Whatever sort of theatre you’re in the mood for, you’ll be able to find a show and stage that suit in London. From intimate Shakesperian comedy and tragedy to extravagant musicals and experimental (Fringe) theatre, here are the city’s top stages.
West End theatres
• National Theatre: with three theatres under one roof and frequent West End transfers (like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and War Horse) the National offers some of the best classic and contemporary theatre in town.
• The Old Vic: The Old Vic is one of the oldest theatres in London. Popular amongst serious theatre-goers, it was made even more popular when Kevin Spacey became the art director.
• Theatre Royal Haymarket: known for its matinees, world-class plays and big-name directors (like Trevor Nunn), you’ll be sure to have a memorable experience at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
• Gielgud Theatre: with notable stars like Maggie Smith, Daniel Radcliffe and Patrick Stewart treading the boards, this theatre brings a continuous schedule of highbrow entertainment.
• Apollo Theatre: Jerusalem, Mark Rylance’s Richard III and Twelfth Night (starring Stephen Fry), and Let The Right One In are just some of the extremely popular shows to be recently produced at this fantastic theatre.
Off-West End theatres
• Royal Court Theatre: away from the West End theatre circuit, the Royal Court in Sloane Square offers an outstanding schedule of breakthrough plays and new writers.
• Almeida Theatre: this Islington theatre is known and loved for its bold and provocative plays both old and new.
• Shakespeare’s Globe: a theatre that needs no introduction. The Globe, situated along the River Thames on Bankside, is a reconstruction of the original theatre (which burnt down in 1613) and pays constant homage to the Bard.
• The Young Vic: this venue offers an exciting and fresh approach to theatre, just a stone’s throw from the Old Vic and London Waterloo.
• Soho Theatre: in the heart of central London, expect alternative and experimental productions.
• Theatre 503: this above-a-pub theatre, in Battersea, supports new writing in an intimate space.
• Finborough Theatre: located in Fulham, not far from Earl’s Court, the Finborough offers a seasoned schedule of thought-provoking new writing.
• King’s Head Theatre: just a short walk from Angel, this pub theatre is a great spot to catch a reasonably priced play.
• Jermyn Street Theatre: just off Piccadilly, the small, but brilliant, productions in this central location lend a nice contrast to the grandiose of its West End neighbours.
• White Bear Theatre: an unexpected venue that’s respected for showcasing budding playwrights.