Discover the backstage world of the National Theatre


Fans of the stage will be pleased to discover one of London’s top theatres is offering people the chance to find out more about what goes on backstage.

The National Theatre puts on numerous productions each year and there is constant work being done to prepare for each performance. Therefore, visitors are being given the opportunity to go on special guided tours to get a glimpse into the hidden world behind the red curtains.

Currently, the leading venue is undergoing a major revamp as part of an £83 million project to dramatically improve indoor and outside facilities.

It is hoped that the tours will give an in-depth look into how the work is changing the theatre and the benefits it is expected to bring.

Tickets for the tours cost £8.50 each, and £7.50 for concessions and groups larger than eight people. Bookings can be made online via the National Theatre’s website.

The tour lasts around 1 hour and 15 minutes in total.

Visitors may also be interested in the Up Late tours, which take place every Monday evening. People are given the chance to discover the route above the Olivier Theatre. Lasting 45 minutes, the tour costs £10 each and ventures into confined spaces and reaches significant heights.

If considering the tour, you are advised to wear sensible footwear, although torches, hard-hats and high-vis vests will be provided. Tickets must be booked in advance and the tours are not open to those aged under 18.

However, there are special family tours on offer during the half-term and school holidays. Lasting around an hour, they are open to children aged between five and 12, with tickets costing £8.50 per adult – up to three children can go free per paying adult.

The tour gives *visitors the chance to learn more about the array of different props used in productions, to try on some costumes from past shows and peak into unseen and backstage areas.

Opened in 1963, the first production at the National Theatre was Hamlet starring Peter O’Toole, since then it has produced more than 800 plays and relocated to its current site in 1976.

Shows put on at the venue are varied and are performed by more than 150 actors in front of annual live audiences of around 600,000 people.

Some productions have even larger viewings, due to the NT Live cinema broadcasts, which transmit the action to special cinema screenings around the UK.

Visitors staying in central London hotels will find the National Theatre close to London Waterloo London Underground station and mainline rail station.

A trip to the theatre can also be combined with the Southbank’s wide range of attractions, including the British Film Institute, the Hayward Gallery and the Royal Festival Hall.