Sir Denys Lasdun and Peter Softley designed the National Theatre, and Queen Elizabeth II opened the theatre in 1976. It is a publicly funded performing arts hub, comprising of three auditoriums - The Olivier, The Lyttelton, and the Dorfman.
There are also rehearsal spaces on site, and workshops for set construction and painting, costume construction and prop making. Shows are usually run in repertoire, meaning that each auditorium has the ability to house up to three different productions concurrently. The National also hosts several Platform performances where discussions take place with various people in the industry.
The National complex has several cafes/bars, restaurant, and a bookshop. Before a show there are free live acts in the Olivier foyer, as well as several free exhibitions. Back Stage Tours are also available most days.
Railway station: Waterloo
Bus numbers: 1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 76, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 243, 341, 521, X68
Car park: National Theatre basement, accessed from Upper Ground Opening times: 6am to 12 midnight (Mon – Fri) and 7am to 12 midnight (Sat and Sun)
Directions from tube: The National Theatre is on the South Bank, just minutes from Covent Garden, the West End and Waterloo. The main entrance is on the riverside walkway.