In 1902 the need for a national theatre was considered for the first time and London Shakespeare League was established for this purpose. They started working on the project and finally in 1963, the foundation of the National Theatre was laid at the Old Vic theatre in Waterloo, and it started working with the world famous play Hamlet. In 1976, after the construction of the new building at Southbank, the company shifted to the current location. On its silver jubilee, "ROYAL" was added to the name.
Royal National Theatre is continuously improving and updating its facilities and back stage equipment and technologies. It is now self sufficient and able to work without any funding from the government. It annually produces almost 20 plays, many musical events and exhibitions.
Things to do at Royal National Theatre:
National Theatre stages Shakespeare classics and also new plays of modern writers. For different kind of productions, three theatres are available.
- The main auditorium, Olivier Theatre, has an open stage, 1,150 seats, a flying system and drum revolve technology that makes it one of its kind.
- The Lyttelton Theatre is a traditional theatre with a proscenium stage and can accommodate 890 people.
- The Cottesloe Theatre is the smallest of three with a capacity of only 400 audiences and yet has quite a few facilities. This studio style theatre has hosted many plays.
Other highlights of National Theatre are described below.
- In summers, the forecourts of the building host open-air performances.
- Building terraces and lobbies host multiple activities. The foyer space is available for informal performances. It displays live music performances on daily basis and also has many restaurants and bars to entertain the visitors of National Theatre.
- The foyer space also has a large bookshop with a wide collection of theatrical material. It also hosts free productions for community and educational purpose.
- Backstage tours are also arranged daily.
- Fly Tower is another highlight of this theatre that is covered with grass. It is used to store sets of the plays during other shows going on. Its cables have a capacity of 200 kg each.
- Since 2009, the theatre started broadcasting its live productions internationally to 22 countries which is for the first time in the world. This project is called NT Live.
For Booking at Royal National Theatre:
Below given is the contact information for booking and tickets.
Contact Number: +44 20 7452 3000
Group bookings: +44 20 7452 3010
To get online tickets, click here.
Theatre timings from Monday to Saturday are 9:30 am to 10:45 pm and on Sunday, it opens at 12 noon and closes at 6 pm.
How to Reach Royal National Theatre:
Waterloo tube station is the nearest one to reach National Theatre. The distance between the station and destination is 0.3 miles. Exit towards Southbank and a six minutes walk through Waterloo Road leads the guests to the Theatre. View map.
Nearest bus stop is Royal Festival Hall (Stop Q) at Waterloo Road where bus number RV1 arrives and Theatre is just a minute’s walk away with 404 feet of distance.