National Theatre

Denys Lasdun & Partners, London, 1976


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View from Waterloo Bridge 

Martin Charles     Download Original

  • View from Waterloo Bridge    
  • Exterior walkway    
  • River Thames and the National Theatre    
  • Theatre at night    
  • Rear view from upper ground    
  • Foyer    
  • Olivier auditorium    
  • Olivier supporting stage    
  • Rehearsal room    
  • Cable drums grid    
  • Site plan and access    
  • Site plan    
  • Entrance hall level plan    
  • Olivier theatre stage level plan    
  • Olivier theatre stalls level plan    
  • Cottesloe theatre arrangements    
  • Lyttleton theatre plan    
  • Olivier theatre plan    
  • Upper theatre plan    
  • Section through Cottesloe theatre    
  • Section through upper and lower auditorium    
  • Aerial view of model    
  • Model from Somerset house    
  • Model from Waterloo bridge    
  • Model of Proscenium theatre    
  • Model of upper theatre    
  • Model of vehicular and pedistrian access    

Theatre with three auditoria that forms a major part of the South Bank arts centre, situated next to the Thames

The building is predominately concrete, containing three theatres with a total of 2,400 seats, two restaurants, eight bars, 49 air-conditioned dressing rooms, scenery and wardrobe stores, offices, workshops and parking for 400 cars, together with foyers, galleries and riverside terraces.

The two largest spaces, the 1160-seat Olivier and the 890-seat Lyttelton auditoria, occupy the main part of the building and have foyers overlooking the river which are approached from a shared entrance accessible from car park, road and terrace. The smaller Cottesloe Theatre, which was designed to accommodate up to 400 people, has a separate entrance on the east side of the building and is self-contained.

The two main theatres are designed to complement each other, together giving the widest possible range of dramatic possibilities. Each was provided with the considerable amount of mechanical equipment, backstage space and rehearsal facilities needed for the efficient and economical presentation of a wide repertoire.


  • Begun: Nov 1969
  • Completed: Oct 1976
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £20M
  • Funding: Central Government, apart from a contribution by the Greater London Council of £5.7m
  • Address: National Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX, United Kingdom

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