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 subsidise 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.
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‘Absolute Hell’ review
Playwright Rodney Ackland’s depiction of vibrant, seedy, tragic Soho at the fag end of WW2 effectively ended the playwright’s career when it premiered in 1952 under its original title, ‘The Pink Room’. Society wasn’t up for its unflinching vision of queer,...Comedy Until Saturday June 16 2018
‘Nine Night’ review
The hectic sounds of dancehall music bleed into the British kitchen in which Natasha Gordon’s play unfolds. It comes from a room beyond, where an unseen crowd are celebrating the Jamaican mourning tradition of Nine Night. By staying on the edges of the...Drama Until Saturday May 26 2018
Often cited as the late, great Brian Friel's greatest play, 1980's ‘Translations’ is set in County Donegal, 1833, as local lad owen return to the village of his birth with two British soldiers in tow, to embark upon an ambitious project of mapping and...Drama Until Saturday July 7 2018
Polly Stenham’s second play for the National Theatre is a new version of Strindberg's endlessly adapted ‘Miss Julie’. Directed by Carrie Cracknell, it stars Vanessa Kirby as the eponymous young woman, who celebrates her newfound singledom by throwing...Drama Thursday May 31 2018 - Saturday August 4 2018
The National Theatre has just netted a stupendous 22 Olivier nominations, a massive haul that should by rights halt the persistent low-level mutterings about Rufus Norris’s leadership. And yet, despite glorious exceptions like ‘Follies’ – responsible...Shakespeare Thursday May 31 2018 - Saturday June 23 2018
The Lehman Trilogy
The National Theatre’s first really massive show of 2018 is this weighty epic, directed by Sam Mendes. Italian writer Stefano Massini trilogy – adapted by Ben Power into a single show – traces 163 years in the history of Lehmans, Bavarian siblings who...Drama Wednesday July 4 2018 - Wednesday August 8 2018
Exit the King
Eugene Ionesco's absurdist tragi-comedy follows a 400-year-old king who's finally preparing to meet his maker, as his court falls into disarray. 'Exit the King' is coming to the National Theatre in a new version by Patrick Marber, who's penned sophisticated...Comedy Tuesday July 17 2018 - Saturday September 8 2018
Home, I'm Darling
Laura Wade is best known for penning 2010 hit satirical play 'Posh' (the source material for 2014 movie 'The Riot Club'), which followed the loutish members of a Bullingdon Club-style all-male society. Her new comedy explores femininity, and specifically...Comedy Tuesday July 24 2018 - Wednesday September 5 2018
The Star Seekers
This starry-eyed interactive show for kids is led by three space adventurers. Created by Bristol's Wardrobe Ensemble, it lets the audience steer the narrative through alien encounters and past flaming asteroids. Ages three to eight.Children's Wednesday August 8 2018 - Saturday September 1 2018
Playwright Chris Bush made her name in 2007 with 'Tony! The Blair Musical', and since then she's penned an eclectic span of works including forthcoming Theatr Clwyd show 'The Assassination of Katie Hopkins'. So her version of Shakespeare's wild, surreal...Shakespeare Sunday August 26 2018 - Tuesday August 28 2018
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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.