It’s behind you! Winter is a time of year when many of us head to the theatre, be it for a panto, a concert or another type of festive show. But of course the theatre scene is evergreen. And in London, the theatrical options, it’s fair to say, dwarf those found in other UK locations.
Theatres around the UK offer some fantastic stage experiences but on these shores there really is nowhere to rival London when it comes to the size of its theatrical offering. No one article could encapsulate every facet of London’s offering in this regard. So here we’re just going to glance at three types of theatre in the city: Shakespeare productions, musicals and modern works.
Shakespeare is performed all the time throughout London and beyond. But few theatres are as intimately linked to the Bard as Shakespeare’s Globe in London. This is because this outdoor theatre gives people a sense of visiting a production as people would have when Will himself was alive.
Though it will appeal to almost anyone, and doesn’t just stage Shakespeare plays, the Globe simply cannot be missed by people who enjoy the playwright’s work.
Its draws include the incredible affordability of ticket prices and the very unusual theatrical experience the outdoor atmosphere provides.
The theatre recently gave word that summer 2015 will see a Justice and Mercy themed programme for Dominic Dromgoole’s last summer in the Artistic Director chair.
The play opening the season is The Merchant of Venice, which will be beginning its time at the theatre on April 23rd next year. Also included is As You Like It, which will open on May 15th. Measure for Measure will open June 20th and Richard II on July 11th.
A production of King John will have a run at the theatre in June, as well as touring.
Besides traditional Shakespeare, there are some foreign language Shakespeare productions and new writing on the way for audiences at The Globe this coming summer, too.
As well as live theatrical events, the Globe – which incorporates the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse theatre, offering a different type of historical-style stage – has an Exhibition and Tour to provide visitors with further information and Shakespeare and topics linked to The Bard.
When some people think of going to a show, they’re thinking of something that’s full to the brim with songs. And London has plenty of this sort of theatre on offer.
It’s hard to know quite where to start… will you go and see a musical you already love, or one that you might not know all the words to yet? We love a bit of Les Miserables and, even though the recent film version was spectacular, there’s nothing quite like hearing those matchless classics – I Dreamed a Dream, Stars and the rest – sung live. At the moment, the show can be seen at The Queen’s Theatre in London.
Miss Saigon, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory… it’s hard to know which musicals to highlight here, there are so many great ones in the city! How about Billy Elliot, which is approaching ten years since opening? It’s not been around as long as Les Mis and it has a much more modern setting, but its tunes are no less appealing!
Modern drama and new work
Of course there can be plenty of drama in a musical – just look at the tale of convict life and poverty painted in Les Mis! – but if you’re looking for a show without the singing, there’s lots to see in London, too. And there are plenty of plays on offer from the 20th century and beyond.
The city is regularly home to the newest work around, like the upcoming Rules for Living, beginning its run at the National Theatre on March 13th next year. This is a comedy set at Christmas time, with Marianne Elliott directing. Another example of new work in the city is Tree by Daniel Kitson, which will be at The Old Vic in January, having already appeared at The Royal Exchange in Manchester.
It often makes sense to book a hotel in London when you see a show in the city, especially as evening performances can end quite late. Luxury hotels in London like The Montcalm are a great option for those looking for splendid quality.