Olivier Theatre, National

Olivier Theatre, National

South Bank, London, SE1 9PX

The Olivier Theatre takes its name from the first artistic director of the National Theatre, Laurence Olivier. The auditorium was designed to resemble the theatre at Epidaurus in Greece, with the seating arranged in a fan-like fashion around a circular stage. The stage itself is famous for its drum-revolve, a 1970s innovation which enables the stage to effectively be split into two (often hidden from the audience's view) allowing scenic changes to take place underneath the stage and then be rotated into place within seconds, ensuring that scenic changes do not slow down the pace of the drama enfolding on stage.  The Olivier Theatre is the largest of the three auditoriums at the National Theatre.


The auditorium has two levels, Stalls and Circle, both of which are steeply raked, offering exceptional views from all seats. Whilst a fairly large auditorium, with seating for 1,150 people, the Olivier Theatre still manages to feel rather intimate, guaranteeing a connection with the actors on stage.

Of note, the first three rows in the Stalls do not have arm rests and are slightly narrower seats. These rows may have slightly obstructed views, depending on the design of the production.

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