Olivier Theatre, National
(10mins) Follow signs for exits to the South Bank. This should lead you to an underground pedestrian passage called ‘Sutton Walk’ that emerges at the South Bank. Turn right and walk along the river Thames until you see the National Theat
When it comes to the London theatre scene, the National Theatre regularly stages some of the most acclaimed work in the country and many of these shows find pride of place in the biggest of the venue’s theatres – the Olivier. The venue is named after the renowned actor Laurence Olivier, whose name is also leant to the most prestigious awards ceremony on the London theatre calendar the Laurence Olivier Awards – and can house more than 1,000 people in its auditorium. The venue has been the home of some of the most famous shows to appear at the National Theatre and its work is often broadcast to cinemas across the UK as part of the National Theatre Live.
Some of the shows to appear over the years have been highly publicised, whether it is the 2011 production of “Frankenstein” which saw film director Danny Boyle return to the stage after some time away, or the 2007-2009 production of “War Horse” that would subsequently transfer to the West End. The latter has earned an abundance of admirers during its time, not only for the wonderful performances of its cast and the hard work of its crew, but also for the impressive puppet work on display in bringing Joey the Horse to life. Other shows include “Death and the King’s Horsemen” in 2009, “Mother Courage and Her Children” in 2009 and “The Cherry Orchard” in 2011.
“Death and the King’s Horsemen” looked at the British rule of Nigeria during the 1940s, with the Empire intact and its influence stopping the ritualistic suicide of the chief’s horseman in the Yoruba tribe, prompting many questions in the community.
The venue is likely to continue to welcome an array of further acclaimed shows as time goes on, with the venue regularly attracting some big names to its stage. As such the Olivier National stands up alongside its sister venue the Cottesloe and the Lyttelton as an important part of the London theatre scene.
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