Talk about a lot to live up to. The Royal National Theatre was opened in 1963 under the directorship of Laurence Olivier, and its first performance was Peter O'Toole's Hamlet. In the years since, the National has put on about 500 more plays. It receives financial backing from the Arts Council England but generates a good deal of income itself, through box office sales, sponsorship, and patronage. In addition to putting on plays in its three theaters -- the Olivier, Lyttleton, and the Cottesloe -- the National offers workshops, performances and education for children, and live music performances. The National put plays on at its former home, the Old Vic, for a time, but has been in its own facilities since 1976.