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A picture of the Archive research room, people sifting through archive material and others sat at a computer with headphones

The National Theatre’s Archive holds all the organisation’s creative, technical and business records. It covers the movement to found the theatre and documents every production from opening night in 1963 right up to the present day.

From props to prompt scripts, photographs to recordings – the Archive holds a treasure trove of material relating to theatre and performance. If that sounds like heaven to you, the Archive is free and open to everyone by appointment.

Donate to support our free Archive 

Are you interested in volunteering at the National Theatre Archive?

Gain valuable insight into how an archive is managed.

Find out how you can get involved


We have an online catalogue (this link opens in new window), which can be used to search for items of interest. We provide research space for individuals and groups of up to 65.

Please book your visit via the booking form (this link opens in a new window). We are open for individual and group bookings on Mondays to Thursdays, 10am–1pm and 2–5pm.

For group visits of up to 25, please use the booking form. For groups of 25–60, please email

For other enquiries:

Get in touch via the Archive contact form.


The Archive research room is on the first floor level and is accessible via a lift.

If you have any access requirements, please mention them on the Archive contact form

Captions and audio description are available for some production recordings.

Please ask the team for more information.



Phone: +44 (0)20 7452 3135

Address: National Theatre Archive, NT Studio, 83–101 The Cut, London SE1 8LL. We are next door to the Old Vic Theatre and a three-minute walk from Waterloo Station. Click here to see our location on Google maps (link opens in a new tab).

Video introductions to the Archive

Photo of a desk with a hand writing on a notepad and National Theatre programmes, including Atttempts on Her Life, and other indistinct objects.
Play Video

About the Archive

Play Video

Access the Archive

Archive Unboxed: tours

Rows of poster tubes sitting on top of red archive drawers labelled 'Olivier' and 'Lyttelton Posters'
The National Theatre Archive Unboxed tour gives you a chance to get hands-on with our history. The tour includes an overview of what the Archive collects and what it does. There is also a chance to see our public research spaces and basement stores. 
Tickets are £10. Capacity is 15 people per tour. These tours take place at the Archive located on The Cut, next to the Old Vic. 
Click on a selected date below to get your tickets. 

11am, Wednesday 20 March 2024

Book here for the Unboxed tour on 20 March

12pm, Monday 15 April 2024

Book here for the Unboxed tour on 15 April

Black Plays Archive

The Black Plays Archive is an online catalogue of the first professional theatre production in the UK of plays written by African, Caribbean and Black British playwrights.

It includes a searchable database and essays from prominent Black British writers and academics.

You can also watch video interviews with playwrights such as Roy Williams and download educational resource packs for selected works (which you can also find on our Teacher Resource page).

Black Plays Archive

The writer Winsome Pinnock during rehearsals for her play, Leave Taking, in 1995 - holding a hot drink whilst someone points a pencil at a script

Winsome Pinnock during Leave Taking rehearsals, 1995
Photo © Richard H Smith

In Search of Greek Theatre

Step inside the National Theatre’s Archive for this video collection on Greek tragedy.

The collection features short films on four seminal National Theatre productions: Antigone (2012), Medea (2014), The Oresteia (1981) and The Oresteia (1999). The series is presented by Dr Lucy Jackson (Assistant Professor Greek Literature, Durham University) and Erin Lee (Head of Archive, National Theatre).

Watch In Search of Greek Theatre

A group of people in masks performing onstage in 'The Oresteia' at the National Theatre in 1981.
'The Oresteia' at the National Theatre, 1981. Adapted by Tony Harrison. Directed by Peter Hall. Photograph by Nobby Clark.

The Jocelyn Herbert collection

Our funders

The Mohn Westlake Foundation supports nationwide Learning programmes for young people.

Nationwide learning is supported by Buffini Chao Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Clore Duffield Foundation, Tim and Sarah Bunting, Behrens Foundation, Cleopatra Trust and Milton Grundy Foundation.

Find out more about supporting our work

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