Celebrating London theatres 14: the ‘N’s

Welcome to today’s installment of Celebrating London Theatres. We have now passed the halfway point in the alphabet and I hope regular readers have found out a lot more about old friends and new spaces which they might explore in the future.

Remember, during this period of enforced closure these venues need your support more than ever. Most of their social media accounts and websites have details of venue-specific appeals.


The National Theatre originally opened at the Old Vic before moving to its purpose-built premises in 1976.

With three spaces, the Olivier (named for original artistic director Laurence Olivier), the Lyttelton (named for the board’s first chairman Oliver Lyttelton), and the Dorfman (opened as the Cottesloe and renamed after donor Lloyd Dorfman in 2014).

The Grade II* listed building was designed by Denys Lasdun in the Brutalist style, and is dominated by the two fly-towers which are lit up at night. There is also a research and development studio situated across the road from the Old Vic.

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Noel Coward

Opened in 1903 as the New Theatre, this Grade II listed building is adjacent to the Wyndham’s on St Martin’s Lane. In 1973 the theatre was renamed the Albery after its manager Sir Branson Albery.

It was renamed again in honour of playwright and composer Noel Coward in 2006, after Delfont Mackintosh took control of the theatre. Coward’s first play had been staged at the then New Theatre in 1920.

It is currently home to the musical Dear Evan Hansen.


Opened in 1905 as the Waldorf, this Grade II listed building on the Aldwych was known from 1913 to 2005 as the Strand. It is now named for composer Ivor Novello, who once occupied the flat above the theatre. The Novello is owned by Delfont Mackintosh.

Since 2012 it has been the home of jukebox musical Mamma Mia.


A community theatre based underneath Waterloo station on the private Lower Road, the Network is run by the Network Theatre Company. This “hidden gem” has a long history of both amateur and professional productions, and is a regular venue at the Vault Festival each spring.

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New Diorama

The New Diorama in Regents Place opened in 2010. An eighty-seater space, it has had a number of high-profile productions transferring to larger venues including off-Broadway, and its current artistic director is David Byrne.

It is uniquely placed to develop and support early and mid-career companies and ensembles. Work in the local community includes Camden Youth Theatre (run with Camden People’s Theatre) and the Third Age Project (supporting isolated older people in the borough).

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New Wimbledon

The New Wimbledon comprises two spaces, a traditional Grade II listed Edwardian space, and a black box studio space in a former ballroom allegedly once patronised by Fred and Adele Astaire.

The theatre opened in 1910 and is owned by ATG. Home to touring productions in the main house and small-scale drama and comedy in the Studio, the New Wimbledon is easily accessible from Wimbledon station.

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Join me tomorrow to celebrate London’s theatre spaces beginning with “O”.