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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‘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 Until Saturday June 22 2019
I was a liiiittle apprehensive when it was announced that for his next trick US provocateur Bruce Norris – he of caustic race relations drama ‘Clybourne Park’ – would write a drama about a group of convicted sex offenders.In fact, the subject matter seems...Drama Until Saturday April 27 2019
A 40-strong cast are bringing Andrea Levy's prize-winning novel 'Small Island' to the National Theatre's stage this spring. Its sweeping narrative explores post-WWII migration from Jamaica to the UK through the eyes of four characters: Hortense, Queenie,...Drama Until Saturday August 10 2019
The NT’s last big comedia dell'arte revival was, of course, ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’. A near flawless piece of comedy theatre, it was crafted via playwright Richard Bean ruthlessly paring away all but the funniest stuff in Goldoni’s ‘The Servant of Two...Comedy Tuesday April 23 2019 - Tuesday April 30 2019
Well, hello perfect! Great shows are rare; flawless ones happen only under a blue moon. But Dominic Cooke’s revival of this wry, classy American musical, back for an encore at the National Theatre, is both of the above. Go in your bleakest mood: I guarantee...Musicals Monday May 6 2019 - Saturday May 11 2019
This new thriller from Ella Hickson – author of Time Out’s show of year 2018 ‘The Writer’ – comes with quite the hook: each member of the audience dons a pair of headphones, the better to experience the sound design from the wondrous Ben and Max Ringham,...Interactive Saturday May 11 2019 - Saturday June 15 2019
Rutherford and Son
A smash-hit in 1912 – when it was so rare to have a play written by a woman, it was assumed 'Rutherford and Son' was the work of a bloke – Githa Sowerby’s brilliant play drew on her own experiences of growing up in a factory-owning family in Gateshead....Thursday May 16 2019 - Saturday August 3 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
Average User Rating
4.8 / 5
- 5 star:17
- 4 star:2
- 3 star:1
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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.
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