London is well known as one of the most culturally rich and diverse cities in Europe, and the theatre scene more than reflects this. It seems that nowadays, there’s a new theatre cropping up on every street corner, and whilst these black box fringe theatres give new blood a place to play and try things out, the real classics are in the centre of the city and hold centuries of history behind them. If you’re looking for some great theatre and performance, coupled with stunning and historic architecture, then check out these, some of London’s best West End Theatres.
The Globe Theatre is one of the most famous theatres in london. Based near London Bridge on the bustling banks of the River Thames, the current Globe is a reconstruction of the Elizabethan era theatre where Shakespeare performed with his King’s Men theatre company. Nowadays, the Globe theatre company stages traditional performances of Shakespearean classics, alongside the works of his contemporaries. Plays are performed to stalls and seating alongside cheaper standing tickets, reflecting the social and vibrant atmosphere which would have washed over the original Globe. On top of this, they put on new writing reflecting the Shakespearean period is staged at the Globe, such as Eyam, a piece of new writing set in a plague ridden medieval London. Eyam plays from the 15th of September.
The Old Vic, near Waterloo, is a theatre that stages new writing and contemporary classics. The theatre itself is world renowned as pioneering in the dramatic arts and it’s no surprise, seeing as they’ve been at it since 1818, when it opened as the Royal Coburg Theatre. As a Grade II listed building, the Old Vic is beautiful both inside and out, reflecting the layout of traditional music halls.
Built in the early 80’s, the performing arts venue of the Barbican in East London is one of the best performance venues for internationally renowned performing arts. With a strong concoction of music, dance and theatre, the Barbican is an equally strong piece of concrete brutalism, it’s design reflecting a modern London. What’s more, the Barbican is well known for its film screenings and art exhibitions, contributing to a heady blend of the best culture in the country.
Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Located very close the Piccadilly London West End, the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane is most likely the oldest theatre in the city, its site dating back to 1663. With four different theatres having been built on its site, the Drury Lane Theatre now hosts a wide range of west end hits and classic plays, all set within a beautiful Victorian interior.
This 1683 theatre is based in the Clerkenwell area of London and is one of the best theatres for contemporary dance in the UK. The reason for the name, Sadlers Wells comes from the landowner Richard Sadler who built the theatre and claimed that the springs he’d found on his land had restorative and healing properties. However, it’s not the water which will revitalise you nowadays, but the sheer talent and beauty you will find on the stage.