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Stars of stage and screen mark National Theatre's 50th anniversary

James Corden rehearses ahead of this evening's National Theatre anniversary event. Photo: Catherine Ashmore/PA Wire

Some of the biggest names in stage and screen will gather at the National Theatre tonight for a special performance marking its 50th anniversary.

The two-hour long show, which includes a mixture of archive footage and live performances, will see stars including Dame Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dame Maggie Smith and James Corden return to the central London venue.

Dame Judi Dench prepares for this evening's celebrations. Credit: Catherine Ashmore/PA Wire

Dame Judi will team up with her Skyfall co-star Rory Kinnear to perform a scene from Shakespeare's Antony And Cleopatra.

Cumberbatch will appear in a segment from Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, while Corden will feature in excerpts from The History Boys and One Man, Two Guvners.

Hawking star Benedict Cumberbatch. Credit: Catherine Ashmore/PA Wire

Also appearing are Ralph Fiennes, Derek Jacobi and Simon Russell Beale.

Academy Award winner Dame Helen Mirren. Credit: Catherine Ashmore/PA Wire

The celebration of the theatre, which first opened its doors in 1963 under the leadership of Sir Laurence Olivier, will be directed by Sir Nicholas Hytner who has led it over the past 10 years and who steps down in 2015.

The show will be broadcast on BBC Two at 9pm tonight.