Royal National Theatre a government-funded repertory company based in London. Although the idea for such a company originated in the 19th cent., the National Theatre was not finally established until 1963, with Laurence Olivier appointed as director. Temporarily housed at first in the Old Vic theater, the company opened with Hamlet in 1963. Peter Hall took over the directorship in 1973, and the National Theatre complex opened in 1976–77 in its new building on the south bank of the Thames. In 1988 the name of the company was changed to the Royal National Theatre, and Richard Eyre took over as director. Eyre was succeeded by Trevor Nunn in 1997 and Nicholas Hytner in 2003. The National Theatre engages many of England's most talented actors, directors, and designers to produce its repertory of classic and modern plays.
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