The National Theatre is Britain’s largest theatre complex, housing a specialist theatre bookshop and a host of restaurants and bars as well as its three auditoriums of varying sizes. The largest of the three is the Olivier Theatre, named after the first artistic director of the National, Laurence Olivier. The second largest is the Lyttelton Theatre, named after Oliver Lyttelton who was the very first board chairman of the National, and the smallest of the three is the Cottesloe Theatre, which takes its name from Lord Cottesloe, the chairman of the South Bank theatre board when the theatre opened in 1977.
At any one time, each theatre can be the host of up to three different plays each, which widens the audience. Each play is only shown for a maximum of a few months, with some exceptions. War Horse first wowed audiences when it premiered at the Olivier Theatre in 2007, and because of its popularity, it stayed on for a long time at the National before finding a permanent spot in the West End at the New London Theatre. War Horse is the most popular production that the National Theatre London has staged, to date.
Due to its three auditoriums and the amount of plays shown at any one time, avid theatre goers can see plenty of different, high-quality shows and premieres each year. The National Theatre also includes tours of the premises where you can delve deep into the world of theatre by visiting hidden parts of the three auditoriums including backstage areas. Tours last for 1 hour and 15 minutes and cost £5-7.