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National Theatre - Free Exhibitions

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

AS WELL as the permanent exhibition Stage by Stage, the National Theatre hosts a changing programme of exhibitions throughout the year. Five are planned for the coming months.

cheka kidogo – a photography exhibition by Rankin – October 20 to December 21, 2008.

It means ‘laugh a little’ in Swahili. And surprisingly people still are, despite living in the midst of one of the world’s deadliest civil wars, which has already killed more than five million people, and made one million homeless. Portrait photographer Rankin travelled with Oxfam to a refugee camp in the Eastern Congo, the heart of this generally unreported conflict. The result is a stunning series of pictures, capturing the resilience and fatalism of those living there.

Take a View – Landscape Photographer of the Year 2008 – November 17, 2008 to January 17, 2009.

Now in its second year, this annual award to find the UK’s Landscape Photographer of the Year received thousands of entries, highlighting the very best of our varied country. And it’s the winning images that are featured in the exhibition.

And in Seeing Landscapes, renowned landscape photographer, Charlie Waite, will give four talks – at 11.30am on December 8 and December 9, 2008 and January 5 and January 6, 2009. Tickets cost £5 and are available from the National Theare Box Office.

Dazzle – November 17, 2008 to January 10, 2009.

Dazzle, a Christmas present-buying paradise, returns to the Olivier foyer with an exciting mix of contemporary jewellery designers, metalsmiths and wall-hung work – including embroideries and handmade mirrors. This year, 80 exhibitors show over 3,000 pieces of work and all are for sale.

For more information visit the Dazzle Exhibitions website.

Rae Smith: The War Horse Drawings – from January 19, 2009.

Designer Rae Smith’s drawings provide the epic backdrop to the National’s dramatic staging of War Horse. Beginning with evocations of the lost rural idyll of Devon in 1911, they take the audience on a journey to a very different kind of landscape – the terrifying world of the French trenches, seen through the eyes of a traumatised and terrified soldier. This exhibition offers an intimate insight into the artistic process behind one of the most spectacular shows the National has ever staged.

Ashington Group: The Pitmen Painters – from January 23, 2009.

Following the success of Lee Hall’s Pitmen Painters and to accompany its revival in the Lyttelton, this exhibition also returns. Painting, drawings and sculpture by Oliver Kilbourn and other members of this unique body of artists will be on display.