National Theatre releases first-look image of Josh O’Connor and Jessie Buckley in Romeo & Juliet

A first-look image has today been released for the National Theatre’s Romeo & Juliet, a feature film for broadcast on Sky Arts and PBS this April. The image features Romeo, played by Josh O’Connor (The Crown, God’s Own Country) and Juliet, played by Jessie Buckley (Chernobyl, Judy), as they meet by moonlight at Juliet’s balcony. The image was taken during filming at the National Theatre.  

The NT also announces today that Olivier Award winner Adrian Lester (Life, Undercover) will play the Prince in the film. Also joining the cast is Lloyd Hutchinson as Lord Capulet, Colin Tierney as Lord Montague and Ella Dacres as Peta. As previously announced, the cast includes Fisayo Akinade as Mercutio, 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. 

Directed by Simon Godwin (Twelfth Night, Antony and Cleopatra), Romeo & Juliet has been reconceived for the screen and this new 90-minute version was filmed over three weeks in the NT’s Lyttelton theatre. It was adapted for screen by Emily Burns.  

Filming took place in December under the COVID-19 safe working filming guidance and code of practices.  

The premiere is today confirmed as Easter Sunday 4 April at 9pm on Sky Arts in the UK and Friday 23 April 9pm on PBS in the US. Sky Arts is free-to-air and available for everyone in the UK on Freeview channel 11.  

Learning resources and digital content are also being produced by the NT for young people to explore the production of Romeo & Juliet and its creation, as well as an in-depth programme with schools across the UK as part of the NT’s Theatre Nation Partnerships initiative. Further details to be announced. To find out more about the NT’s digital learning resources, click here

Uniting key talent from both theatre and film, the Director of Photography is Tim Sidell (I Hate Suzie), with production and costume design by Soutra Gilmour, movement direction by Jonathan Goddard and Shelley Maxwell, fight direction by Kate Waters and composition by Michael Bruce.  

Produced by David Sabel, who created the National Theatre Live programme at the NT, at Sabel Productions. Executive Producers are Rufus Norris, Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre; Dixie Linder, Cuba Pictures (London Road, McMafia); David Horn, Great Performances; Christine Schwarzman & Darren Johnston, No Guarantees; and Philip Edgar Jones, Sky Arts.  

Romeo & Juliet is a 1 x 90’ film, presented by Sky Arts, PBS and No Guarantees, produced by the National Theatre, in association with Sabel Productions and Cuba Pictures. 

Filming of Romeo & Juliet in the Lyttelton theatre has been made possible thanks to the generosity of Graham and Joanna Barker, and Leila Maw Straus.