Talk:Royal National Theatre

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Article title wrong[edit]

The theatre has dropped the Royal from its name in the last couple of years; when Hytner took over from Nunn, IIRC. Thus the article needs moving (back?) to "National Theatre (UK)" and the links (100+) altered in accordance. Sorry! Philip Cross 23:35, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Untrue. The theatre's official title is still Royal National Theatre, but the 'house style' is for the 'Royal' to be omitted for the sake of informality. This has been done for years, well before Hytner was appointed artistic director. Do not move this page. --Urbane legend 10:57, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
Hmm well, remember that Wikipedia generally doesn't try to give articles the most proper title, but rather the one that most people would try and use - largely to avoid the need for disambig links. In this case, that would seem to be just 'National Theatre'. However, as there are many National Theatres, the article National Theatre needs to be a disambig page. As that makes the choice between National Theatre (UK) and Royal National Theatre the situation is rather moot - either way, few people are likely to guess the link first time.
On a related note, whose National Theatre is it? Philip Cross is suggesting the United Kingdom's, the article says Great Britain's and the disambig at National Theatre indicates England's. -- Solipsist 12:08, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
The Royal National Theatre is the National Theatre of the whole of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, not just England, despite the fact there are national theatres for Scotland and Wales. This does not preclude a future National Theatre for England. Quee1797 (talk) 17:01, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
It's the National Theatre of the UK. Since National Theatre is a dismabig, it feels sensible to leave it as the way it is, since the RNT is, as you say, not the only National Theatre in the world. --Urbane legend 15:58, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Those that work at the National Theatre prefer not to include the Royal. That is the title the public is asked to write out checks to, thus that is the title. Also, the NT only covers England, since Scotland, Wales an Ireland all have their own National Theatres.

I think the "Royal National Theatre" is a theatre company not a venue. Maybe you are confusing it with the "Festival Hall" which is part of The South Bank arts complex.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Alec - U.K. (talkcontribs) 23 October 2006.
Cut and pasted this from the “contact us” page of the NT website this morning: Royal National Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX. Also, as regards the England/UK issue, I found “representative of British theatre throughout the UK” on their FAQs page. Any help? ––Old Moonraker 06:54, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
Of course, that is somewhat disingenuous, since there are just as many (probably more) mentions of the 'National Theatre' on the official website. I can just as easily say... cut and pasted from the 'how to get there' page of the NT website this morning: National Theatre, South Bank, London SE1 9PX. The banner on the top of every page says just 'National Theatre', the web site itself is available at, or, but not The same Contact Us web page uses 'National Theatre' later on, and the same 'How to get there' page, also uses 'Royal National Theatre'. So that doesn't really help much. You would expect to see some clarification in the history pages, but they don't help either. -- Solipsist 10:53, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
Only trying to help, truly! It's fair to say that I did have to dig around a bit on the website to find the bit I quoted but I wanted to show that it was still in use as an official title. What I'm really trying to do is keep this page away from the morass of the disam page. Furthermore, if the title is changed back, someone will have to change the 100+ links that Philip Cross mentioned, above. It's just a pragmatic, and not incorrect, way to identify the UK's (sorry — not another controversy, please) national theatre from all the others – not an attempt to preserve its "royal" status. ATB. ––Old Moonraker 11:16, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
That's fine, but the statement was still misleading. I'm fine with the article being at 'Royal National Theatre' because 'National Theatre (UK)' would require just as much disambiguating. The number of existing disambiguated links doesn't matter, they can be changed easily enough. The real issue with article naming, is to get the page in the right place, so that future editors will add correct links without having to worry about it. That's probably not possible in this case. Nevertheless, we shouldn't be calling it the Royal National Theatre, if it is actually more generally called the National Theatre, unless we can establish that one name is more official than the other.
I suspect part of the problem is that in UK theatre circles, 'The National' is the NT and 'The Royal' refers to a number of other theatres, such as the Royal Theatre (Northampton), or any of the Theatre Royals. On the whole it would be most useful to find a refence that clearly explains when the NT uses the prefix Royal and when it doesn't. Alec - U.K.'s suggestion that it might involve a distinction between the building and company is interesting and could be useful, or it might be wrong. From the NT's history, it looks like they had a royal charter from the start, but their use of the name seems random and inconsistent. -- Solipsist 13:05, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
As Solipsist says, it's always The National and never The Royal National and this isn't made clear in the article. There's an obvious place to point this out, perhaps in the terms used by Urbane legend at the top of the discussion: The end of the first para, where it mentions its becoming "Royal" in the first place, would do. Just, please, think twice before changing the name again (as happened, rather arbitrarily, to the Discussion Page yesterday). Old Moonraker 15:17, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
User Lyn haill has trimmed most of the remaining references to "Royal National Theatre", leaving only one brief historical mention. Is it time to reconsider the name of the article? I was in favour of retaining the "Royal" before, but if Lyn's changes are here to stay, it now might look a bit incongruous. It certainly shouldn't be changed without a decisive consensus: "just doing it" (and failing to fix the necessary disambiguations) caused a lot of problems last time. --Old Moonraker (talk) 15:00, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
I've just been tidying up the disambiguation page at NT and was surprised to find that this, with Royal, was the title of this article. I'd never heard of it, and as far as I'm concerned the NT is the NT. Not sure what the disambiguation would need to be: perhaps National Theatre (London) as that's where it is, on the lines of Australia (though wrongly formatted), Ghana and USA (from the National theatre dab page). PamD (talk) 10:59, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Just wanted to add my two pence - The Official title of the theatre, both the venue and the company, is Royal National Theatre, as is it registered with the Charities Commission, and even though it has at times gone by other names and nicknames, National Theatre, The NT, The National etc, the one thing that is not likely to change with fluctuations in branding policy is its royal title. Also, as far as I can tell there are no other 'Royal' National Theatres in the world. And I thought I'd head off any comments about the country becoming a republic and making my point invalid, there are a number of organisations in the Ireland that still use the title 'Royal' that were granted before independence. Quee1797 (talk) 17:13, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

There was discussion in the 1960s over whether to apply for a Royal charter, and the decision was taken not to do so. I believe it was under Richard Eyre that the charter was applied for and won, so in discussing the National Theatre's origins, and its present universally-used name, National Theatre is more accurate. It would not be inappropriate to record the historical footnote of its brief flirtation with RNT as a name, but to entitle the article Royal National Theatre is not helpful. Barnabas Calder, 8 May 2014 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:00, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Barnabas, read the discussion above; and also watch the recent television documentaries on the NT (which are available on DVD, etc.); its official title is the Royal National Theatre, even though the official title is no longer usually used. Softlavender (talk) 20:47, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Date of "His Dark Materials"[edit]

This was intended to be the NT's Christmas show for 2003, with the first public performance on 4 December 2003 and the press night on 20 Dec 2003. Because of technical problems with the revolve, the first public performance was 14 December 2003. The press night was then arranged for 3 January 2004. Does this make it a 2003 or 2004 show? --Old Moonraker 10:45, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Okay: no objections so I'll change it. --Old Moonraker 10:05, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
Done--Old Moonraker 22:30, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

NT studio[edit]

I think the article could benefit from a section on the studio, especially seeing as it's quite an unusual scheme (which is encouraged to be brought out in WP's notability guidelines, right?), and seems to affect quite a lot of the theatre's output. Just thought i'm put this ina advance of going to do some research (it's not something i feel i could write about off the top of my head...), but i thought there might be some knowledgable people watching the page, who might like to make a start, or list some ideas for what such a section might include. Amo 21:41, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

I finally added a section, as well as one on the Connections scheme. Reading them back they sound horrible, so please do pick them apart! Amo (talk) 19:49, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

National Theatre emphasis[edit]

It's probably missed out by sheer embarrassment, but the idea of a National Theatre was first mooted in 1848; and the foundation stone of this building was laid in 1951 (it's now in the foyer, so could even get a photo). I added a note about the "National Theatre Company", which first emerged in 1963. I'll try and get around to writing a para, or two, when I have time. The article shouldn't just concentrate on the building, it should provide a précis of the history of the idea and the company.

Also, the issue of notability of the productions listed is a bit dodgy - they should probably be ref'd to prizes, premières, etc. In order to demonstrate notability - otherwise, it's a bit subjective. cheers Kbthompson (talk) 17:40, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Two very good ideas. The "notable" in notable productions seems a bit debased now: objective supporting evidence for each entry would be particularly welcome. --Old Moonraker (talk) 17:47, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
Made a start, please feel free to correct my turgid prose ... Kbthompson (talk) 09:53, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
    • Moving forward, need to:
    • Turn section on artist directors into prose - nothing much, just a summary of who they were and their impact on the place.
    • Ref the notables
    • Integrate the 'odd' spaces and projects into the main text - expand the notes on individual theatres (there's more on the youth project and front of house, than the actual theatres). Some technical details, for instance.
    • Note on backstage areas. You leave the stage of the Olivier directly into a '60s office block that contains common common canteen, green room, dressing rooms for all the theatres - and links them (turn the wrong way at the staircase and you end up in the wrong theatre). The huge scene dock at the rear is probably worth a mention.
HTH Kbthompson (talk) 11:04, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Proposed deletion of "Current and forthcoming productions"[edit]

None of these supposed productions are either dated or cited. They are just hanging there in the article for no discernable reason. Wikipedia is not an advertisement or an announcement propaganda, and if the productions are not cited or dated, per WP:CRYSTAL, they must be deleted. Anyone who wants to know what is playing or planned at the NT can click the Official Site in the external links. Softlavender (talk) 00:21, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

None of the five criteria of WP:CRYSTAL exclude the current and forthcoming productions section in this article. That the theatre either is or is about to stage the plays mentioned isn't speculation and is easily confirmed by visiting the website. Any that do not appear there may be deleted, but there is no good reason to delete the section in principle.  • DP •  {huh?} 00:32, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
OK, I corrected and cited the current and forthcoming productions. Proposal withdrawn. Softlavender (talk) 02:38, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

The article National Theatre Live has no references to third-party sources which demonstrate its notability. I propose, therefore, that its contents be merged into this article, probably in greatly condensed form. NotFromUtrecht (talk) 16:37, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

I see that already there's been some tidying-up required on this page of WP:NN material (thanks!). Might it be better to keep the sub-article available to look after this, leaving the main article uncluttered? --Old Moonraker (talk) 07:19, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
National Theatre Live is an initative of the RNT to broadcast plays digitally -- so the listings on that page are going to be different to the ones which appear on this one, which also concern plays which are not digitally broadcast. My main point is that National Theatre Live is simply not noteable enough for its own article -- the only third-party source I've found is here, which is enough to justify a brief subsection in this article, but not an entire article in itself. NotFromUtrecht (talk) 10:35, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Oppose merge. NT Live is a major initiative and deserves its own article (just like Metropolitan Opera Live in HD), which will continue to grow as the productions increase and the global screenings and global recognition increase. Lack of third-party citations is not a reason to merge two articles. If you want citations, tag it for that, not for merging. Softlavender (talk) 23:16, 5 March 2012 (UTC)


The list of forthcoming productions was actually a list of things in the past, so I merged this into the list of notable post-2003 productions and took out a couple that were not notable enough to have their own entries. --Agarpp (talk) 15:36, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Is the Royal Opera House a Theatre company?[edit]

Sorry to be a pedant, but is the Royal Opera House a Theatre company (opening sentences of this article)? I know ROH is one of the mega-funded organisations in the UK (opera being inherently expensive), but is it Theatre? If so why not ballet or other performing arts? I would definitely think NT & RSC would qualify as two most prominent, by most criteria, but perhaps distinction needs to be made between Theatre companies and funding recipients.

PS re: the name issue above, my understanding was that 'Royal' was added to the title for international consumption/prestige, presumably to distinguish it from all the other NT's around the world. It always seemed a bit silly to me and never really 'caught on' as a title in the UK.Pincrete (talk) 00:46, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

OK, edited the lead to say "performing arts venues" instead of "theatre companies". Softlavender (talk) 01:24, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

A useful article[edit]

Here's a useful article: Softlavender (talk) 00:48, 4 May 2014 (UTC)