Something is always happening, day and night, at The National Theatre. Even when plays are not being produced on its main stages, it's easy to stop in at the National, with its bars, cafes, restaurant and shop, to see what's going on, to meet friends or to relax after a day of sightseeing on London's South Bank.
The National is open Monday to Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. year round. Sunday openings, from noon to 6 p.m. are listed on the National Theatre calendar.
Here's what else you can find at the National Theatre:
- Free Exhibitions - art and photography, jewelry and artisan craftwork, painting, theatrical memorabilia. There are usually two or three free exhibitions being staged around the building
- Free music - Daily concerts in foyer at 5:45 p.m. and before Saturday matinees, feature small combos and ensembles; singers, jazz musicians, flameco guitarists. Take your chances or check out the music webpage to see what's on.
- Platforms - Pre-performance events, beginning at 6 p.m., might include talks by playwrights, directors and actors; short plays and play readings.
- Backstage Tours - A thrilling experience and a great treat for an aspiring thespian
- The NT Bookshop Playwright Dave Hare called this, "the most varied and complete performing arts bookshop in the English-speaking world". It's certainly a great place to browse and if a book on theatre is in print, they'll find it for you.
- Wining and Dining The National has two bookable, full service restaurants, serving meals before performances, as well as a number of bars and cafes where you can have a coffee and cake during the day, a drink or a light meal before the show.
- Outdoor events - Throughout the summer, free theatre, circus, music, dance and comedy performances are staged in Theatre Square and other open spaces around the National Theatre's landmark building. Open air films are often shown as well.
National Theatre Essentials
- Where: South Bank, London,SE1 9PX
- Information Line: +44 (0)207 452 3400
- Box Office: +44 (0)207 452 3000
- Getting there:
- By Tube:The theatre is next to Waterloo Bridge, within walking distance of Waterloo, Southwark, Embankment and Covent Garden Underground stations.
- By Bus:Check the TFL website to plan a bus journey on one of the numerous routes that pass nearby.
- By Car: Underground parking is reasonably priced during theatre-going hours.