LocationThe Lyttelton is the second largest theatre within the National Theatre site, situated on the South Bank of London. Rather than being a West End venue, the theatre overlooks the River Thames, in between Waterloo and Embankment bridges. The whole South Bank area has many cultural buildings, including the Royal Festival Hall and the British Film Institute, along with many cafes bars and restaurants. The area provides fantastic views of the city and is always lively and vibrant, with seasonal markets and outdoor exhibitions. The National Theatre complex is visible from all around the area, as it is often lit up with bold colours. An underpass from Waterloo station brings you to the side of the building, or access from North of the river is by Embankment or Waterloo bridges.
Getting thereBy Tube: The nearest station to the National Theatre is Waterloo on the Jubilee, Northern, Bakerloo and National Rail lines. From here it is a short signposted walk to the theatre.By bus: A huge number of bus services stop on the south side of Waterloo Bridge including numbers 1, 4 26, 59, 68, 76, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 243, 341, 521, X68 and RV1.By taxi or car: There is a taxi rank at Waterloo station, and the National has its own car park at a charge of £8.00 per hour.
SeatingThe Lyttelton is the most conventional of the three auditoriums at the National Theatre. As a proscenium arch theatre the venue houses the companyâ€™s more traditional plays, or those productions which do not rely on the vast stage of the Olivier and are too big for the Cottesloe. The auditorium reflects the 1970s design of the building, in a more modern style unlike many proscenium theatres north of the river.
Overall the seating in the venue is particularly good. The seats are comfier than most Victorian theatres and it has been designed to give optimum sight lines on both levels. The seats are divided into two sections, with the majority being in the lower stalls.
The Stalls have no central aisle and the stage is very wide, meaning seats in the centre are best The first three rows do not have armrests and are not as comfortable as the rest of the section, often sold at a cheaper price or as day seats; especially the front row.
The section is well raked, providing clear views but due to the length of each row, seats at the ends are out of the proscenium and do not offer as good a view of the stage as those seats towards the middle of the section.
The Circle overhang affects the rear stalls section from the final four or five rows, depending on the production. Seats towards the rear can feel gloomy compared to the rest of the theatre and it may be worth choosing cheaper seats in the Circle over these. The Circle runs straight rather than curved and there is no overhang or safety rail to contend with, providing good sight lines. Towards the back of the section one may feel less a part of the action, but as the Circle is wider than it is deep, this is not always the case.
AccessibilityThe Lyttelton Theatre has comfortable and large seats spread across two levels, the Stalls and the Circle. The main entrance to the Lyttelton auditorium is at ground level from the riverside, and does not require navigation of any steps. The Lyttelton Box Office and foyer are also on the ground floor, with level access to the rear of the Stalls and a lift that bypasses the 22 steps to the Circle. There are 15 steps down to row A of the Stalls from the back entrance. All levels of the National Theatre building at large are also connected via lift.
There are 4 designated wheelchair spaces at the rear of the Stalls, which are at level access from the street. Transfer seating is available to other parts of the section if required, and a lift enables access to the Circle. There is an adapted toilet in the foyer next to the lift to the second floor. The Lyttelton Long Bar is located on the ground floor of the theatre and has level access, although drinks can be brought to patrons in their seats if required.
There is an infra-red system with headsets fitted inside the main auditorium, and an induction loop is also available anywhere within the theatre. Sensors can be provided by the Box Office in order to make use of this system. Guide dogs can be taken into the auditorium provided that their owner is sitting in an aisle seat; alternatively, they can be looked after by the management for the duration of the show.Access bookings telephone line 020 7492 9930 or access booking form
HistoryThe National Theatre Lyttelton is one of three stages within the National Theatre building on London’s South Bank. The National Theatre is one of the most successful and well-known publicly funded theatre companies in the UK, and its main residence is the controversial National Theatre building in London. A bold, concrete construction that incorporates elements of Brutalist architecture and industrial 1960s design, the building is often cited as both one of the most loved and hated in the capital, and has proved the perfect location for the experimental and boundary-breaking work that goes on within.
The Lyttelton stage has an proscenium-arch design and is the second-largest of the National’s auditoriums, capable of seating up to 890 patrons. Named after Oliver Lyttelton, the first Chairman of the National Theatre, the Lyttelton appears fairly conventional but has in fact been designed to provide optimum sound and vision to all visitors. There are no obstructive pillars or rails and the action can be seen and heard perfectly clearly from all angles, making it markedly different from many older theatres in the West End. The stage can be adapted to suit different performances. Past productions at the Lyttelton include The Year of Magical Thinking, The Pitmen Painters, One Man, Two Guv’nors, The Veil and Juno and the Paycock, making it one of the most forward-thinking theatres in the capital today. The current productions are Travelling Light starring Anthony Sher, and DV8’s political Can We Talk About This?