4 March 2024 / Publications

Announcing the Annual Publication

In collaboration with Unicorn Publishing Group,
the Society for Theatre Research is delighted to announce its Annual Publication for 2023-24

A Sense of Theatre: The Untold Story of Britain’s National Theatre

by Richard Pilbrow


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’s deployment of extraordinary architecture and exemplary theatrical talent has drawn audiences worldwide. However, the 100-year dream of a national theatre for the nation did not happen without crises and setbacks.

The theatre architecture has challenged generations of theatre makers, leading to innovation that has changed theatre worldwide. The architect, Sir Denys Lasdun, initially a neophyte in theatre design, subsequently became an initiator of a new way of approaching theatre design: through deep collaboration between architecture and theatre.

In 1963, Richard Pilbrow, pioneer of modern stage lighting in Britain, 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, from conception to today. With insight from leading players in British theatre and, for the first time, the minutes of the deliberations between Sir Laurence, architect and leading theatre artists, A Sense of Theatre presents the dramatic quest to create a flagship theatre for the nation.


Members of the STR for 2023-4 will receive their copies in May 2024 as part of their membership package. A limited number of copies will also be available via the STR website at a significantly reduced price (plus post and packing).