The first phase of the masterplan will transform the main entrance, providing transparency to the river walk, and a legible entrance sequence into the foyers, which will be refurbished. The service yard on the river bank will be relocated to the back of the building, allowing the north-east corner of the theatre to be opened up to the river walk. New cafés will animate the public realm with outside seating leading to the main entrance, where the anchor stair will be refurbished, and new planting and finishes will improve the terraces. In current workshop areas adjacent to the foyer, two new education and participation spaces will be created to welcome school groups and others into the NT. Space for all of these developments will be made by a new studio for scenic artists at the rear of the building. With a glazed wall to Upper Ground, this will open up the NT’s workshops to public view, allowing views deep into the production areas. These will also be opened up internally by a high level walkway, available to the public.
The National is working to a budget of £50 million for the first projects, aiming to conclude the next design phase at the end of the year, with submission of planning applications by next summer.