Queen marks National Theatre's 50th
The Queen will visit the National Theatre today in celebration of the creative institution's 50th anniversary.
It opened its doors in 1963 with the Hollywood star Sir Laurence Olivier as its first director and over the decades has staged 800 productions.
It has premiered plays by leading playwrights like Sir Tom Stoppard, Sir Peter Shaffer, Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter, Alan Bennett and Sir David Hare, and has been the home to outstanding revivals of classic plays and musicals.
The famous theatre on London's South Bank is marking half a century of entertaining the nation with a gala performance next month featuring scenes from memorable productions.
Among the highlights include Dame Judi Dench, who appeared in Antony and Cleopatra in 1987, reprising the lead female role and delivering her elegy to Antony, while Sir Michael Gambon and Sir Derek Jacobi are expected to play parts in Pinter's No Man's Land.
During the visit the Queen, who will be joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, will have a backstage tour of the theatre hosted by its director Sir Nicholas Hytner.
The royal couple will watch rehearsals for a family production of Emil and the Detectives, meeting staff in the prop-making workshop and view a performance of a song from the musical Guys and Dolls.
The visit will conclude with the Queen unveiling a plaque to commemorate the theatre's 50th anniversary.