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The Royal National Theatre in London, commonly known as the National Theatre (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.
From its foundation in 1963 until 1976, the company was based at The Old Vic theatre in Waterloo. The current building is located next to the Thames in the South Bank area of central London. In addition to performances at the National Theatre building, the National Theatre tours productions at theatres across the United Kingdom.
Permission to add the "Royal" prefix to the name of the theatre was given in 1988, but the full title is rarely used. The theatre presents a varied programme, including Shakespeare, 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 75% (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.
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National Theatre Reviews
I’ve seen plays in all three theatres at the national. The Olivier is the largest and is a good venue. Almost every play is an excuse to show that the stage can rotate and scenery can emerge from... more »
We toured on March 5th 2020, taken around by the delightful Sarah. Her keen enthusiasm for her work and her clear and abiding love of Theatre was infectious. She brought the tour to,life with lots of.... more »
The NT is part of a complex of buildings on the South Bank of the Thames. It is a great place to spend time in comfort with a coffee and cake, listening to free live music, especially jazz. Nice cafe and shop, some restaurants in case you want a full meal. Lots of paid parking under cover. Very accessible. Great bookstall on the embankment just outside the National Film Theatre.
Amazing theatre! I went to see Anthony and Cleopatra and thought the performance was outstanding. I used the parking garage easily and managed to get my parking validated so I didn’t have to pay any extra. The staff were friendly and helpful to find my seat. I would definable come here again!
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