The Info List - Royal National Theatre

The Royal National Theatre
Royal National Theatre
in London, commonly known as the National Theatre[1] (NT) is one of the United Kingdom's three most prominent publicly funded performing arts venues, alongside the Royal Shakespeare
Company and the Royal Opera House. Internationally, it is known as the National Theatre of Great Britain.[2] From its foundation in 1963 until 1976, the company was based at the Old Vic
Old Vic
theatre in Waterloo. The current building is located next to the Thames in the South Bank
South Bank
area of central London. In addition to performances at the National Theatre building, the National Theatre company tours productions at theatres across the United Kingdom.[3] Since 1988, the theatre has been permitted to call itself the Royal National Theatre, but the full title is rarely used. The theatre presents a varied programme, including Shakespeare
and other international classic drama; and new plays by contemporary playwrights. Each auditorium in the theatre can run up to three shows in repertoire, thus further widening the number of plays which can be put on during any one season. In June 2009, the theatre began National Theatre Live (NT Live), a programme of simulcasts of live productions to cinemas, first in the United Kingdom and then internationally. The programme began with a production of Phèdre, starring Helen Mirren, which was screened live in 70 cinemas across the UK. NT Live productions have since been broadcast to over 2,500 venues in 60 countries around the world. The NT had an annual turnover of approximately £105 million in 2015–16, of which earned income made up 85% (58% from ticket sales, 5% from NT Live and Digital, and 12% from commercial revenue such as in the restaurants, bookshops, etc.). Support from Arts Council England provided 17% of income, 1% from Learning and Participation activity, and the remaining 9% came from a mixture of companies, individuals, trusts and foundations.[4]


1 Origins 2 Architecture

2.1 Theatres

2.1.1 Olivier Theatre 2.1.2 Lyttelton Theatre 2.1.3 Dorfman Theatre 2.1.4 Temporary Theatre

2.2 The National Theatre building and forecourt

3 NT Future 4 Artistic directors 5 National Theatre Studio 6 National Theatre Connections 7 National Theatre Live 8 Watch This Space Festival 9 Notable productions

9.1 1963–1973 9.2 1974–1987 9.3 1988–1997 9.4 1998–2002 9.5 2003–2014 9.6 2015–present

10 Gallery 11 See also 12 Notes 13 Bibliography 14 Further reading 15 External links

Origins[edit] In 1847, a critic using the pseudonym Dramaticus published a pamphlet[5] describing the parlous state of British theatre. Production of serious plays was restricted to the patent theatres, and new plays were subjected to censorship by the Lord Chamberlain's Office. At the same time, there was a burgeoning theatre sector featuring a diet of low melodrama and musical burlesque; but critics described British theatre as driven by commercialism and a 'star' system. There was a demand to commemorate serious theatre, with the " Shakespeare
Committee" purchasing the playwright's birthplace for the nation demonstrating a recognition of the importance of 'serious drama'. The following year saw more pamphlets on a demand for a National Theatre from London
publisher Effingham William Wilson.[6] The situation continued, with a renewed call every decade for a National Theatre. Attention was aroused in 1879 when the Comédie-Française
took a residency at the Gaiety Theatre, described in The Times
The Times
as representing "the highest aristocracy of the theatre". The principal demands now coalesced around: a structure in the capital that would present "exemplary theatre"; that would form a permanent memorial to Shakespeare; a supported company that would represent the best of British acting; and a theatre school.[7] The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre
Shakespeare Memorial Theatre
was opened in Stratford upon Avon
Stratford upon Avon
on 23 April 1879, with the New Shakespeare
Company (now the Royal Shakespeare
Company); and Herbert Beerbohm Tree
Herbert Beerbohm Tree
founded an Academy of Dramatic Art at Her Majesty's Theatre
Her Majesty's Theatre
in 1904. This still left the capital without a national theatre. A London
League was founded in 1902 to develop a Shakespeare
National Theatre and – with the impending tri-centenary in 1916 of his death – in 1913 purchased land for a theatre in Bloomsbury. This work was interrupted by World War I. In 1910, George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw
wrote a short comedy, The Dark Lady of the Sonnets, in which Shakespeare
himself attempts to persuade Elizabeth I of the necessity of building a National Theatre to stage his plays. The play was part of the long-term campaign to build a National Theatre. Finally, in 1948, the London
County Council presented a site close to the Royal Festival Hall
Royal Festival Hall
for the purpose, and a "National Theatre Act", offering financial support, was passed by Parliament in 1949.[8] Ten years after the foundation stone had been laid in 1951, the Government declared that the nation could not afford a National Theatre; in response the LCC offered to waive any rent and pay half the construction costs. Still, the Government tried to apply unacceptable conditions to save money; attempting to force the amalgamation of the existing publicly supported companies: the RSC, Sadler's Wells
Sadler's Wells
and Old Vic.[8] In July 1962, with agreements finally reached, a board was set up to supervise construction, and a separate board was constituted to run a National Theatre Company and lease the Old Vic
Old Vic
theatre. The "National Theatre Company" opened on 22 October 1963 with Hamlet. The current building was designed by architects Sir Denys Lasdun
Denys Lasdun
and Peter Softley and structural engineers Flint & Neill and contains three stages, which opened individually between 1976 and 1977.[9] The construction work was carried out by Sir Robert McAlpine.[10] The Company was to remain at the Old Vic
Old Vic
until 1977, when construction of the Olivier was complete.[8] Architecture[edit] Theatres[edit] The National Theatre building houses three separate theatres. Additionally, a temporary structure was added in April 2013 and closed in May 2016. Olivier Theatre[edit] Named after the theatre's first artistic director, Laurence Olivier, this is the main auditorium, modelled on the ancient Greek theatre at Epidaurus; it has an open stage and a fan-shaped audience seating area for 1100 people. A 'drum revolve' (a five-storey revolving stage section) extends eight metres beneath the stage and is operated by a single staff member. The drum has two rim revolves and two platforms, each of which can carry ten tonnes, facilitating dramatic and fluid scenery changes. Its design ensures that the audience's view is not blocked from any seat, and that the audience is fully visible to actors from the stage's centre. Designed in the 1970s and a prototype of current technology, the drum revolve and a multiple 'sky hook' flying system were initially very controversial and required ten years to commission, but seem to have fulfilled the objective of functionality with high productivity.[11] Lyttelton Theatre[edit] Named after Oliver Lyttelton, the National Theatre's first board chairman, it has a proscenium arch design and can accommodate an audience of 890. Dorfman Theatre[edit] Named after Lloyd Dorfman (philanthropist and chairman of Travelex Group),[12] the Dorfman is " the smallest, the barest and the most potentially flexible of the National Theatre houses . . . a dark-walled room", audience capacity 400.[13] It was formerly known as the Cottesloe (named after Lord Cottesloe, chairman of the South Bank Theatre board), a name which ceased to be used with the theatre's closure under the National's NT Future redevelopment. The enhanced[13] theatre reopened in September 2014 under its new name.[14] Temporary Theatre[edit] The Temporary Theatre, formerly called The Shed, was a 225-seat black box theatre which opened in April 2009 and celebrated new works with its new features.[15] The theatre closed in May 2016.[16] In 2015 British artist Carl Randall
Carl Randall
painted a portrait of actress Katie Leung
Katie Leung
standing in front of The Shed as part of the artist's ' London
Portraits' series, where he asked various cultural figures to choose a place in London
for the backdrop of their portraits.[17][18] Leung explained she chose The Shed as her backdrop because she performed there in the 2013 play The World of Extreme Happiness, and also because "... its a temporary theatre, it's not permanent, and I wanted to make it permanent in the portrait".[19][20] The National Theatre building and forecourt[edit]

Denys Lasdun's building for the National Theatre – an "urban landscape" of interlocking terraces responding to the site at King's Reach on the River Thames to exploit views of St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral
and Somerset House.

The riverside forecourt of the theatre is used for regular open-air performances in the summer months. The terraces and foyers of the theatre complex have also been used for ad hoc experimental performances. The decor is frequently dynamic, with recent displays of grass turf as 'outside wallpaper', different statues located in various random places and giant chairs and furniture in the forecourt. The National Theatre's foyers are open to the public, with a large theatrical bookshop, restaurants, bars and exhibition spaces. Backstage tours run throughout the day and the Sherling High Level Walkway, open daily until 7.30 pm, offers visitors views into the backstage production workshops for set construction and assembly, scenic painting and prop-making. The Clore Learning Centre is a new dedicated space for Learning at the National Theatre. Offering events and courses for all ages, exploring theatre-making from playwriting to technical skills, often led by the NT's own artists and staff. The dressing rooms for all actors are arranged around an internal lightwell and airshaft and so their windows each face each other. This arrangement has led to a tradition whereby on the opening night (known as 'press night') and closing night of any individual play, when called to go to 'beginners' (opening positions), the actors will go to the window and drum on the glass with the palms of their hands.[21] The style of the National Theatre building was described by Mark Girouard as "an aesthetic of broken forms" at the time of opening. Architectural opinion was split at the time of construction. Even enthusiastic advocates of the Modern Movement
Modern Movement
such as Sir Nikolaus Pevsner have found the Béton brut
Béton brut
concrete both inside and out overbearing. Most notoriously, Prince Charles
Prince Charles
described the building in 1988 as "a clever way of building a nuclear power station in the middle of London
without anyone objecting". Sir John Betjeman, however, a man not noted for his enthusiasm for brutalist architecture, was effusive in his praise and wrote to Lasdun stating that he "gasped with delight at the cube of your theatre in the pale blue sky and a glimpse of St. Paul's to the south of it. It is a lovely work and so good from so many angles...it has that inevitable and finished look that great work does."[22] Despite the controversy, the theatre has been a Grade II* listed building since 1994.[23] Although the theatre is often cited as an archetype of Brutalist
architecture in England, since Lasdun's death the building has been re-evaluated as having closer links to the work of Le Corbusier, rather than contemporary monumental 1960s buildings such as those of Paul Rudolph.[24] The carefully refined balance between horizontal and vertical elements in Lasdun's building has been contrasted favourably with the lumpiness of neighbouring buildings such as the Hayward Gallery
Hayward Gallery
and Queen Elizabeth Hall. It is now in the unusual situation of having appeared simultaneously in the top ten "most popular" and "most hated" London
buildings in opinion surveys. A recent lighting scheme illuminating the exterior of the building, in particular the fly towers, has proved very popular, and is one of several positive artistic responses to the building. In September 2007 a statue of Lord Olivier
Lord Olivier
as Hamlet
was unveiled outside the building, to mark the centenary of the National's first artistic director. The National also has a Studio, the National's research and development wing, founded in 1984. The Studio has played a vital role in developing work for the National's stages and throughout British theatre. Writers, actors and practitioners of all kinds can explore, experiment and devise new work there, free from the pressure of public performance. The National Theatre Archive is housed in the same building, which is across the road from the Old Vic
Old Vic
in the Cut, Waterloo, and used to house their workshops. NT Future[edit] 2013 saw the commencement of the 'NT Future' project; a redevelopment of the National Theatre complex which it was estimated would cost about £80m.[25] Artistic directors[edit]

Sir Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
(1963–1973) Sir Peter Hall (1973–1988) Sir Richard Eyre (1988–1997) Sir Trevor Nunn (1997–2003) Sir Nicholas Hytner (2003–2015) Rufus Norris (2015–)

Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
was the first artistic director of the Royal National Theatre, in 1963. Shown in a photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1939

Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
became artistic director of the National Theatre at its formation in 1963. He was considered the foremost British film and stage actor of the period, and became the first director of the Chichester Festival Theatre
Chichester Festival Theatre
– there forming the company that would unite with the Old Vic
Old Vic
Company to form the National Theatre Company. In addition to directing, he continued to appear in many successful productions. He became a life peer in 1970, for his services to theatre, and retired in 1973. Peter Hall took over, to manage the move to the South Bank. His career included running the Arts Theatre
Arts Theatre
between 1956 and 1959 – where he directed the English language première of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. He went on to take over the Memorial Theatre at Stratford, and to create the permanent Royal Shakespeare
Company, in 1960, also establishing a new RSC base at the Aldwych Theatre
Aldwych Theatre
for transfers to the West End. He was artistic director at the National Theatre between 1973 and 1988; and continued to direct major performances for both the National and the RSC as well as running his own company at The Old Vic and summer seasons at the Theatre Royal, Bath. In 2008, he opened a new theatre, The Rose, and remains its director emeritus. One of the National's associate directors, Richard Eyre became artistic director in 1988; his experience included running the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh and the Nottingham Playhouse. He was noted for his series of collaborations with David Hare on the state of contemporary Britain. In 1997, Trevor Nunn became artistic director. He came to the National from the RSC, having undertaken a major expansion of the company into the Swan, The Other Place and the Barbican Theatres. He brought a more populist style to the National, introducing musical theatre to the repertoire. In April 2003, Nicholas Hytner took over as Artistic Director. He previously worked as an associate director with the Royal Exchange Theatre and the National. A number of his successful productions have been made into films. In April 2013 Hytner announced he would step down as artistic director at the end of March 2015.[26][27] Amongst Hytner's innovations were NT Future, the National Theatre Live initiative of simulcasting live productions, and the Entry Pass scheme, allowing young people under the age of 26 to purchase tickets for £5 to any production at the theatre. Rufus Norris took over as Artistic Director in March 2015. He is the first figure to hold the role without Oxbridge education since Laurence Olivier.

Facing east; towards the City of London, from Waterloo Bridge. Showing St. Paul's, and other major City buildings – to the right, the illuminated National Theatre.

National Theatre Studio[edit] The National Theatre Studio is a development space on The Cut, founded in 1985 under the directorship of Peter Gill, who ran it until 1990.[28] The studio houses work in progress such as play readings and workshops, and provides a venue for professional training. The studio is housed in a Grade II listed building designed by architects Lyons Israel Ellis. Completed in 1958, the building was refurbished by architects Haworth Tompkins
Haworth Tompkins
and reopened in Autumn 2007. Laura Collier became Head of the Studio in November 2011, replacing Purni Morrell who headed the Studio from 2006.[29] Under the leadership of Rufus Norris, the Studio and the Literary Department merged to become the New Work Department, led by Emily McLaughlin as Head of New Work. National Theatre Connections[edit] Main article: National Theatre Connections This is the annual youth theatre scheme, founded in 1995. National Theatre Live[edit] Main article: National Theatre Live National Theatre Live is an initiative to broadcast live and recorded performances of the best of British theatre to cinemas around the world. It launched in June 2009 with a broadcast of Racine's Phèdre
with Helen Mirren, which was shown in over 200 cinemas around the world and seen by a worldwide audience of more than 50,000 people. The season continued with Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well; Nation, based on the novel by Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett
and adapted by Mark Ravenhill; and Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art. The season concluded with Boucicault's London
Assurance with Fiona Shaw
Fiona Shaw
and Simon Russell Beale. The second season of broadcasts launched with an encore screening of Phèdre. The first NT Live collaboration with another British theatre company saw Complicite's A Disappearing Number, broadcast live from Theatre Royal, Plymouth. The season continued with Shakespeare's Hamlet
and the musical Fela!. The second collaborative broadcast was King Lear
King Lear
with Derek Jacobi, live from Covent Garden's Donmar Warehouse. NT Live then broadcast two separate performances of a production: throughout the run of Frankenstein, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller
Jonny Lee Miller
alternated the roles of Victor Frankenstein
Victor Frankenstein
and the Creature, and audiences in cinemas had the chance to see both combinations. The second season concluded on 30 June 2011 with Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, with Zoe Wanamaker. The third season of broadcasts launched on 15 September 2011 with One Man, Two Guvnors with James Corden. This was followed by Arnold Wesker's The Kitchen. The final broadcast of 2011 was John Hodge's Collaborators with Simon Russell Beale. In 2012 Nicholas Wright's play Travelling Light was broadcast on 9 February, followed by The Comedy of Errors with Lenny Henry
Lenny Henry
on 1 March and She Stoops to Conquer
She Stoops to Conquer
with Katherine Kelly, Steve Pemberton
Steve Pemberton
and Sophie Thompson
Sophie Thompson
on 29 March. One Man, Two Guvnors returned to cinema screens in the United States, Canada and Australia for a limited season in Spring 2012. Danny Boyle's Frankenstein also returned to cinema screens worldwide for a limited season in June and July 2012. The fourth season of broadcasts commenced on Thursday 6 September 2012 with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a play based on the international best-selling novel by Mark Haddon. This was followed by The Last of the Haussmans, a new play by Stephen Beresford starring Julie Walters, Rory Kinnear
Rory Kinnear
and Helen McCrory
Helen McCrory
on 11 October 2012. William Shakespeare's Timon of Athens
Timon of Athens
followed on 1 November 2012 starring Simon Russell Beale
Simon Russell Beale
as Timon. On 17 January 2013, NT Live broadcast Arthur Wing Pinero's The Magistrate, with John Lithgow.[30] The performances to be filmed and broadcast are nominated in advance, allowing planned movement of cameras with greater freedom in the auditorium. Watch This Space Festival[edit] The annual "Watch This Space Festival" is a free summer-long celebration of outdoor theatre, circus and dance. It has events for all ages, including workshops and classes for children and adults. Theatre Square in front of the building is covered in astroturf and the giant green three piece suite sculpture (entitled 'Armchair Theatre') is very much the festival's trademark. "Watch This Space" has strong national and international relationships with leading and emerging companies working in many different aspects of the outdoor arts sector. Significant collaborators and regular visitors include Teatr Biuro Podrozy, The Whalley Range All Stars, Home Live Art, Addictive TV, Men in Coats, Upswing, Circus Space, Les Grooms, StopGAP Dance Theatre, metro-boulot-dodo, Avanti Display, The Gandinis, Abigail Collins, The World Famous, Ida Barr (Christopher Green), Motionhouse, Mat Ricardo, The Insect Circus, Bängditos Theater, Mimbre, Company FZ, WildWorks, Bash Street Theatre, Markeline, The Chipolatas, The Caravan Gallery, Sienta la Cabeza, Theatre Tuig, Producciones Imperdibles and Mario Queen of the Circus.[31] The festival was set up by its first producer Jonathan Holloway, who was succeeded in 2005 by Angus MacKechnie. Whilst the Theatre Square space is occupied by the Temporary Theatre, the "Watch This Space Festival" festival has been suspended.[32] In 2013 the National announced that there would be a small summer festival entitled 'August Outdoors' in Theatre Square. Playing Fridays and Saturdays only, the programme included The Sneakers and The Streetlights by Half Human Theatre, The Thinker by Stuff & Things, H2H by Joli Vyann, Screeving by Urban Canvas, Pigeon Poo People by The Natural Theatre Company, Capses by Laitrum, Bang On!, Caravania! by The Bone Ensemble, The Hot Potato Syncopators, Total Eclipse of the Head by Ella Good and Nicki Kent, The Caravan Gallery, Curious Curios by Kazzum Theatre and The Preeners by Canopy.[33] Notable productions[edit] 1963–1973[edit]

In 1962, the company of The Old Vic
Old Vic
theatre was dissolved, and reconstituted as the "National Theatre Company" opening on 22 October 1963 with Hamlet. The company remained based in The Old Vic
Old Vic
until the new buildings opened in February 1976.

Hamlet, directed by Laurence Olivier, with Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
in the title-role and Michael Redgrave
Michael Redgrave
as Claudius (1963) The Recruiting Officer, directed by William Gaskill with Laurence Olivier as Captain Brazen, Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
as Sylvia and Robert Stephens as Captain Plume (1963). Othello, directed by John Dexter, with Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
in the title-role, Frank Finlay
Frank Finlay
as Iago
and Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
as Desdemona (1964) The Royal Hunt of the Sun by Peter Shaffer, directed by John Dexter (1964); the National's first world premiere Miss Julie
Miss Julie
by August Strindberg, directed by Michael Elliott with Albert Finney
Albert Finney
and Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
in a double bill with Black Comedy by Peter Shaffer, directed by John Dexter with Derek Jacobi
Derek Jacobi
and Maggie Smith. (1965/66) As You Like It
As You Like It
directed by Clifford Williams, the all-male production with Ronald Pickup as Rosalind, Jeremy Brett
Jeremy Brett
as Orlando, Charles Kay as Celia, Derek Jacobi
Derek Jacobi
as Touchstone, Robert Stephens
Robert Stephens
as Jaques (1967) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard, directed by Derek Goldby, with John Stride and Edward Petherbridge
Edward Petherbridge
(1967) The Dance of Death by August Strindberg, with Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
as Edgar, Geraldine McEwan as Alice and Robert Stephens
Robert Stephens
as Kurt (1967) Oedipus by Seneca translated by Ted Hughes, directed by Peter Brook, with John Gielgud
John Gielgud
as Oedipus, Irene Worth
Irene Worth
as Jocasta (1968) The Merchant of Venice, directed by Jonathan Miller, with Laurence Olivier as Shylock
and Joan Plowright
Joan Plowright
as Portia (1970) Hedda Gabler
Hedda Gabler
by Henrik Ibsen, directed by Ingmar Bergman, with Maggie Smith as Hedda (1970) Long Day's Journey into Night
Long Day's Journey into Night
by Eugene O'Neill, directed by Michael Blakemore, with Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
as James Tyrone (1971) Jumpers by Tom Stoppard, directed by Peter Wood, starring Michael Hordern and Diana Rigg
Diana Rigg
(1972) The Misanthrope
The Misanthrope
by Molière, translated by Tony Harrison, directed by John Dexter with Alec McCowen
Alec McCowen
and Diana Rigg
Diana Rigg


The Tempest
The Tempest
with John Gielgud
John Gielgud
as Prospero, directed by Peter Hall (1974) Eden End by J.B. Priestley, with Joan Plowright
Joan Plowright
as Stella and Michael Jayston as Charles (1974) No Man's Land by Harold Pinter, directed by Peter Hall, with Ralph Richardson and John Gielgud
John Gielgud
(1975) Illuminatus!, an eight-hour five-play cycle from Ken Campbell's The Science Fiction Theatre of Liverpool (1977) Bedroom Farce by Alan Ayckbourn, directed by Peter Hall (1977) Lark Rise
Lark Rise
by Keith Dewhurst, directed by Bill Bryden (1978) Tales from the Vienna Woods
Tales from the Vienna Woods
by Ödön von Horváth, translated by Christopher Hampton, directed by Maximilian Schell, with Stephen Rea and Kate Nelligan Plenty by David Hare, directed by the author, with Stephen Moore and Kate Nelligan (1978) Amadeus by Peter Shaffer, directed by Peter Hall, with Paul Scofield and Simon Callow
Simon Callow
(1979–80) Galileo, by Bertolt Brecht, translated by Howard Brenton directed by John Dexter with Michael Gambon
Michael Gambon
(1980) The Romans in Britain by Howard Brenton, directed by Michael Bogdanov, subject of a private prosecution by Mary Whitehouse
Mary Whitehouse
(1980) The Oresteia
The Oresteia
by Aeschylus, translated by Tony Harrison, directed by Peter Hall (1981) A Kind of Alaska, one-act play by Harold Pinter, directed by Peter Brook, with Judi Dench. Inspired by Awakenings, by Oliver Sacks. (1982) Guys and Dolls, the National's first musical, directed by Richard Eyre, starring Bob Hoskins, Julia McKenzie, Ian Charleson, and Julie Covington (1982) Glengarry Glen Ross
Glengarry Glen Ross
by David Mamet, directed by Bill Bryden (1983) Jean Seberg, musical with a book by Julian Barry, lyrics by Christopher Adler, and music by Marvin Hamlisch; directed by Peter Hall (1983) Fool for Love by Sam Shepard, starring Ian Charleson
Ian Charleson
and Julie Walters, directed by Peter Gill (1984) The Mysteries from medieval Mystery plays in a version by Tony Harrison, directed by Bill Bryden (1985) Pravda by Howard Brenton and David Hare, directed by David Hare, with Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins
(1985) "The American Clock" by Arthur Miller, directed by Peter Wood (1986) Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra
directed by Peter Hall, with Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins
and Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(1987) Happy Birthday, Sir Larry directed by Mike Ockrent
Mike Ockrent
and Jonathan Myerson, with a cast including Peggy Ashcroft, Peter Hall, Antony Sher, Albert Finney
Albert Finney
(31 May 1987) an 80th Birthday Tribute to Sir Laurence Olivier[34]


Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by Howard Davies, starring Ian Charleson and Lindsay Duncan
Lindsay Duncan
(1988) Fuente Ovejuna
Fuente Ovejuna
by Lope de Vega, translated by Adrian Mitchell, directed by Declan Donnellan (1989) Hamlet, starring Daniel Day Lewis
Daniel Day Lewis
and Judi Dench, later Ian Charleson, directed by Richard Eyre (1989) The Voysey Inheritance, starring Jeremy Northam, directed by Richard Eyre Richard III starring Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen
and directed by Richard Eyre (1990) Sunday in the Park with George
Sunday in the Park with George
by Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim
and James Lapine, directed by Steven Pimlott (British premiere) (1990) The Madness of George III by Alan Bennett, directed by Nicholas Hytner, starring Nigel Hawthorne (1991) Angels in America
Angels in America
by Tony Kushner, directed by Declan Donnellan (1991–92) Carousel
by Richard Rodgers
Richard Rodgers
and Oscar Hammerstein II, directed by Nicholas Hytner (1993) An Inspector Calls
An Inspector Calls
by J. B. Priestley, directed by Stephen Daldry (1992) Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges, and The Absence of War, by David Hare, directed by Richard Eyre (1993) Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, directed by Trevor Nunn (1993) Sweeney Todd by Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim
and Hugh Wheeler, directed by Declan Donnellan (1993) Les Parents terribles by Jean Cocteau, directed by Sean Mathias
Sean Mathias
(1994) Women of Troy
Women of Troy
by Euripides, directed by Annie Castledine, starring Josette Bushell-Mingo, Rosemary Harris
Rosemary Harris
and Jane Birkin
Jane Birkin
(1995) A Little Night Music
A Little Night Music
by Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim
and Hugh Wheeler, directed by Sean Mathias, with Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(1995) Anna Karenina
Anna Karenina
adapted by Helen Edmundson, with Anne-Marie Duff (1996)[35] King Lear
King Lear
directed by Richard Eyre, with Ian Holm
Ian Holm
(1997) The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht, translated by Frank McGuinness, directed by Simon McBurney
Simon McBurney


Copenhagen by Michael Frayn, directed by Michael Blakemore (1998) Oklahoma! by Richard Rodgers
Richard Rodgers
and Oscar Hammerstein, directed by Trevor Nunn, with Maureen Lipman and Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman
(1998) Candide by Leonard Bernstein, directed by John Caird assisted by Trevor Nunn (1999) The Merchant of Venice
The Merchant of Venice
directed by Trevor Nunn, with Henry Goodman (1999) Summerfolk by Maxim Gorky, directed by Trevor Nunn (1999) Honk!, Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Award winner (1999) Money by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, directed by John Caird (1999) Albert Speer by David Edgar, with Alex Jennings (2000) Blue/Orange
by Joe Penhall
Joe Penhall
directed by Roger Michell, with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Bill Nighy
Bill Nighy
and Andrew Lincoln
Andrew Lincoln
(2000) The Island by Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona, directed by Peter Brook
Peter Brook
and performed by Kani and Ntshona (2000) Far Side of the Moon written, directed and performed by Robert Lepage (2001) Humble Boy by Charlotte Jones directed by John Caird, with Simon Russell Beale (2001) South Pacific by Richard Rodgers
Richard Rodgers
and Oscar Hammerstein, directed by Trevor Nunn, with Philip Quast who won the 2002 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical (2001) The Winter's Tale
The Winter's Tale
by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
directed by Nicholas Hytner, with Alex Jennings and Phil Daniels (2001) Vincent in Brixton by Nicholas Wright, directed by Richard Eyre, with Clare Higgins (2002) The Coast of Utopia, a trilogy by Tom Stoppard, comprising: Voyage, Shipwreck and Salvage, directed by Trevor Nunn, with computerised video designs by William Dudley (2002) Anything Goes
Anything Goes
by Cole Porter, directed by Trevor Nunn, with John Barrowman and Sally Ann Triplett (2002) Dinner by Moira Buffini, with Harriet Walter, Nicholas Farrell and Catherine McCormack, directed by Fiona Buffini (2002)


Henry V by William Shakespeare, directed by Nicholas Hytner starring Adrian Lester (2003) Jerry Springer: The Opera, a musical by Stewart Lee
Stewart Lee
and Richard Thomas (2003) His Dark Materials, a two-part adaptation of Philip Pullman's novel directed by Nicholas Hytner starring Anna Maxwell Martin, Dominic Cooper, Patricia Hodge and Niamh Cusack (2003) The History Boys
The History Boys
by Alan Bennett
Alan Bennett
directed by Nicholas Hytner starring Richard Griffiths
Richard Griffiths
(2004) Coram Boy by Helen Edmundson, with Bertie Carvel and Paul Ritter (2005-2006)[36] Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Celebratory Performance directed by Nicholas Hytner and Angus MacKechnie. A one-off tribute to Lord Laurence Olivier, the National's first director, in his centenary year and starring Richard Attenborough, Claire Bloom, Rory Kinnear, and Alex Jennings (23 September 2007) War Horse based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford, directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, presented in association with Handspring (2007–2009) Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Nicholas Hytner, with Simon Russell Beale and Zoë Wanamaker
Zoë Wanamaker
(2007–2008) Never So Good by Howard Brenton, directed by Howard Davies with Jeremy Irons (2008) Mother Courage and Her Children, by Bertolt Brecht, with Fiona Shaw (2009) Phèdre
featuring Helen Mirren, Margaret Tyzack
Margaret Tyzack
and Dominic Cooper (2009) The Habit of Art, by Alan Bennett, with Richard Griffiths
Richard Griffiths
(2010) Frankenstein, directed by Danny Boyle
Danny Boyle
and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller
Jonny Lee Miller
(2011) One Man, Two Guvnors, based on Servant of Two Masters
Servant of Two Masters
by Richard Bean, with James Corden, directed by Nicholas Hytner (2011)[37] London
Road, a musical by Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork (2011) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Simon Stephens, adapted from the novel of the same name by Mark Haddon, with Luke Treadaway, Nicola Walker and Niamh Cusack (2012).[38] Othello
by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
with Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear, (2013) National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage, to celebrate the 50th anniversary a selection of scenes from various productions in the National Theatre's history, featuring Angels in America, One Man, Two Guvnors, London
Road, Jerry Springer: The Opera and Guys and Dolls, featuring Adrian Lester, Helen Mirren, Joan Plowright, Judi Dench, Rory Kinnear and Alex Jennings. (2013) King Lear
King Lear
by William Shakespeare, with Simon Russell Beale, directed by Sam Mendes
Sam Mendes


Everyman adapted by Carol Ann Duffy, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, directed by Rufus Norris (2015) People, Places & Things by Duncan MacMillan, directed by Jeremy Herrin, starring Denise Gough (2015) Cleansed by Sarah Kane, directed by Katie Mitchell
Katie Mitchell
(2016) The Threepenny Opera
The Threepenny Opera
by Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht
with music by Kurt Weill, a new adaptation by Simon Stephens, directed by Rufus Norris, starring Rosalie Craig
Rosalie Craig
and Rory Kinnear
Rory Kinnear
(2016) The Deep Blue Sea by Terence Rattigan, directed by Carrie Cracknell starring Helen McCrory
Helen McCrory
(2016) Amadeus by Peter Shaffer, directed by Michael Longhurst, starring Lucian Msamati
Lucian Msamati
and Adam Gillen (2016 and 2018) Hedda Gabler
Hedda Gabler
by Henrik Ibsen, directed by Ivo van Hove, starring Ruth Wilson, a re-working of the production previously staged at the Toneelgrope Amsterdam and the New York Theatre Workshop
New York Theatre Workshop
(2016) Angels in America
Angels in America
by Tony Kushner, directed by Marianne Elliot, starring Andrew Garfield, Denise Gough, James McArdle, Russell Tovey and Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane
(2017) Follies, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim
and book by James Goldman, directed by Dominic Cooke, starring Imelda Staunton, Janie Dee, Philip Quast and Tracie Bennett (2017; return engagement in 2019) Beginning by David Eldridge, directed by Polly Findlay (2017) Network, directed by Ivo van Hove, based on the Sidney Lumet
Sidney Lumet
film, adapted by Lee Hall, starring Bryan Cranston
Bryan Cranston
(2017) Pinocchio by Dennis Kelly, directed by John Tiffany, with songs and score from the Walt Disney film by Leigh Harline, Ned Washington, and Paul J. Smith, adapted by Martin Lowe (2017) John by Annie Baker, directed by James Macdonald (2018) The Winter's Tale
The Winter's Tale
by William Shakespeare, adapted by Justin Audibert (also the director of this production) and the company (2018) Macbeth
by William Shakespeare, directed by Rufus Norris, starring Anne-Marie Duff
Anne-Marie Duff
and Rory Kinnear
Rory Kinnear
(2018) The Great Wave by Francis Turnly, directed by Indhu Rubasingham, a co-production with the Tricycle Theatre
Tricycle Theatre
(2018) Absolute Hell by Rodney Ackland, directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins (2018) Nine Night by Natasha Gordon, directed by Roy Alexander Weise, starring Cecilia Noble (2018) Translations by Brian Friel, directed by Ian Rickson, starring Colin Morgan and Ciarán Hinds
Ciarán Hinds
(2018) Julie by Polly Stenham, directed by Carrie Cracknell, starring Vanessa Kirby (2018) An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, directed by Ned Bennett, a co-production with Orange Tree Theatre
Orange Tree Theatre
(2018) Exit the King
Exit the King
by Eugène Ionesco, adapted and directed by Patrick Marber, starring Rhys Ifans
Rhys Ifans
and Indira Varma
Indira Varma
(2018) The Lehman Trilogy by Stefano Massini, adapted by Ben Power, directed by Sam Mendes, starring Adam Godley, Ben Miles, and Simon Russell Beale, a co-production with Neal Street Productions (2018) Home, I'm Darling by Laura Wade, directed by Tamara Harvey, starring Katherine Parkinson, a co-production with Theatr Clwyd
Theatr Clwyd
(2018) Pericles by William Shakespeare, adapted by Chris Bush, directed by Emily Lim, the first Public Acts production (2018) Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra
by William Shakespeare, directed by Simon Godwin, starring Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Fiennes
and Sophie Okonedo
Sophie Okonedo
(2018) I'm not Running by David Hare, directed by Neil Armfield (2018) War Horse based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford, directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, presented in association with Handspring (limited return engagement in 2018)[40]


An artistic lighting scheme illuminating the exterior of the building

The statue of Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
as Hamlet
was unveiled in September 2007

The terrace entrance between the mezzanine restaurant level and the Olivier cloakroom level, reached from halfway up/down Waterloo Bridge

The main entrance on the ground floor

The ensemble shows a varying range of geometric relationships.

See also[edit]

National Youth Theatre National Theatre of Scotland National Theatre of Wales Wales Millennium Centre National Theatre of Ireland List of Royal National Theatre
Royal National Theatre
Company actors


^ "Home page". The National Theatre. Retrieved 29 November 2017. Welcome to the National Theatre  ^ Lister, David (11 January 2003). "Wales and Scotland need a cultural revolution". The Independent. London.  ^ "National Theatre Near You". Royal National Theatre. Archived from the original on 3 February 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2015.  ^ National Theatre Annual Report 2012-13 ^ Dramaticus The stage as it is (1847) ^ Effingham William Wilson A House for Shakespeare. A proposition for the consideration of the Nation and a Second and Concluding Paper (1848) ^ Woodfield, James (1984). English Theatre in Transition, 1881–1914: 1881–1914. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 95–107. ISBN 0-389-20483-8.  ^ a b c Findlater, Richard The Winding Road to King's Reach (1977), also in Callow. Retrieved 1 July 2008. ^ " Denys Lasdun
Denys Lasdun
and Peter Hall talk about the building". History of the NT. Royal National Theatre. Archived from the original on 22 July 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2009.  ^ "A portrait of achievement" (PDF). Sir Robert McAlpine. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 May 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2016.  ^ History of the Drum Revolve Archived 30 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine. at National Theatre website ^ Brown, Mark "National Theatre's Cottesloe venue to be renamed after £10m donor" The Guardian, 28 October 2010. Retrieved 5 December 2010. ^ a b National Theatre website. Retrieved 29 August 2014 ^ "national's doorman theatre open fatboy slim musical", The Stage. Retrieved 29 August 2014 ^ "Temporary Theatre". Royal National Theatre.  ^ "National Theatre reveals closing date for Temporary Theatre". The Stage. 19 April 2016.  ^ Carl Randall's ' London
Portraits' on display in National Portrait Gallery., The Royal Drawing School, London, 2016  ^ Actress Katie Leung
Katie Leung
and The Shed., Carl Randall's artist website, 2016  ^ Carl Randall's London
Portraits - Video Documentary., The Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation London, 2016  ^ London
Portraits - Video Documentary., Youtube, 2016  ^ Lithgow, John (13 January 2013). "A Lone Yank Takes Joy in Togetherness". The New York Times. p. AR7. Retrieved 16 May 2013.  ^ Pearman, Hugh (21 January 2001). "Gabion: The legacy of Lasdun 2/2". Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2008.  ^ "Detailed Record". Retrieved 25 April 2008.  ^ Rykwert, Joseph (12 January 2001). "Sir Denys Lasdun
Denys Lasdun
obituary". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 22 January 2007.  ^ "Welcome to National Theatre NT Future", Royal National Theatre. Retrieved 6 April 2013. ^ Charlotte Higgins, "Sir Nicholas Hytner to step down as National Theatre artistic director", The Guardian, 10 April 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2013. ^ "Sir Nicholas Hytner to leave National Theatre", BBC News, 10 April 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2013. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (28 November 2007). "National Theatre Studio: More power to theatre's engine room – Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 25 April 2008.  ^ "Collier to Head NT Studio", The British Theatre Guide, 20 October 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2013. ^ The Magistrate. Royal National Theatre. ^ "Watch This Space Festival", Royal National Theatre ^ "Watch This Space Festival", Royal National Theatre ^ "Watch this Space presents August Outdoors". Royal National Theatre. Archived from the original on 5 August 2013.  ^ Theatre programme for Happy Birthday, Sir Larry, dated 31 May 1987 ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/features/tolstoys-epic-novel-war-and-peace-has-been-reduced-to-just-a-few-hours-on-stage-779095.html ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/reviews/coram-boy-national-theatre-london-6229494.html ^ ''One Man, Two Guvnors'' Archived 8 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. Onemantwoguvnors.com. ^ ''The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time''. Royal National Theatre. ^ ''King Lear''. Royal National Theatre. ^ McPhee, Ryan (2018-02-21). "War Horse Will Return to London's National Theatre; Additional Season Casting Set Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2018-02-21. 


Elsom, John and Tomalin, Nicholas (1978): The History of the National Theatre. Jonathan Cape, London. ISBN 0-224-01340-8. Hall, Peter, (edited Goodwin, John) (1983): Peter Hall's Diaries: The Story of a Dramatic Battle (1972–79). Hamish Hamilton, London. ISBN 0-241-11047-5. Goodwin, Tim (1988), Britain's Royal National Theatre: The First 25 Years. Nick Hern Books, London. ISBN 1-85459-070-7. Callow, Simon (1997): The National: The Theatre and its Work, 1963–1997. Nick Hern Books, London. ISBN 1-85459-318-8.

Further reading[edit]

Rosenthal, Daniel (2013). The National Theatre Story. Oberon Books: London. ISBN 978-1-84002-768-6

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to National Theatre, London.

Official website NT Live NT Connections History of the National Theatre with archive images and press reports on the building at The Music Hall and Theatre Site dedicated to Arthur Lloyd Shakespeare
at the National Theatre, 1967–2012, compiled by Daniel Rosenthal, on Google Arts & Culture National Theatre’s Black Plays Archive, supported by Sustained Theatre and Arts Council England

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 137020540 ISNI: 0000 0004 0560 6036 GND: 1056182-1 SUDOC: 031994032 BNF: cb1231