National Theatre guide
A guide to London's theatre institution, including reviews, what's on and ticket information
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The South Bank's modernist theatre emporium has shaken off its inaccessible repution in recent years, and now sells some of the hottest tickets in town. Find out what's on now, what to book ahead for and how to get to the venue.
About the National Theatre
The Royal National Theatre, or the National to its friends, started out in 1963 with a publicly funded production of 'Hamlet'. Its home was the Old Vic until the Olivier theatre was finished in 1976.
The National Theatre comprises three auditoriums; the Olivier, Lyttelton, the Dorfman and the Temporary Theatre.
How to get National Theatre tickets
Tickets to the National Theatre's shows are available to pre-book through their website, and tickets are usually much cheaper than in the West End. In addition, almost half of each season's tickets are available at £15 per seat as part of the Travelex £15 tickets scheme.
Those aged 16-25 can sign up for the Entry Pass, which allows you to book £5 tickets to all National Theatre productions and also offers discounts in their other facilities.
Day tickets for shows at the Olivier, Lyttelton and Dorfman theatres are available at 9.30am at the box office in person on the day of the performance (Bank holidays and Sundays vary). Day tickets for shows at the Temporary Theatre are availble from noon. £5 standing room tickets are released once the day tickets have sold out in the Olivier and Lyttleton Theatres.
Standby tickets are released 90 minutes before each performance at a reduced price, and reduced standby tickets go on sale 45 minutes before at £15 to students, Stage Pass, SOLT, NCA, & theatre union members and unemployed ID holders.
How to get to the National Theatre
The National Theatre is on the South Bank, a short walk from Waterloo Station. It can also be reached by walking over the Hungerford Bridge from Embankment or Charing Cross stations. Bicycle racks and Barclays Cycle Hire docking stations are available at the venue, and bus routes 1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 76, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 243, 341, 521, X68 and the Riverside Bus all stop nearby on Waterloo Bridge.
Book theatre tickets
The concrete-clad, 1960s modernist grandmother of them all: no theatrical tour of London is complete without a visit to the National, which offers a rolling repertory programme, often with a choice of several productions in a week.
- South Bank, SE1 9PX