National Theatre

Theatre , Public and national theatres South Bank
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National Theatre, The Shed  (© Philip Vile)
© Philip Vile
 (© Philip Vile)
© Philip Vile
 (© Philip Vile)
© Philip Vile
Interior architecture (Rob Greig / Time Out)
Rob Greig / Time Out
National Theatre (Rob Greig / Time Out)
Rob Greig / Time Out
National Theatre architecture (Rob Greig / Time Out)
Rob Greig / Time Out
National Theatre interior (Rob Greig / Time Out)
Rob Greig / Time Out
National Theatre Stairs (Rob Greig / Time Out)
Rob Greig / Time Out

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.

Venue name: National Theatre
Address: South Bank
Opening hours: 9.30am-11pm Mon-Sat (12noon-6pm Sun when there is a performance in the building)
Transport: Tube: Waterloo
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  • Drama Until Saturday December 31 2016
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  • Musicals Until Tuesday November 29 2016
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  • Children's Wednesday November 16 2016 - Thursday December 29 2016
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  • Drama Monday December 5 2016 - Monday December 12 2016
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  • Experimental Tuesday December 6 2016 - Tuesday January 10 2017
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  • Experimental Monday January 16 2017 - Saturday February 18 2017
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  • Experimental Tuesday January 24 2017 - Tuesday January 31 2017
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