The National Theatre was designed by Sir Denys Lasdun and Peter Softley, and was officially opened by the Queen in 1976. It is a publicly funded performing arts hub, comprising of three auditoriums - The Olivier, The Lyttelton, and the small Dorfman Theatre (formerly Cottesloe). There are also rehearsal spaces on site, and workshops for set construction and painting, costume construction and prop making. Shows are usually run in repertoire, meaning that each auditorium has the ability to house up to 3 different productions concurrently. The National also hosts several Platform performances where discussions take place with various people in the industry. The current artistic director is Rufus Norris, preceded by Nicholas Hytner, Trevor Nunn, Richard Eyre and Peter Hall.
The National complex has several cafes/bars, restaurant, and a bookshop. Before a show there are free live acts in the Olivier foyer, as well as several free exhibitions. Back Stage Tours are also available most days.