A Sense of Theatre is an eye-witness account of the birth and subsequent triumph of one of the world’s most famous theatres. Since the iconic building opened in 1976 on London’s South Bank, the National Theatre has engaged four million people a year and has staged 44,000 performances. However, the 100-year dream of a national theatre in the UK’s capital city did not happen without crises and nightmares. The theatre architecture has challenged generations of theatre makers, leading to innovation that has influenced theatre worldwide. In 1963, Richard Pilbrow, pioneer of British modern stage lighting, was appointed by Sir Laurence Olivier to help create the National Theatre of Great Britain as a member of the building committee. This book is Pilbrow’s account of that journey, together with his insights into the theatre design revolution that followed. With contributions from leading players in British theatre and, for the first time, the minutes of the deliberations between Sir Laurence, architect Denys Lasdun and leading theatre artists, A Sense of Theatre presents the dramatic quest to create a flagship theatre for the nation.


‘Cannot we have theatres where the actor feels marvellous’

– Sir Laurence Olivier.


This book is due out in 2022. To register your interest or find out more email info@wordville.net

A Sense of Theatre (hardback)