NATIONAL THEATRE
South Bank,
London, SE1 9PX

Royal National Theatre on London's South Bank

The Royal National Theatre (generally known as the National Theatre or The National) is situated on the South Bank of the River Thames next to Waterloo Bridge in Central London.

Along with the Royal Shakespeare Company it is one of the UK’s two most prominent publicly funded theatre companies.

From 1963 until 1976 the company was based at the Old Vic Theatre in Waterloo. The current building was designed by Sir Denys Lasdun and Peter Softley and comprises three stages, which opened between 1976 and 1977.

The National Theatre building houses three separate auditoria which present a varied programme with a number of new plays by contemporary playwrights. Each auditorium in the theatre can run up to three shows in repertoire which increases the number of plays which can be put on during any one season. They are:

The Olivier Theatre (named after the theatre's first artistic director, Laurence Olivier) which is the main auditorium with an open stage and a fan-shaped audience seating area for 1,160 people. A five-storey drum revolving stage section extends eight metres beneath the stage and its design ensures that the audience's view is not blocked.

The Lyttelton Theatre (named after Oliver Lyttelton, the National Theatre's first board Chairman): it has a proscenium-arch design and can accommodate an audience of 890.

The Cottesloe Theatre (named after Lord Cottesloe, Chairman of the South Bank Theatre board) is a small and adaptable studio space designed by Iain Mackintosh. It can hold up to 400 people depending on the seating configuration

The riverside frontage of the theatre is used for regular open-air performances during the summer months. The terraces and foyers of the theatre complex are also used for one off concerts and performances.

The National Theatre's foyers are open to the public and offer a large theatrical bookshop, restaurants, bars and exhibition spaces. Backstage tours run throughout the day, and there is live music every day in the foyer before performances.

The National also has a Studio which plays a vital role in developing work for the National's stages and British theatre in general. Writers and actors can use it explore, experiment and devise new work.

HOW TO GET TO THE NATIONAL THEATRE


Click on map to enlarge image

underground
Tube :Embankment/Covent Garden
Train: Waterloo/Southwark
buses to Her Majesty's Theatre

1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 76, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 243, 341, 521, X68, Riverside Bus (RV1 - which also stops on Upper Ground which runs by the back of the National Theatre). 77 (Upper Ground near the Festival Hall), 211 & 507 (Waterloo Road near the main station), 381 (Stamford Street). 45, 63 & 100 all stop at the southern end of Blackfriars Bridge, and there is a 10 minute walk along the riverside to the National.

nearest car park

National Theatre car park opening times are 06:00 to 01:00 am. Spaces in the basement car park are £7.50 after 5.00pm or if you attend a daytime ticketed event and leave before 19:00 . Combined matinee and evening show rate £12. Validation must be obtained from the Information Desk. Sundays/public holidays: up to 1 hour free, or £7.50 all day.


DISABLED ACCESS TO THE NATIONAL THEATRE

Audio-described performances and touch tours for visually impaired people and captioned performances for deaf or partially hearing visitors. There are seats at the front of each auditorium for visually impaired people.
Guide dogs are permitted inside the auditorium
Available
The cloakroom is 11 steps up from the nearest lift on Level 1. There's a chair lift, but if you're a wheelchair-user or have limited mobility we advise you to use the Lyttelton Cloakroom on the ground floor.