The concrete-clad, 1960s modernist grandmother of them all: no theatrical tour of London is complete without a visit to the National, whose three auditoriums – Olivier, Lyttelton and Dorfman – offer a rolling repertory programme, often with a choice of several productions in a week. The National Theatre may have once had a fiercely inaccessible reputation, but the arrival of maverick artistic director Nicholas Hytner in 2003 rocked theatreland as he set about changing the venue's staid ethos with daring productions such as 'Jerry Springer the Opera' and an ambitious adaptation of Phillip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials'. The change of tack proved a success, attracting audiences of mixed race, age and class – and Hytner's budget £15 Travelex-sponsored tickets still help pull in the crowds in the summer season. The home stable for Michael Morpurgo's 'War Horse', which opened here in 2007 and went on to break West End records, the National is now developing a reputation for family-friendly blockbusters, cue its current production of Mark Haddon's 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time'. Meanwhile the National Theatre Live initiative has extended the theatre's reach by broadcasting high-publicity productions such as Danny Boyle's role-swapping smash-hit 'Frankenstein' and the comedy 'One Man, Two Guvnors', which introduced James Corden to the stage, live to Picturehouse Cinemas. A recent run of the post-modern musical 'London Road' proved it hasn't lost its edge. And when the Temporary Theatre has moved on in 2017, there's be a chance to catch free and inclusive performing arts, gigs and exhibitions in the National Theatre square, or during the Watch This Space summer festival.
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|Opening hours:||9.30am-11pm Mon-Sat (12noon-6pm Sun when there is a performance in the building)|
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Man and Superman
Is it a turd? Is it inane? No, it’s ‘Man and Superman’, a deeply bizarre play that makes the Man of Steel’s capers look positively humdrum. The great polymath Bernard Shaw wrote it in 1903 as a literally unstageable work that commenced with a lengthy...Until Sunday May 17 2015Read more
Behind the Beautiful Forevers
Would a writer of less stature than Sir David Hare have managed to get this over-stuffed behemoth of a play accepted by the National Theatre? Maybe not, but a stage version of ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’ kind of needs to be a mess to preserve the...Until Tuesday May 5 2015Read more
The Hard Problem
There is only one playwright on the planet who could change the way you think about human existence in 90 minutes and leave you wishing there was a bit more to his new play. And that playwright is the great Tom Stoppard.‘The Hard Problem’ comes with an...Until Wednesday May 27 2015Read more
This review is of the show's 2014 run at the Yard Theatre. The play transfers to the National Theatre's temporary space from April 2015. Fuck this government, basically. David Cameron ‘does think that it is right’ – his spokesperson says – for benefit...Drama Until Saturday May 16 2015Read more
Things to do
The Putney Debates
The National Theatre presents this election day performance in their Temporary Theatre. Actors associated with the theatre will read from records of the 1647 debates about how the country should be run.Thursday May 7 2015Read more
One day, maybe in the not too distant future, Rufus Norris will create a show where he simply gives everyone in the audience a really strong pill, then blows up a couple of actual skyscrapers. The National Theatre’s new boss is a master of bombast and...Thursday May 7 2015 - Thursday July 16 2015Read more
Light Shining in Buckinghamshire
Rufus Norris, the new artistic director of the National Theatre, has clearly got balls. To open his very first season with a debate-laden play about the English civil war is more than a bit brave. Caryl Churchill’s 1976 play ‘Light Shining in Buckinghamshire’...Thursday May 7 2015 - Monday June 22 2015Read more
Rules for Living
Plays cannot live by rules alone, but Sam Holcroft makes a good go of trying in her suburban comedy of manners. It’s about a mildly dysfunctional, moderately posh family who attempt to contain their Christmas day conflicts by adhering to a strict set...Friday May 8 2015 - Wednesday July 8 2015Read more
The Beaux' Stratagem
A dizzy, light-hearted entry in Rufus Norris's diverse first season at the NT, 'The Beaux' Stratagem' is the final work by George Farquhar, who died in 1707, the year of its premiere. One of the last of the Restoration comedies, it is, nonetheless, as...Saturday May 16 2015 - Sunday July 19 2015Read more
The Red Lion
New NT boss Rufus Norris would appear to have called in a few favours from Patrick Marber for his first season in charge of our nation's flagship theatre. Never the most prolific playwright, Marber's not turned in a new stage work in almost a decade,...Wednesday June 3 2015 - Saturday July 25 2015Read more
Average User Rating
5 / 5
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A wonderful space for the public as well as a place to see some fantastic theatre, often at extremely reasonable prices. Really good coffee too!
Nothing like the National! Best night out in London and seeing the inner workings of his great theater is a delight! Don miss it!!
The National never fail in excelling with putting on some first class pieces of theatre. The Travelex season makes it even sweeter, as well as the building being a great example of brutalist architecture, and located in one of my favourite parts of London.
Outstanding. If you haven't been to watch something here yet, you haven't experienced true London. This is how theatre should be done.