Britain's National Theater has issued its first invitation to an American company to occupy its wide-open, glorious Olivier stage. The nod goes to Carol Channing's touring "Hello, Dolly!," co-sponsored by the Houston Grand Opera and James Nederlander.

Now in Boston, it has been racking up records everywhere it has played. Reviews have been sensational. Hard-to-please Kevin Kelly, of the Boston Globe, remarked, "We now recognize all the other Dolly ladies as glad-time imposters" and "It's better than it has ever been before."

Next stops are Detroit, Minneapolis, Chicago and San Francisco. So far there are no Washington dates.

William H. Graham, on Catholic University's faculty for 25 years, has succeeded Father Gilbert V. Hartke as chairman of the university's drama department. Known as actor and director, Graham also will be recognized from Olney TV commercials and from his work as National Symphony narrator. Father Hartke, the Dominican who founded the department 40 years ago, will remain at the university as special assistant to its president for public affairs and to te vice president for university development.

New York's Giannini Theater Company will perform Saturday and Sunday nights at 8 at Washington Project for the Arts, 1227 G St. NW. "To Charlie - Hello from Bertha" is the title of this multi-media offering combining interviews with people concerned with prestitution and Tennessee Williams' one-act "Hello from Bertha." Details at 347-8304.

The New Federal Theater, directed by Mark Mason, which performed this summer at Ford's Theater, is enlarging its scope. First will come a series of four programs based on the Federal Theater Project of the depression years in the Library of Congress in October, using material now held by George Mason University in Fairfax. Interviews for actors and actresses will be Friday and Saturday from 10 until 5 at the National Heritage Theater, 13th and E Streets NW, where further projects may be added this winter to that theater's striking multi-media American history film.

Besides Japan's Kabuki in the Opera House, the Kennedy Center this week explores the area further with "Tales of the Pacific," presented by Honolulu Theater for Youth, opening this season's free children's art series. Public perfomances will be given Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., following special school performances today and Friday. Details at the Hall of States Friends desk.

"Theater Seminar," the University of Maryland extension service's collaboration with Arena Stage, will be continued this season, offering noon performances in the theater, followed by conversations with the performers. The plays will be: "Nightclub Cantata," Oct. 25; "The Caucasian Chalk Circle," Dec. 1; "A Streetcar Named Desire," Feb. 14, and Studs Terkel's "Working" March 28,. Details for the series, at $20,75, at 948-6744.

Mary Martin gave her "Do You Turn Somersaults?" costar, Anthony Quayle, a novel birthday party Tuesday night. After the Eisenhower performance, the company, 20 more than appear on stage, took off on the houseboat Marianne for a Potomac moonlight cruise . . . Robert Manson Myers will perform "The Night Season" from his "The Children of Pride," Monday at 8 p.m. in the Floger Library's Elizabethan theater.Doors open at 7:30 for this free perfomance by the singular Myers.