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 Ocean at the End of the Lane
An exciting Christmas show from the National Theatre here, as Joel Horwood adapts Neil Gaiman’s 2013 novel about an unnamed man who returns to his childhood home and struggles to remember a strange past in which he and a young girl named Lettie fought...Children's Until Saturday January 25 2020
‘Three Sisters’ review
Anton Chekhov’s melancholy, endlessly adaptable sisters have shown up in plenty of guises on London’s stages this year. In Inua Ellams’s version for the National Theatre, their misery is given a tumultuous new backdrop; they’re living in the newly declared...Drama Until Wednesday February 19 2020
Director Ian Rickson’s powerful 2018 revival of Brian Friel’s ‘Translations’ makes a welcome return to the National’s Olivier stage, with a few casting changes along the way. The play’s nuanced, elegiac and often wrenching exploration of the power and...Drama Until Wednesday December 18 2019
"Master Harold’… and the Boys’ review
For much of its running time, this revival of the great Athol Fugard’s play ‘"Master Harold"... and the Boys’ feels almost disconcertingly gentle. Middle-of-the-road, even. We are used to plays about apartheid-era South Africa being harrowing and bleak,...Drama Friday December 13 2019 - Tuesday December 17 2019
Neil Gaiman in Conversation with Lenny Henry
The National Theatre’s big Christmas show is a stage adaptation of the great fantasy author Neil Gaiman’s 2013 novel ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’, and to support it the man himself will be in conversation with none other than Lenny Henry, at a one-off,...Drama Wednesday December 18 2019
‘My Brilliant Friend’ review
I can personally confirm that you absolutely don’t have to have read Elena Ferrante’s acclaimed Neapolitan novels to appreciate this gloriously widescreen, five-hour, two-part adaptation from April De Angelis, which transfers to the NT in souped-up form...Drama Friday December 20 2019 - Saturday February 22 2020
Lucy Kirkwood follows up her 2017 National Theatre hit ‘Mosquitoes’ – about an experimental physicist – with something completely different. Directed by James Macdonald, ‘The Welkin’ is set in rural Suffolk, 1759 and stars Ria Zmitrowicz as Sally Poppy,...Drama Wednesday January 15 2020 - Saturday March 28 2020
A walloping decade after his last play, the great Tony Kushner returns with this adaptation of Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s 1956 tragicomedy about an immensely wealthy woman who returns to her hometown ready to turn its fortunes around – but only if the townspeople...Drama Friday January 31 2020 - Saturday April 4 2020
Death of England
Rafe Spall stars as Michael, a man in mourning for his late father, who decides to confront the dead man’s legacy at his funeral in this new monologue from Roy Williams and Clint Dyer. It’s directed by Dyer, who becomes the first black artist to have...Drama Friday January 31 2020 - Saturday March 7 2020
Users say (20)
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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