A letter signed by more than 200 playwrights has called on the theatre – which has pledged to ensure 50% of its output is made up of female directors and living playwrights by 2021 – to “stop talking about it and starting programming us”. Presenter Sandi Toksvig added the venue stages “plays by boys, directed by boys, about boys”.

In response, joint National Theatre Chief Executives Rufus Norris and Lisa Burger accepted the new season “fell short” of representing the whole nation, but that an upcoming announcement will see the theatre’s largest stages “dominated by female voices”.