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Dorfman Theatre seating as viewed from the stage, in steep rake configuration

The Dorfman Theatre (formerly the Cottesloe Theatre) is the smallest and most flexible of the National Theatre auditoriums. It is a rectangular room, which can hold up to 450 people.

There are three levels in the Dorfman auditorium; the Pit, the Circle and the Gallery:

The Pit has a flexible seating system that can be raised and lowered in minutes, to either a steep or shallow rake format; or the seats can be folded away completely to become a flat floor.

Performances can be staged in a conventional format with the stage at one end; in “traverse”, where the seating is in two banks facing each other, lengthways or across the space; or in-the-round, with the stage surrounded on all sides by the seating.

The Circle and Gallery levels are on three sides of the room, looking down on the Pit and stage. These are fixed and are reminiscent of the inn-yards that were used as performance areas before Shakespeare’s era.

For directions to the National Theatre, go to Getting to the National Theatre page.

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The flexibility of the staging means that the seating is different for almost every different production, and we therefore do not have seating plans available online. If you are in doubt about the suitability of a particular seat and whether it may have a restricted view, please call the Box Office on 020 7452 3060.

The Dorfman entrance is on the east side of the National Theatre, on Stage Door Avenue, opposite the IBM building.

The Dorfman foyer and auditorium has a cafe/bar and a cloakroom and is open from one hour before performance times, however the main building is open from 10am.

The box office for the Dorfman theatre is on the ground floor of the Dorfman foyer and is open from an hour before performances.

The foyer also gives public access to the Backstage High Level Walkway, overlooking the theatre’s backstage workshops, and the Clore Learning Centre.

Access to the Dorfman Theatre

Wheelchair-User Spaces

  • These are located in the Circle, in row N.

Dorfman theatre entrance

  • The Dorfman Theatre is on the east side of the National Theatre, on Stage Door Avenue, opposite the IBM building.
  • Entrance is via a ramp access, off Stage Door Avenue, and has button-operated swing glass doors.

Dorfman entance foyer

  • There is a large level foyer space with accessible toilets and a seating area.
  • There is a lift to all levels of the Dorfman.

Dorfman Circle seating

As the Dorfman Theatre auditorium is reconfigured for different productions, accessibility to seats may vary. Information about the configuration will be available from the seating plan at time of booking. Please contact the Box Office if you require further details.

The circle seats and wheelchair-user spaces are through swing doors on the ground floor foyer level. The floor is flat with some slight sloping.

Dorfman Gallery seating

The gallery seats and wheelchair spaces are through swing doors on the gallery foyer level. The floor is flat with some slight sloping.

Pit seating

The pit seating has lift access but most rows will have steps up to them.

Floor Seating – for performances of Grenfell: in the words of survivors

This is unassigned seating, close to the stage for the first two acts of the play. For the final 20 minutes, Floor Seating ticket holders will move from the unassigned seating and sit on the carpeted stage floor.

Floor Seating will be unsuitable for anyone who requires a traditional theatre seat, and the journey to these seats is longer and includes more steps. The Pit, Circle or Gallery sections offer traditional seating.

Images of the Dorfman theatre auditorium