The Kitchen

National Theatre Olivier, South Bank, London

Arnold Wesker's The Kitchen is set in 1950s London.

In the kitchen of an enormous West End restaurant, the orders are piling up: a post-war feast of soup, fish, cutlets, omelettes and fruit flans.

Thrown together by their work, chefs, waitresses and porters from across Europe – English, Irish, German, Jewish – argue and flirt as they race to keep up. Peter, a high-spirited young cook, seems to thrive on the pressure. In between preparing dishes, he manages to strike up an affair with married waitress Monique, the whole time dreaming of a better life. But in the all-consuming clamour of the kitchen, nothing is far from the brink of collapse.

The Kitchen puts the workplace centre stage in a blackly funny and furious examination of life lived at breakneck speed, when work threatens to define who we are.

Wesker’s extraordinary play premiered at the Royal Court in 1959 and has since been performed in over 30 countries. The Kitchen is directed by Bijan Sheibani (Greenland, Our Class).

For more about The Kitchen at the National Theatre read the First Night Feature.

Cast & CreativesEXPAND

cast: Rory Keenan, Neal Barry, Tom Brooke, Ian Burfield, Rebecca Davies, Stavros Demetraki, Craige Els, Ruth Gibson, Colin Haigh, Rendah Heywood, Rebecca Humphries, Tendayi Jembere, Tricia Kelly

author: Arnold Wesker

director: Bijan Sheibani

music by: Dan Jones

sound: Dan Jones

set designer: Giles Cadle

movement director: Aline David

lighting designer: Mark Henderson

costume: Moritz Junge

About the show
  • Age Suitability: All
  • Genre: Play
  • Duration: 2h30
  • Opening Night:
  • Closing night:

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Venue InformationHIDE

National Theatre Olivier
South Bank, London, United Kingdom, SE1 9PX

  • Nearest tube: Waterloo (250m), Southwark
  • Nearest bus: 76, 77, 211, 507, D1, D11, P11 (York Road)149, P11 (Stamford Street)1, 4, 26, 68, X68, 76, 168, 171, 171A, 176, 188, 501, 505, 521 (Waterloo Bridge)
  • Nearest train: Waterloo (approx. 250m)
  • Parking:

    5 spaces reserved for orange badge holders at riverside end of Cottesloe Ave. 4 extra bays opposite Cottesloe theatre for evening performances. Car Park beneath theatre. Spaces reserved for disabled customers near lifts. Free parking voucher available from box office for orange badge holders (present ticket at information desk). Automatic doors and ramps from the Car Park to the lobby and lift.

  • Air Conditioned: Yes

Venue Access InformationEXPAND

  • How to book: Tel 020 7452 3000 Information Desk 020 7452 3400
  • Telephones: There is a public cash telephone at Circle bar level.
  • Discounts: Discounts available for all disabled people.
  • Limited mobility: Please ask to be seated in an aisle seat in the centre Stalls when you book.
  • Access description: Main entrance reached from Upper Ground via Theatre Avenue to Theatre Square and a drop off point approx. 40m from main entrance. Lifts up to the Olivier Theatre to right of information desk (to both Stalls and Circle levels) or staircases further in on each side (49 steps to Stalls, further 44 to Circle). Olivier Box office on level 2. No steps to the back of the Stalls, 10 steps up to raised sections. Centre Stalls auditorium has gradual shallow steps with a handrail on aisles 2 and 4. Lift to row G of Circle and 18 steps down to the front. Power assisted doors and ramps to terraces from Level 2.
  • Hearing impaired: Infra-red system with headsets or neck loops. Collect headsets/loops from box offices. Induction loops at service counters.
  • Guide dogs policy: Guide dogs are not currently allowed in the auditorium, however staff are happy to dog sit. Dogs will be looked after in the cloakroom. Groups should contact the theatre manager’s office on 020 7452 3281.
  • Wheelchairs: Lift to the Olivier Stalls. 3 spaces for wheelchair users in row R. A companion can sit next to the left-hand space in row R, or in the row. Transfer seating is available to aisle seats - wheelchairs stored at back of auditorium.
  • Toilets: Women’s and men’s at Stalls and Circle levels.
  • Disabled toilets: Adapted WC on the left side of the Stalls corridor.
  • Bars: 6 licensed bars. Access information: No steps to the Olivier Stalls and Circle bars (spacious, moveable seats) from the lifts. Soft drinks may be brought to disabled customers in the auditorium. Chair lift down a flight of steps to the Circle café from level 3 - contact a member of staff for assistance. The menu is available in large print.