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Thursday night could become National Theatre night, as the company announced plans to broadcast some of its most popular productions for free during the lockdown.

The new two-month National Theatre at Home programme will begin with One Man, Two Guvnors, the Richard Bean comedy starring James Corden, on Thursday 2 April. The films will be shown at 7pm every Thursday to try to recreate, where possible, the communal viewing experience.

The shows will be available to watch on National Theatre's YouTube channel and will then be available on demand for seven days after they are first posted.

Lisa Burger, the executive director and joint chief executive of the National Theatre, said writers, actors and directors had all waived their rights to the productions.

“Everyone has said yes. Please. Let’s get it out to people,” she said. “It has taken a bit of negotiation and management but the outpouring from the industry has been fantastic.”

One Man, Two Guvnors, directed by Nicholas Hytner, is Bean’s 2011 adaptation of Carlo Goldoni’s 1746 comedy and a brilliant vehicle for Corden’s stage comedy skills. The Guardian’s Michael Billington, giving it five stars, wrote: “The result, a kind of Carry On Carlo, is one of the funniest productions in the National’s history.”

That will be followed by Sally Cookson’s adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, a production that began at Bristol Old Vic; Bryony Lavery’s adaptation of Treasure Island which was the National’s Christmas show in 2014; and the 2017 Twelfth Night, which starred Tamsin Greig as Malvolio. More titles are still to be announced.

The shows will also have accompanying contact, which includes Q&As with casts and creatives and post-show talks.

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