Author & Researcher: John for Hotel-Assist London
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Closest tube: Embankment
Parking: On site
Buses: 1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 76, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 243, 341, 521, X68
The Olivier Theatre is the National Theatres grand auditorium, used for all of its biggest productions. The sheer size of the stage has sometimes in the past intimidated stage designers, but nowadays you can see spectacular productions that fill the whole space. It also has a drum revolve, so the whole set can be twisted out of sight and flown away backstage. Whilst not in the West End, the Olivier can more than match all of them for scale and spectacle, as well as offering a more challenging sort of theatre.
Although is does not seat as many people as the large, proscenium-arched West End spaces, the Olivier is still a very large auditorium. It seats 1,150 people over two layers, and, where most West End theatres cram in seats by going for many balconies and steep rakes looking at a relatively narrow stage, the Olivier spreads out to the sides, giving productions a truly mammoth stage space to work with. The main auditorium was modelled on the ancient Greek theatre at Epidaurus: there is an open stage (without a proscenium arch) with a fan-shaped stage, including the famous drum revolve, a revolving stage that can offer real opportunities to the daring set designer. It was designed so that no seat has an impeded view, and that all of the audience is visible to the actors from centre stage.
As part of the National Theatre, the Olivier is often home to landmark productions, both of classics and of significant new works. It housed The History Boys before it transferred to Broadway, and it premiered Michael Morpurgos War Horse. The National Theatre complements the work of companies like The Royal Shakespeare Company, providing an equivalent to that for new work and modern British dramatists.
As part of the South Bank centre, there is lots to see and do at the National Theatre. There is a large bookshop, where you can find many theatrical texts, there are restaurants bars, and of course, access to the National Theatres two smaller venues: the Lyttleton and the Cottesloe. Currently there is a large redevelopment planned for 2013, so one cannot be sure how that will affect how one gets around the National Theatre.
The South Bank is one of Londons most beautiful and interesting areas. You can walk along from London Bridge, or from the other end at County Hall. You can pass Southwark Cathedral, HMS Belfast, the Golden Hind, Shakespeares Globe, the NFT, and the whole cultural complex that makes up the Southbank Centre. It is easy to spend the whole day immersed in the various parts of the South Bank.
The nearest mainline and tube station is Waterloo, although you can walk from Southwark, Embankment, Temple, or Westminster tube stations. The Olivier Theatre is one of Britains cultural landmarks, and no visit to Londons theatres would be complete without a visit. It has a programme of low-cost tickets for some performances, so it remains one of Londons cheaper options for theatre-going as well.
|HOTEL / APARTMENT||POSTCODE||MILES||STAR||24 Jun||25 Jun||26 Jun||27 Jun||28 Jun||29 Jun||30 Jun||01 Jul|
|Waterloo Station||1||Waterloo & City - Bakerloo - Northern - Jubilee||0.37 miles|
|Temple Station||1||District - Circle line||0.46 miles|
|Embankment Station||1||District - Bakerloo - Northern - Circle line||0.51 miles|
|Charing Cross Station||1||Bakerloo - Northern||0.70 miles|
|Southwark Station||1||Jubilee||0.76 miles|
|London Waterloo International Station||0.44 miles|
|London Waterloo East Station||0.47 miles|
|London Waterloo Station||0.50 miles|
|Charing Cross London Station||0.68 miles|
|London Blackfriars Station||0.96 miles|