UK – London – National Theatre

The Royal National Theatre in London consists of three main venues, along with a labyrinthine backstage area with workshops, dressing rooms and technical facilities.

Dates: 1976 – present
Architect: Denys Lasdun

  • Lyttleton – Proscenium Arch theatre
  • Dorfman – 300 seat intimate auditorium, used as an experimental space. The auditorium can be reconfigured as necessary.
  • Olivier – 1200 seat auditorium. Huge thrust stage with a complex drum revolve and lift mechanism on stage.
    • Rehearsal Room One (the size of the Olivier stage) also contains a revolve, so that actors can work on the set, as close as possible to how it will be on the stage next door.

A Sense of Theatre
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In 2024, Richard Pilbrow’s glorious book A Sense Of Theatre was published, which documents in incredible detail the history, technology and evolution of this wonderful building. 

Artistic Directors of the National Theatre

  • 1962 – 1973: Laurence Olivier (A company resident at the Old Vic)
  • 1973 – 1988: Peter Hall
  • 1988 – 1997: Richard Eyre
  • 1997 – 2003: Trevor Nunn
  • 2003 – 2015: Nicholas Hytner
  • 2015 – present: Rufus Norris

Tour of the National Theatre with Nicholas Hytner

Official website:

Links to information about equipment at National Theatre, London over the years

  • VCS3 (EMS Electronic Music Studios (London) Ltd.)
  • Documents

    National Theatre Lightboard Modulation Trolley
    National Theatre Lightboard Modulation Trolley 
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [591kb  JPEG]
    From Alan Luxford Collection

    The National Theatre - Arthur Lloyd 
    [External Website]
    From Arthur Lloyd website

    NT: Lighting up the Future (October 2015)
    [External Website]
    From Lighting & Sound International

    LSI - The National Theatre 40 Years of Tech (November 2017)
    [2.53Mb PDF]
    From Lighting & Sound International

    Classic Gear: A Sense of Theatre (December 2023)
    [External Website]
    From Lighting & Sound International

    Mentions of National Theatre, London in indexed journals