The oldest and first dedicated online London theatre guide News and tickets for over 250 West End & off-West End showsFollow us for the latest theatre news Twitter

New LT Logo

Why the National Theatre River Stage Festival is the London summer event you need to attend

Find out more about the National Theatre's outdoor summer festival on the South Bank.

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

The National Theatre is an integral part of London's theatre scene. Dozens of shows, events, and talks take place at the South Bank-based theatre every year, with thousands of attendees walking through the National Theatre's doors to see a world-class show. National Theatre shows often go down in theatre history: One Man, Two Guvnors, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and The Lehman Trilogy went on to win multiple awards.

There are three theatres inside the National Theatre: the Olivier Theatre, the Lyttelton Theatre, and the Dorfman Theatre. But what if the National Theatre showcased the joy of British theatre outside the auditorium?

Enter the River Stage Festival. The River Stage Festival celebrates the best of British theatre on the South Bank. The River Stage Festival invites nationwide arts and performance companies to present their latest works in the hopes of introducing all types of theatre and performance art to the general public. As well as live theatre, there’s also activities and talks to get involved in.

The National Theatre River Stage Festival returns to the South Bank for the first time since 2019. The event runs over five weekends from 15 July - 14 August, with each weekend led by a different company. It's free to take part in the River Stage Festival too, so you can attend every weekend and see the best of British theatre without breaking the bank.

Find out more about the River Stage Festival at the National Theatre. Check out all the events taking place at the National Theatre on the South Bank as part of the River Stage Festival in 2022.

The Glory - 750 - LT

River Stage 2022: The Glory

The Glory is the first weekend in the National Theatre River Stage Festival. Discover more about 'The Glory' events and performances below.

What is The Glory weekend?

The Glory weekend returns to the River Stage! The Glory celebrates contributions and the importance of drag artists and cabaret performers in the British theatre scene.

During ‘The Glory’ weekend, famous drag performers will take to the River Stage showcasing the versatility of drag and LGBTQ+ art. There’s also sing and dance-a-longs, DJ sets from prominent artists, and life drawing classes. Discover something new in The Glory.

Who will star in The Glory weekend?

Check out nationwide drag stars taking over the National Theatre’s River Stage during ‘The Glory’ weekend. Stand-up comedy queen and Britain’s Got Talent finalist Myra DuBois shares her latest characters and sing-alongs in a one-off 30-minute set. There’s also appearances from performance artists Dr. Adam Perchard, Helen Noir, Ms Sharon Le Grand, and Sooz Kempner.

During the three-day event, there’s also catwalks led by drag kings and drag queens, plenty of sing-along events, as well as a large-scale life-drawing class led by James Davison. The weekend ends with a Sunday “Afternoon at the Musicals” from the Ebony and Ivory of Drag.

When is The Glory weekend taking place?

'The Glory' takes place at the National Theatre River Stage from 15 - 17 July.

HOME - 750 - LT

River Stage 2022: HOME

HOME is the second weekend in the National Theatre River Stage Festival. Discover more about 'HOME' events and performances below.

What is the HOME weekend?

The ‘HOME’ weekend brings Manchester to the South Bank. The Northern city takes over the West End in spectacular fashion, complete with music, family shows, spoken words, and DJs. Expect iconic Britpop songs like “Wonderwall,” “Parklife,” and “Bittersweet Symphony” as the musical backdrop for a weekend with plenty of Northern soul.

Who will star in the HOME weekend?

The ‘HOME’ weekend kicks off with Manchester’s finest royalty — drag queen Donna Trump. Let the house party vibes continue with a kicking set from world-renowned DJ, DJ Paulette. During the weekend, there’s lot of family-friendly shows suitable for all ages: Me and My Bee introduces environmental issues tok kids, session musician Lakshmi takes to the mic, and Manchester poetry collective Young Identity bring their words to the stage.

When is the HOME weekend taking place?

‘HOME’ takes place at the National Theatre River Stage from 22 - 24 July.

Hackney Empire - 750 - LT

River Stage 2022: Hackney Empire Young Producers Weekend

Hackney Empire Young Producers lead the third weekend in the National Theatre River Stage Festival. Discover more about Hackney Empire Young Producers events and performances below.

What is Hackney Empire Young Producers weekend?

London’s theatres aren’t just limited to the West End. There’s plenty of vibrant off-West End theatres showcasing the power of theatre. See Off-West End theatre in London.

As Hackney Empire celebrates 120 years, the Hackney Empire Young Producers will take over the River Stage for a three-day event. All aged between 14 - 21, the Hackney Empire Young Producers demonstrate the future of British theatremaking and programming. Enjoy a bespoke weekend curated with local music, dance, spoken word, and games. The future is here with Hackney Empire Young Producers.

Who will star in Hackney Empire Young Producers weekend?

The Hackney Empire Young Producers weekend include performances from London dance crews Lit Youth and Boy Blue. The local communities also show up throughout the weekend too, with performances from Movement Factory, a sing-off between Hackney Borough Youth Choir, Haringey Vox and Hackney Empire Community Choir, and a Generation Gameshow Cabaret to bring different ages together. Watch out for the secret alumni performance on the Saturday evening — you’ll have to attend the Hackney Empire Young Producers Weekend to find out more.

When is Hackney Empire Young Producers weekend taking place?

The Hackney Empire Young Producers Weekend takes place at the National Theatre River Stage from 29 - 31 July.

Hofesh - 750 - LT

River Stage 2022: Hofesh Shechter Company

The Hofesh Shechter Company lead the fourth weekend in the National Theatre River Stage Festival. Discover more about Hofesh Shechter Company events and performances below.

What is the Hofesh Shechter Company weekend?

The Hofesh Shecther Company aims to break boundaries through inspiring dance routines and showcase how movement can bring people together. Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter founded the self-named company in 2008. Their previous repertoire includes Survivor, Untouchable, and Political Mother Unplugged.

In 2016, Hofesh Shecther earned a Tony Award for choreographing Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway. Don't miss your chance to see Hofesh Shecther's choreography performed live in London.

Who will star in the Hofesh Shechter Company weekend?

The Hofesh Shechter Company Weekend will showcase the company’s finest dance productions. Catch snippets of past shows including the 2018 productions titled Show and Clowns, as well as Contemporary Dance 2.0 performed by the current Hofesh Shechter cohort. Want to get involved? Try your hand at contemporary dance workshops and percussion workshops taking place over the weekend. Every night is capped off by DJ GOLDEN RATIФ who will play a wide variety of music to allow you to be in tune with your inner self.

When is the Hofesh Shechter Company weekend taking place?

The Hofesh Shechter Company Weekend takes place at the National Theatre River Stage from 5 - 7 August. .

Jack Absolute Flies Again - 1200 - LT - 080722

River Stage 2022: National Theatre

The National Theatre lead the fifth and final weekend in the National Theatre River Stage Festival. Discover more about National Theatre events and performances below.

What is the National Theatre weekend?

The River Stage Festival culminates with a weekend focused around the National Theatre. The flagship London theatre is a destination for world-class entertainment. During the National Theatre weekend, audiences can discover more about the latest shows and how to become involved in the arts.

The National Theatre will be open during the weekend, so if you like something, why not venture into the National Theatre and see a National Theatre show? Find out more about the National Theatre in London.

Who will star in the National Theatre weekend?

The National Theatre weekend kicks off with a variety show to rival the Royal Variety Performance. Expect to see the UK’s finest comedians and performers, all led by Diane and Ron and their mobile karaoke.

There’s also workshops from ZooNation and Kate Prince, a puppet-making workshop courtesy of Little Angel Theatre, and the summery choir Some Voices. On the Saturday, there’s a live stream of Jack Absolute Flies Again, the current play in the Olivier Theatre. In a London Theatre review, Jack Absolute Flies Again is a vivid romp and pure summer fizz. Make sure you see Jack Absolute on stage. Spend a summer evening in front of the National Theatre's big screen and catch the latest play taking over London.

When is the National Theatre weekend taking place?

The National Theatre Weekend takes place at the National Theatre River Stage from 12 - 14 August.

Photo credit: Hofesh Shechter Company (Photo by Tom Visser)

Originally published on

This website uses cookies.