Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

News > Events > Backstage tour of the National Theatre

Backstage tour of the National Theatre

An élite group of ES members were treated to a backstage tour of London's Royal National Theatre
1 Jun 2023

And we were delighted to have James Harris (pictured second from right), the son of one of the designers, an OE, along with us.

James writes this:

London’s Royal National Theatre. Sir Denys Lasdun’s Grade II* listed masterpiece of Brutalist architecture. A lasting legacy of my late father Christopher Harris (Ascham 1945–48, Reeves 1948–51).

Since my dad, Christopher Harris, passed away at Christmas 2022, I have spent much of my spare time compiling a biography of my dad’s life, from memories I recorded during times spent with him in his later years, following on from the 2008 Old Eastbournian in which my dad wrote of his time working for fellow OE Sir Hugh Casson CH KCVO.

In 1967, Christopher was headhunted by Sir Denys Lasdun CH CBE. Christopher started work on the Grade II/II* listed University of East Anglia, notably the Lecture Theatre Complex and Harbour Staircase.

Christopher then worked for Sir Denys and his team designing the Royal National Theatre (1967-76) on London’s South Bank, which is now a Grade II* listed icon. He was specifically tasked with the design and detailing (production drawings) for internal fittings and finishes in the Lyttelton Theatre.

At the opening of the National Theatre in 1976, Sir Denys introduced Christopher to Sir Lawrence Olivier as ‘Our young whizz kid.’

Christopher spent a significant part of his career working for Sir Denys on several large-scale projects of Brutalist design.

I am very proud of my dad’s lifetime of architectural achievements.

It was a great honour to visit the National Theatre with the Eastbournian Society group in my dad’s memory; it reminded me of many happy times.

James Harris

May 2023

Similar stories

Most read


Quick links



Registered Charity Number: 307071

This website is powered by