The world's greatest theatre?
Arguably the greatest theatre in the world, the Royal National Theatre is also one of London's most iconic landmarks and perhaps this country's foremost example of brutalist architecture. It boasts four auditoriums – Olivier, Lyttelton, Dorfman and Temporary – a firm foothold on the West End thanks to 'War Horse' and 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time', and its NT Live programme beams its greatest hits to cinemas across the globe.
NT Live is just one of the initiatives to issue forth from the golden reign of Nicholas Hytner, which saw a canny mix of modernised classics, popular new writing, the odd worthy excavation from the canon and a splash of hip experimental work fill out the houses night after night, something further driven by a major initiative to reduce ticket prices by actively seeking private sponsorship, notably that of Travelex, who heavily subside tickets in the Lyttelton and Olivier.
The current artistic director is Hytner's successor Rufus Norris, whose initial programming has stuck with many Hytner fundamentals but offered an edgier, more international spin.
Following major upgrade work in 2014, the National Theatre sports all manner of eating and drinking facilities, including flagship restaurant House. Our top tip is The Understudy, a fine riverside bar which brews its own lager and plays excellent music.
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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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Things to do
The National Theatre's River Stage returns to the South Bank for a month of live music, dance, performance, workshops and family fun. Weekend evenings will see a varied programme of entertainment take place in front of the theatre, with special take-over...Festivals Until Monday August 29 2016 FreeRead more
River Stage: The Glory
East London's alternative establishment joins forces for a drag-packed weekend of shows, DJs and activities. Highlights include Jonny Woo's reimagining of Lou Reed's seminal 1972 album Revolver (Fri 6.30pm), a Top Of The Pops-inspired lip sync battle...Cabaret and burlesque Until Sunday July 31 2016Read more
Anton Chekhov's reputation as one of the greatest playwrights who ever lived is almost entirely predicated on four works: 'Uncle Vanya', 'Three Sisters', 'The Cherry Orchard' and 'The Seagull'. But this trilogy of adaptations from David Hare – which caused...Drama Until Saturday September 3 2016Read more
Sunset at the Villa Thalia
Shifty-eyed ex-sitcom star Ben Miles is one of my favourite actors out there - his stage Cromwell in 'Wolf Hall' was easily as good Rylance's telly one, and he brings a real sense of febrile danger to any part he plays. He's good enough in Alexi Kaye...Drama Until Thursday August 4 2016Read more
The Deep Blue Sea
Terence Rattigan’s rehabilitation from ‘Noël Coward’s cheesy mate’ to ‘the English Chekhov’ started on the Lyttelton stage with the NT’s devastating, Cumberbatch-starring 2010 production of ‘After the Dance’. Now, almost 40 years after his death, Rattigan...Drama Until Wednesday August 17 2016Read more
Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour
'Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour' will be on at the Dorfman Theatre from August 2016. This review is from the Edinburgh Fringe run in 2015. As Frank Zappa once said: ‘There’s nothing like a Catholic girl’. And when you look at the Catholic schoolgirls...West End Monday August 8 2016 - Saturday October 1 2016Read more
The Red Barn
Wunderkind director Robert Icke is an unlikely choice to direct David Hare's latest play - while Hare has been turning out wordy dramas for decades, Icke is the trendiest of hotly tipped new directors, acclaimed for his stylish reimagining of '1984'. Perhaps...Drama Thursday October 6 2016 - Saturday November 19 2016Read more
A Pacifist's Guide to the War on Cancer
Bryony Kimmings's star has been on the rise of late: from controversial fringe live artist, making raucous shows like 'Sex Idiot', to her more high-profile recent show about depression, 'Fake It 'Til You Make It'. Now she's bringing her irreverent, quirky...Musicals Friday October 14 2016 - Tuesday November 29 2016Read more
It's called 'Amadeus', but Peter Shaffer's acclaimed 1979 play is really all about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's arch-rival, Salieri. In director Michael Longhurst's much-anticipated revival, Salieri will be played by Lucian Msamati, who made a splash in...Drama Wednesday October 19 2016 - Saturday December 31 2016Read more
Sally Cookson, the director behind the NT's acclaimed 'Jane Eyre' adaptation, returns with this inventive take on the story of the boy who would not grow up. 'Peter Pan' is JM Barrie's fantastical take on growing pains, featuring well-loved characters...Children's Wednesday November 16 2016 - Thursday December 29 2016Read more
Average User Rating
5 / 5
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Might be the most special venue in the entire world for me. You could spend the entire day here and fell at home & entertainted. Contantly changing yet stays the most welcoming. It may look like a fortress from the outside but once you step in you just don't wanna leave. Magic space! Happy 52th birthday, btw )
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.