National Theatre Platforms & Radio

In this lecture at the National Theatre's Cottesloe auditorium, Daniel Rosenthal explores unorthodox screen Shakespeare, from a gangster Macbeth to a newsroom Much Ado About Nothing.



Focusing on genre adaptations – films that retain Shakespeare’s plots and characters but replace his language with contemporary dialogue – he explored a wide range of screen treatments, contrasting the BBC’s Shakespeare Retold version of Much Ado About Nothing, set in a TV newsroom, with Kenneth Branagh’s more conventional 1993 film of the play (pictured below). He also looked at Joe Macbeth, the first of many gangster versions of the Scottish play, and Forbidden Planet, the sci-fi Tempest.

Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

Daniel regularly chairs Q&As with actors, directors and playwrights for the National Theatre. Previous Platforms have included Nicholas Hytner on Henry V, Mike Leigh on Two Thousand Years, Patrick Marber on Closer, Tom Stoppard on Shakespeare in Love and, for the NT's 50th anniversary in 2013, Simon Russell Beale and Brenda Blethyn.

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In this item from BBC Radio Four's Front Row arts programme, broadcast in December 2008, Daniel explores films about the staging of a Shakespeare play.

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What Teachers Say

"Daniel Rosenthal’s fascinating and wide-ranging lecture was a rich and lively talk, interspersed with clips from different versions of several plays, which gave credence to the vitality and relevance of Shakespeare in our time. His commentary on the transformation of the Shakespearean text by directors, cinematographers and actors convinced his audience of the power of the medium to communicate Shakespeare’s work to contemporary audiences. Enjoyable and thought-provoking, witty and engaging, this talk is suitable both for school and university students.”
Head of Sixth Form, Sevenoaks School

“We were all absolutely delighted with your Tempest session. It was well-informed, inspiring and thought-provoking; just the thing for just before the exam.”
JULIAN BELL, Head of English, The Godolphin and Latymer School, London.