Adventures in Deltiology

Do people still send postcards these days…?

The National Theatre at 50.

On October 22nd 2013 the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain turned 50 years old. The date marks the opening of their first production at the Old Vic in 1963. Last weekend the theatre celebrated this milesteone with a special one-off event, 50 Years on Stage, which featured excerpts from some of the 800 or so productions they have produced, both at the Old Vic, and then, from 1976, at their home on London’s South Bank. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the event in person, which was also broadcast live on BBC2 television.

The NT Bookshop has reprinted some of its postcard stock, as well as publishing some new additions. You can pick up a postcard of each artistic director (Olivier, Hall, Eyre, Nunn and Hytner) as well as a varied selection of images from productions from the 1970s to the present, including their current cash cow, War Horse.

The three postcards pictured here are: Laurence Olivier at the Royal opening of the National on the South Bank (1976), photo by Nobby Clark (this was the only time that Olivier appeared on the stage of the theatre that bears his name); a fantastic, energetic time-lapse shot by Stephen Cummiskey of the NT at night, taken from Waterloo Bridge; a production still by Johan Persson of Anne-Marie Duff in the NT’s recent production of Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude. They have plain, undivided backs, with the National Theatre logo and credits. It’s not clear if this will be a new line for the bookshop, with stills from current productions being made available alongside more generic, timeless images, but the more they sell the more likely it is, so get yourself down there and pick up a few!

If you are out and about on the South Bank, or better still, if you’re seeing a show at the NT, why not pick up a postcard and let someone know what you thought – you could even send it back to the NT, they are currently collecting audience memories at YourNT.

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