The National Theatre (Theatre)

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In our three theatres on the South Bank in London, the National presents an eclectic mix of new plays and classics, with seven or eight productions in repertory at any one time. It aims constantly to re-energise the great traditions of the British stage and to expand the horizons of audiences and artists alike. It aspires to reflect in its repertoire the diversity of our culture. At the Studio, the National offers a space for research and development for the NT's stages and the theatre as a whole. Through the NT Education department, tomorrow's audiences are addressed. Through an extensive programme of Platform performances, backstage tours, foyer music, exhibitions and free outdoor entertainment it recognises that the theatre doesn't begin and end with the rise and fall of the curtain. And by touring, the national shares its work with audiences in the UK and abroad.

The National's first performance - with Peter O'Toole as Hamlet - was given in 1963, under Laurence Olivier's Directorship.

For its first 13 years, the Company worked at the Old Vic Theatre, while waiting for its new home to be completed. In 1976, under Peter Hall, the move took place and the building was opened by The Queen. Since its inception, the National has presented nearly 500 plays, and several different productions can be seen in any one week. Successors to Peter Hall as Director of the Royal National Theatre have been Richard Eyre from 1988 to 1997, Trevor Nunn from 1997 to 2003 and Nicholas Hytner who took over in April 2003.

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Alternative Company Names

  • The Royal National Theatre
  • The National
  • Royal National Theatre
  • National Theatre England
  • National Theatre Company