London is a city which you can explore for days. It’s so extremely versatile and filled with things to do that you can satisfy every curiosity you might have. All you need are time and money to immerse yourself in the many wonders of the UK’s capital city.
But there is one thing that should be included in every trip you make to London, and that is a visit to the theater. It doesn’t matter what kind of show or play you like because the city’s famed versatility can be relied upon to embrace them all.
The theater has played a major part in the history of London and until this day all those countries that either comprise the UK today or once existed under its umbrella retain their love for this art form. The Globe and Shakespeare are undoubtedly the star features of the theater’s history, but few people realize that watching a show has been the favorite pastime of Brits since the times of the Roman occupation.
Today if you want to learn more about the fascinating history of the British theater tradition, and see some of London’s architectural masterpieces at the same time, you can go on a tour of the city’s theaters. Explore them by day and admire the shows by night.
But be advised that you should learn the proper London theater etiquette as well as a few tricks – says Patrick Healy, a writer for The New York Times. These tricks will help you snap up the tickets and choose the best venues. London shows are hot, so getting to see one can be difficult and expensive unless you plan and book it well in advance.
What Are the Best Theaters to Visit in London?
As theater is so important to the Brits, it’s no surprise that London is brimming with them. And each of these places is special in its own way. Nathan, an experienced London guide with Strawberry Tours who also has a deep passion for theater and drama, says that your first London theater tour must include visits to both the East and West ends as well as combining visits to old and modern buildings. This will help you to truly see how diverse the drama is and how the Britons revere it.
Being the active lady that you are, wandering around the vastness of London shouldn’t be an issue – especially if you remain mindful that it has a well-developed public transport system. You can begin your theater tour with:
1. Bush Theatre
If you want to see something modern, and daring in all the right ways, you should visit the Bush Theatre. This is where contemporary British culture lives, according to Zoe Paskett writing for the Evening Standard. Here you can see all the newest plays from artists who have won various prizes. All in all, the theater is groundbreaking in the truest sense of the word.
The theater is housed in a gorgeous Victorian building that used to be a library. A section of it still exists as a rented event space, which is part of the theater now.
2. The Old Vic
Those who are more interested in the classics shouldn’t miss The Old Vic, one of the oldest and most prominent theaters in Britain’s history. It dates back to 1818 and many a masterpiece has been performed for the first time on this stage.
Visit by day to immerse yourself in its history and to enjoy one of the several bars, each with a unique atmosphere and yet all saturated with drama.
Arcola is a fringe East London theater at its finest. Here you will see some of the most daring contemporary plays. There are so many of them that you are sure to enjoy something new on every visit you make to London. Be on the lookout for Grimeborn opera.
This is a great place for a budget traveler, or for those of you who have already pushed your travel budget to its limit. Every Tuesday Arcola hosts a Pay What You Can event, which will allow you to see a magnificent performance for as little as £5. These tickets are limited in number and you can only buy them on-site on Tuesdays. There is a café and a bar to keep you entertained as well.
4. Sadler’s Wells
Dance is the language of passion. If you agree, a visit to Sadler’s Wells may be exactly what you need. This is the premier venue for dance events in Europe today. The shows you can see performed here are extremely versatile and numerous, and all of them are infallibly graceful and passionate.
This is also a place where you can not only admire, but participate as well. There are various ways to get involved in the learning process and your age and experience level are unimportant. You may even end up having your first ever dance lesson in these hallowed studios in which professional dancers all over the world dream about performing.
London Theater Tour to Remember
London theaters are many, but your first tour of them should give you some idea of just how versatile they are. That’s why you should step off the usual tourist path and explore some of the most unique and special venues that exist in the city today.