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Ideas of a National Theatre date from as early as the 1840s.
The Lyttleton Theatre was the first theatre to open at the National with a production of Hamlet starring Albert Finney. Although it is the second-biggest performance space at the Southbank venue, the backstage area could deal with complex scene changes made easier through platforms being pushed on and off at appropriate times.
The Lyttleton Theatre is one of three venues at the National, completed by the Olivier Theatre and the Dorfman Theatre.