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Queen celebrates National Theatre's 50th birthday

The National Theatre on London's Southbank has been delighting audiences and critics with the best of British talent for decades.

Over the last 50 years stars like Dame Judi Dench and Sir Michael Gambon have helped bring more than 800 productions to the stage. And today to celebrate its golden birthday, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the theatre for a backstage tour. Sangeeta Kandola reports.


The Queen helps National Theatre celebrate birthday

The Queen has been helping the National Theatre celebrate its 50th anniversary. The theatre opened its doors in 1963 with the Hollywood star Sir Laurence Olivier as its first director and over the decades has staged 800 productions.

The Queen inspects a prop from the theatre production 'Warhorse' Credit: PA Wire
The Queen Elizabeth meets Lady Olivier, widow of Laurence Olivier Credit: PA Wire
The Queen watches a performance of a song from the musical 'Guys and Dolls' Credit: PA Wire

Rufus Norris to be new Director of the National Theatre

Stage and film director Rufus Norris, whose works have included a collaboration with Blur star Damon Albarn, is to be the head of the National Theatre, succeeding Sir Nicholas Hytner.

Stage and film director Rufus Norris Credit: PA Wire

Norris has been an Associate Director of the National for the past two years and worked with Damon Albarn on the opera Doctor Dee. He said:

"The National is an extraordinary place, full of extraordinary people, and I look forward with relish to the task ahead - that being to fill our theatres with the most exciting, accessible and ground-breaking work our unique and broad community of artists has to offer."

Rufus Norris will take over in April 2015.

National Theatre unveils new stage in form of a 'shed'

The new stage stands directly in front of the National Theatre on the South Bank Credit: National Theatre

The National Theatre in London has unveiled its new temporary stage, The Shed.

Resembling a red upside-down table, the building will be used until the new revamped third auditorium opens next year.

The Shed resembles a red upside-down table on the South Bank Credit: National Theatre

It stands directly in front of the National Theatre, has 225 seats and tickets will be priced between £12 and £20.

Aptly the first play to be performed will be on 9th April and is titled Table.

The £70 million redevelopment which will transform the facilities the National offers to artists and audiences is set to be completed at the end of next year.