National Theatre, London Southbank

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National Theatre from the northeast Photo by Philip Vile
Upper Ground, London SE1 9PX, UK, London, UK

Situated on the Southbank, the National Theatre (NT) is one of three publically funded along with the Royal Opera House and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Founded by Sir Lawrence Olivier in 1963 ever since many of the world’s finest actors have performed for the company.

Three Theatres in One

The National Theatre building consists of three theatres. The largest, the Olivier Theatre, named after the company’s founder, seats 1,100 people in an auditorium modelled on the ancient Greek theatre at Epidaurus. The other two theatres are the Lyttleton and Dorfman theatres.

Reaction to Design

Designed by Denys Lasdun and Peter Softley in the Brutalist form, the structure has not been without its critics. However much opinion is divided as to its aesthetics – it has appeared in both the ten most hated and most loved buildings in London – there is no debating the quality of performances put on there.

National Theatre Outlets

The foyer space with its bookshop, restaurants, bars and exhibitions is open to the public. Whilst outside during the summer free performances are put on at the stage on the forecourt.

If you can’t make it to the NT, you can stream theatre productions in the comfort of your own home through the National Theatre at Home service. Details can be found here.

Under Milk Wood at the Olivier Theatre National Theatre
Under Milk Wood at the Olivier Theatre from 16 June to 24 July, 2021

What’s On at the National Theatre?

If you wish to find out what is currently being perfomed at the NT, click here.

How to Get to the National Theatre?

Waterloo (Bakerloo, Jubilee and Northern Lines) is the nearest tube line station, with Waterloo and Waterloo East mainline stations equally as close.

Nearby Attractions

It is located in the heart of the Southbank area, next to the BFI Southbank, the Southbank Centre and theLondon Eye. One of the more interesting things to do in London os to go on a riverside Southbank London walk.

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