host a performance of The Jungle for Mr Javid.

The Jungle is written by British playwrights Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson and depicts a grim year inside the camp. In a tweet, Good Chance Theatre said: "@SajidJavid We'd like to offer you & the @HomeOffice a special performance of TheJungleUS to #startaconversation about why people seek asylum, worsening conditions in Calais causing people to risk their lives & to try to better understand the human beings behind the headlines."

And the National Theatre's official Twitter account endorsed the message, writing: "We'd be thrilled to support this performance. TheJungleUS is such an important piece that brings to life the complex human stories behind asylum claims. #startaconversation."