In 1964, with support from the Nuffield Foundation, the University of Southampton built a theatre on its campus for the people of Southampton. The theatre was built by Sir Basil Spence, OM RA. The theatre was officially opened by Dame Sybil Thorndike on 2 March.

On 1 November 1982, it became an independent producing theatre funded by Arts Council England, Southampton City Council, the University of Southampton and Hampshire County Council, known today as Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST).

In 2013, Sam Hodges was appointed as the new Director of NST. Under his direction, NST has developed a profile and reputation for innovation and quality delivering work on a national and international scale, whilst acting as a major cultural force for good in Southampton.

In 2015, NST won Regional Theatre of the Year at The Stage Awards. The following year, NST presented the world premiere of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox, which won The Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre at the UK Theatre Awards 2017.

On 16 February 2018, NST opened a second venue, NST City, in Southampton’s Cultural Quarter with the world premiere of Howard Brenton’s The Shadow Factory