The iconic, brutalist architecture of the National Theatre building on London’s South Bank has been documented by photographer Amelia Lancaster for over 20 years. These images can now be seen inside the very building they depict at a free exhibition, appropriately enough, inside the National Theatre.

Lancaster has been taking photos of the South Bank area and its buildings for the past couple of decades, and says she was fascinated by “the simplicity of the trio of concrete, sunlight and shadows” at the National Theatre – how light and shadow would dramatically alter the facade of the Denys Lasdun-designed building.

The images, shot mostly on 35mm film, interrogate geometries that are revealed as the light moves around the different angled planes of concrete. They are presented in three subsets – beautiful brutalism, reduction, and negatives – and each subset uses colour and contrast to take the already-angular National Theatre and create new abstract compositions.

The exhibition, Abstractions: Studies from the National Theatre, is free to visit in the  National Theatre. You can find it on the second floor — follow the signs for the Wolfson Gallery, which is the reception foyer above the Lasdun Restaurant.

The exhibition will run until some point in autumn 2024.

There is also another much larger free exhibition at the National at the moment of theatre stage design. It’s open until the end of March, so visit soon, and you can visit both exhibitions in one visit.


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