After many years of effort, the National Theatre company began to operate at the Old Vic Theatre under the direction of Laurence Olivier in 1963, with his production of Hamlet. Other Shakespeare productions have included Othello (1964) and The Merchant of Venice (1970), both with Olivier. Peter Hall took over the directorship in 1973, and directed John Gielgud in The Tempest (1974) and Albert Finney in Hamlet (1975). The theatre's own buildings opened in 1976; Shakespeare productions there have included John Schlesinger's of Julius Caesar (1977) and Peter Hall's of Macbeth (1978) with Albert Finney, Othello (1980), with Paul Scofield, Coriolanus (1984), with Ian McKellen, and a season of late plays in 1988 directed by Peter Hall. It was renamed Royal National Theatre in 1988 when Richard Eyre took over as Artistic Director, since when notable Shakespeare productions include Richard III with Ian McKellen (1990), Deborah Warner's King Lear (1990) and Richard II with Fiona Shaw as Richard (1995), Robert Lepage's ‘mudbath’ A Midsummer Night's Dream (1992), Phyllida Lloyd's Pericles (1994), King Lear with Ian Holm, and Sam Mendes's Othello (both 1997). Trevor Nunn took over as Artistic Director in 1997, since when notable Shakespeare productions include Troilus and Cressida and Merchant of Venice (both 1999).
Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism.