Time Out says
The world's greatest theatre?
Arguably the greatest theatre in the world, the Royal National Theatre is also one of London's most recognisable landmarks and perhaps this country's foremost example of brutalist architecture. It boasts three auditoriums – the epic, ampitheatre-style Olivier, the substantial end-on space Lyttelton and the Dorfman, a smaller venue for edgier work. It's got a firm foothold on the West End, thanks to transferring shows like 'War Horse' and 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'. In summer, it spills out onto Southbank with its River Stage line-up of outdoor events. 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 former artistic director Nicholas Hytner, which saw a canny mix of modernised classics, popular new writing, and a splash of hip experimental work fill out the houses night after night. These days, Hytner's successor Rufus Norris calls the shots, with a programme that's stuck with many Hytner fundamentals but offered an edgier, more international spin, with a run of ambitious, experimental and often divisive works.
The NT is a popular hangout for theatre fans, thanks to its warren-like array of spots to work and play. The theatre's busy Kitchen churns out an impressively quirky, delicious array of seasonal baked goods, and there are pre-theatre dinners on offer at flagship restaurant House. But the real insider's hangout is The Understudy, a rough-and-ready riverside bar which brews its own lager and is thronged with theatre hipsters on pretty much any night of the week.
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Costume at the National Theatre
The National Theatre costume department is a land of absolute marvels. Housed on-site at the Southbank theatre, it sources, sews, alters and dresses performers for 20 new productions per year (and bear in mind that the NT is one of the few London theatres...Until Saturday June 27 2020
‘The Visit’ review
It is, make no mistake, absolutely wonderful to have Tony Kushner back doing plays again after a decade or so of doing diversionary stuff like writing massively successful Oscar-winning films. It’s maybe a little infuriating that it happened to be with...Drama Until Wednesday May 13 2020
‘The Welkin’ review
‘Twelve Angry Men’ meets ‘Light Shining in Buckinghamshire’ meets a really out-there Agatha Christie novel in this often brilliant and somewhat frustrating new drama from Lucy Kirkwood. It is rural Suffolk, 1759, and a young woman soaked in blood (the...Drama Until Saturday March 28 2020
‘Death of England’ review
Never mind ‘Death of England’, it’s the death of poor old Rafe Spall that worried me for most of this 100-minute monologue from writer Roy Williams and writer-director Clint Dyer. Spall Jr begins the show at waaaay beyond full tilt: hoarse of voice, unsteady...Drama Until Saturday March 7 2020
The Seven Streams of the River Ota
To mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, Robert Lepage has brought back this seven-hour-long epic, last seen at the National Theatre in 1996. The weighty drama follows a group of Hiroshima survivors and their descendents, and sims...Experimental Friday March 6 2020 - Sunday March 22 2020
All of Us
Francesca Martinez has made a name for herself as an actor, a comedian, and an outspoken campaigner on disabled rights; she has cerebral palsy, and delivered a powerful speech against government cuts on BBC's Question Time. Now she's adding another string...Drama Wednesday March 18 2020 - Saturday May 16 2020
Director and playwright Jude Christian has turned her hand to everything from experimental theatre starring live piglets to Lyric Hammermith's annual panto. ‘Hamlet’ – which she adapts and Tinuke Craig directs – will doubtless see her at the lighter...Shakespeare Monday March 30 2020 - Thursday April 9 2020
Jack Absolute Flies Again
Richard Bean's farce 'One Man, Two Guvnors' has been one of the NT's biggest hits of recent years, so it's no surprise that he's loosely adapting another historical comedy for the theatre's massive Olivier mainstage. 'Jack Absolute Flies Again' is based...Comedy Wednesday April 15 2020 - Saturday June 20 2020
Alanna Mitchell's devastating monologue about global warming and the planet's heating seas is coming to the National Theatre, after a hit run at the Edinburgh fringe. She uses scientific research and mesmerising projections to narrate her journey into...Drama Wednesday April 22 2020 - Thursday May 7 2020
Before hitting the big time as a poet and performer, Kate Tempest wrote a string of well-received mid-sized plays, notably ‘Wasted’ and ‘Hopelessly Devoted’ for Paines Plough. She’s had a busy last few years becoming a household name with the solo stuff,...Drama Tuesday June 30 2020 - Saturday August 1 2020
Users say (20)
Average User Rating
4.8 / 5
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The national theatre puts on epically large productions with beautiful set designs that you can't help be impressed by. I love that they're so openly encouraging to get people from all works of life into theatre thought NT live and their young person discounts. However, my teeny tiny qualm would be that the productions can feel slightly too big - you sometimes loose the beautiful intimacy that you can find in my very favourite theatre (the Old Vic). That being said - a ticket purchase here will never be too far wrong!
An amazing contemporary venue that allows you get up close to stars big and small in a tremendously creative space.
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.