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‘Romeo & Juliet’ starring Josh O’Connor and Jessie Buckley to be filmed for television

The production was originally due to be performed at the National Theatre in summer 2020.

Photo credit: Josh O’ Connor and Jessie Buckley (Photo by Sebastian Nevols)

UPDATE: Romeo & Juliet will premiere for UK audiences on Easter Sunday, 4 Apr. 2021. More information can be found here.

Although performances of Romeo & Juliet were cancelled at the National Theatre earlier this year, there’s still a chance for audiences to see the production. The National Theatre has announced a filmed version of Romeo & Juliet starring Josh O’Connor and Jessie Buckley, recorded at the Lyttelton Theatre and set for a spring 2021 release.

Romeo & Juliet will be directed by National Theatre associate Simon Godwin, with the production now cut to a new 90-minute version to be shot over three weeks. Ahead of recording, Godwin said: “This has been a uniquely challenging time for the industry and so I have huge respect for Rufus [Norris] and the team for meeting this challenge with creativity and deciding to use the Lyttelton theatre in this way for filmed work; I think it’s a genius idea and I’m honoured to be able to create the first film. I think I speak for myself, the creative team and the cast when I say how delighted we are to be focusing all our creativity into this version of Romeo & Juliet once more. Some ideas are staying, lots of new ones are coming in - I’m very excited about this new genre, combining film and theatre, and bringing together the remarkable talents of those industries.”

Set in modern Italy, religious values will clash in this production of Romeo & Juliet. Josh O’Connor will play Romeo, whose credits include God’s Own Country and television series including Les Miserables and The Crown. Jessie Buckley will play Juliet, whose West End credits include A Little Night Music and Henry V opposite Jude Law.

As previously announced for the Olivier production, Fisayo Akinade will play Mercutio. Further casting includes Deborah Findlay as the Nurse, Tamsin Greig as Lady Capulet, Lucian Msamati as the Friar, Shubham Saraf as Benvolio, David Judge as Tybalt, Alex Mugnaioni as Paris and Ellis Howard as Sampson.

Rehearsals for Romeo & Juliet will begin in November at the National Theatre. Filming is expected to take place in December, with the premiere expected in early 2021. It will premiere on Sky Arts and PBS, in the UK and US respectively.

The National Theatre has reopened in London, with productions including Death of England: Delroy and the upcoming revival of The Normal Heart.

Photo credit: Josh O’ Connor and Jessie Buckley (Photo by Sebastian Nevols)

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