https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles...rent%20vehicle. Yes, you need to have passed the theory test before you can take the practical
They like you to bring it just in case, but it is all electronic these days so 99.9% of the time you will not be asked for it. Sometimes we have a marker which requests us to ask for it, but this is only when the computer screws up and thinks it might be expired or have been impersonated. I have not been asked to view one in half a dozen years.