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National Theatre

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About National Theatre

The National Theatre   The National Theatre, also known as the Royal National Theatre or simply NT, is located directly off the river Thames along the South Bank. One of the foremost theatre companies in the United Kingdom, the National Theatre was founded in 1963 after more than a century of campaigning British parliament for a national venue to represent the best of British theatre. The current building has stood on its site since 1977 and includes three separate theatres: the Olivier, the Lyttelton, and the Dorfman.   The large, multi-space venue includes several foyers and terraces that are open to the public, including bars, restaurants, and a bookshop selling dramatic literature and theatre-themed items and gifts. The National Theatre is also home to the Clore Learning Centre, which offers courses and events for anyone looking to learn more about the art of theatre-making. In addition to its regular season of plays, the company runs several auxiliary programmes including National Theatre Live – which broadcasts productions to cinemas and art venues globally – and annual festivals including the River Stage Festival that runs over the summer and the youth-oriented Connections Festival.
  • Fun Facts About the National Theatre
  • Sir Laurence Olivier was the first artistic director of the National Theatre. He led the company for the first ten years, from 1963–1973.
  • As far back as 1847, there was demand to erect a national theatre of England and several attempts were made over the century, including the Shakespeare National Theatre project in 1902 that was halted due to World War I.
  • The five-story “drum revolve” in the Olivier Theatre is the first mechanism of its kind for use in theatrical productions. The circular revolving stage is operated by a single stagehand and ensures full visibility from all seats in the auditorium.
Notable Shows and Performances: “Hamlet” starring Peter O’Toole was the first ever production at the National Theatre. The company has since produced the world premiere productions of “Amadeus” and “War Horse,” and the London premieres of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” and “Angels in America.”
London, SE1 9PX
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Transportation & Parking

Car Park – National Theatre basement, accessed from Upper Ground Opening times are 7am to 1am. The entrance ramp to the car park is at the South-West corner of the National Theatre, on Upper Ground, by Theatre Avenue (the road between the National Theatre and the British Film Institute).

Nearby Points of Interest