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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‘Rutherford and Son’ review
A tip for watching Polly Findlay’s revival of Githa Sowerby’s classic 1912 play: get there early. Some of the most spectacular stuff happens in the pre-show, where a huge screen of very cold-looking artificial rain plummets torrentially from the ceiling,...Until Saturday August 3 2019
‘Top Girls’ review
Recently, the National Theatre sparked a furious backlash when its latest season announcement included no new plays by women. This week, it opens a revival of a twentieth-century feminist masterpiece. This is a coincidence, and one doesn’t cancel out...Drama Thursday June 20 2019 - Saturday June 22 2019
With the addition of a sneaky 't', National Theatre stalwart David Hare signals his ambition to bring Ibsen's 1867 classic 'Peer Gynt' into the 21st century. James McArdle stars in the title role of 'Peter Gynt', Hare's reworked story of a restless wanderer...Drama Thursday June 27 2019 - Tuesday October 8 2019
Fill yer boots with free live music, dance and theatre at the National Theatre’s free outdoor mini-festival weekends, which are back for Summer 2019 with a revamped line-up. River Stage takes over a dedicated spot on Southbank outside the theatre, offering...Outdoor theatres Friday July 5 2019 - Sunday August 4 2019 Free
‘Jellyfish’ transfers to National Theatre in July 2019. This review is from its 2018 premiere at Bush Theatre. The set-up of ‘Jellyfish’ is familiar. Girl meets boy. Girl’s mum is unimpressed with boy. Cue: a lot of fraught arguments. But Ben Weatherill’s...Drama Friday July 5 2019 - Tuesday July 16 2019
‘Small Island’ review
There have been times during Rufus Norris’s tenure in charge of the National Theatre when the prospect of him finding a decent new play to run in the huge Olivier theatre has seemed as distant a prospect as him inventing faster-than-light travel. And...Drama Thursday July 18 2019 - Saturday August 10 2019
Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear - The Musical!
This new kids' musical from the NT follows a large bear called Padlock, a horrible old man called Mr Gum, and a nine-year-old girl who's determined to foil his plans. 'Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear' is based on Andy Stanton's popular children's book: he'll...Children's Thursday July 25 2019 - Saturday August 31 2019
The Secret River
Sydney Theatre Company's blockbuster adaptation of 'The Secret River' turns a modern Australian literary classic in a poignant theatrical epic, imagined in collaboration with Aboriginal artists. Kate Grenville's novel dives into the world of early settlers...Drama Thursday August 22 2019 - Saturday September 7 2019
This new Thatcher-era satire follows a Tory politician on the edge. It's the work of Simon Woods, an actor-turned-playwright who's filled out period suits in costume dramas like the 2005 movie 'Pride & Prejudice' and the BBC's Cranford. 'Hansard' is a...Drama Thursday August 22 2019 - Saturday August 31 2019
Ian McKellen On Stage
Unstoppable stage and screen legend Sir Ian McKellen has spent the best part of 2019 touring an autobiographical stage show – formerly called ‘Tolkien, Shakespeare, others …and you!’, now subtitled that – to 80 venues across the nation, each of which...Drama Sunday September 15 2019 - Sunday January 5 2020
Average User Rating
4.8 / 5
- 5 star:17
- 4 star:2
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
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.
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