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Key facts and figures

Key facts and figures

  • The National Theatre building, designed by Sir Denys Lasdun, stands next to Waterloo Bridge on the South Bank of the Thames. It houses three auditoriums: the Olivier, a large open stage with a fan-shaped auditorium, seating 1100; the Lyttelton, a proscenium stage, seating 900; and the Dorfman (formerly known as the Cottesloe), seating up to 450. Spacious foyers and terraces overlook the river, with many restaurants and bars on site. The National Theatre building is open to the public Monday - Saturday, 52 weeks a year, from 9.30am to 11pm.


  • The National Theatre houses not just three auditoriums, but also rehearsal rooms, set-building and scenic-painting workshops, costume- and prop-making and digital design. The NT is a creative hub with over 1000 people working on its five-acre site. 


  • Since its inception in 1963, the National Theatre has presented over 800 productions. Some transfer to the West End and to Broadway; we also tour the UK and internationally, and broadcast productions in cinemas across the globe. In 2014-15 the NT staged 25 productions and gave 3,380 performances in the UK and internationally; it employed 628 actors and musicians in the UK.


  • In 2014-15, the National Theatre's audience reached 4.1 million worldwide. 46% of the UK audience of 2.9 million were outside London; more people saw NT shows on tour in the UK than on the South Bank. 


  • In 2014-15, audience attendance was 90% at the NT, with 29% being first-time bookers. A net surplus of £1.3million was achieved on an income of £117m, of which 68% was box office receipts.  Arts Council funding has declined 25% in real terms since 2010-11, representing 15% of turnover.


  • Travelex Tickets Seasons launched in 2003. Sponsored by the foreign exchange specialist, Travelex, and covering productions in the Olivier and/or Lyttelton Theatres over the summer months, the season offers hundreds of tickets for every performance at £15 (from 2003 - 2010, tickets were priced at £10, and from 2011 - 2013 they were £12).


  • NT Live broadcasts around 12 productions a year, with over 2,000 venues worldwide broadcasting NT productions in 50 countries (including 600 venues in the UK). Over 4 million people have seen NT Live productions since the programme's inception in 2009.


  • Entry Pass is a free scheme providing discounted tickets for 16-25 year-olds for every performance.


  • The National has been awarded over 450 major drama awards since its move to the South Bank in 1976.


  • The National produces digital resources about theatre, including online videos, podcasts and audio recordings, available on the NT website and other platforms, including: iTunes, Soundcloud and YouTube. There's also an award-winning app, 50 Years of the National Theatre.


  • Opening the Clore Learning Centre in 2014 saw expanded programmes for schools, young people, families, community groups and adult learners. The nationwide youth theatre festival Connections and playwriting competition New Views engage thousands of young people around the country. Over 2000 secondary schools signed up to the free streaming service, On Demand in Schools since its launch in September 2015.


  • The 2015 NT Future £80million redevelopment programme, transformed facilities the National offers audiences and artists, enhanced our relationship with Southbank and placed education at the heart of our mission. Since the National opened its doors on the South Bank in 1976, there have been significant changes to the way we make, experience and learn through theatre. NT Future responded by opening up our building, allowing audiences closer engagement with the theatre, both on stage and behind the scenes. 


  • The National Theatre is a registered charity number 224223.


Highlights from the latest Annual Review are listed on the left. Full details are available on the Annual Review website.