Royal Opera House - Covent
This impressive building in the heart of Covent Garden has been playing host to major stars
of the classical music world since 1858. The third theatre to be located on this site, today's
Royal Opera House is the result of a reconstruction in the 1990. As one of London's most
esteemed, iconic and beautiful performance venues, it's worth a visit even if you're not a
ballet or opera fan. Before 1999 the theatre only opened its doors to ticket holders just
before performances but today you can explore parts of the building for free during the day the Paul Hamlyn Hall with its dramatic glass atrium is especially worth a peek.
In the heart of Borough, behind Southwark Town Hall, the Peckham Theatre offers theatre workshops
especially aimed at children and young people in the borough. Their youth arts programme extends to
workshops in dance, drama, musical theatre singing and circus skills. First set up in 1986 under the name
New Peckham Varieties it then became the Magic Eye Theatre in 2002. It moved to its current location in
October 2007 with the 158 seat theatre hosting a wide range of productions - staging approximately four
plays per year - mixing professional actors with pupils from their workshops.
Puppet Theatre Barge
For a completely different kind of theatre experience, hop on board the Puppet Theatre Barge.
Launched in 1982, this floating puppet theatre has 50 seats and travels along
the Thames giving performances in Richmond during the summer. The theatre spends the
winter docked opposite number 35 Blomfield Road in Little Venice. To find where the boat is,
check its website. Performances here are anything but typical.
Wyndham's Theatre opened in Charing Cross Road on 16 November 1899, and was
owned by Charles Wyndham During the sixties and early seventies, stars such
as Alec Guinness, Vanessa Redgrave and Diana Rigg all took to its stage. In 1972,
Wyndham's was home to one of the biggest hits of the decade- Godspell.
Victoria Palace Theatre
The Victoria Palace Theatre as we know it today was built in 1910.
Many of its original features remain. The foyer has grey marble,
gold mosaic ,while the facade still has its grand canopy and cupola.
This was followed by 'Annie' (1978) and 'High Society' (1987). In
recent years, the Victoria Palace has been home
to Grease and Billy Elliot.
Old Vic Theatre
With the exception of The Globe, the Old Vic has had a greater influence
on the history of drama than any theatre standing today. From Kevin
Spacey and Judi Dench, the Vic has played host to generation after
generation of stars since it opened its doors in 1818. To watch a play at the
Old Vic is to become apart of theatrical history, and it is no wonder that the
theatre has little trouble attracting the biggest stars of stage and film.
The Old Red Lion Theatre
One of London's most famous fringe pub theatres, the Old Red Lion Theatre in
Islington was founded in 1979 by Charlie Hanson and is a welcome home to
various new and experimental dramatic work.. The place is also a popular pub for
locals, especially students from the nearby City University. The Old Red Lion
Theatre won the Dan Crawford Pub Theatre Award for 2006.
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
This replica of the Shakespeare's 16th century theatre,
reconstructed just 200 yards from its original site, is the brainchild
of American actor and director Sam Wanamaker. Shakespeare's
Globe Theatre opened in 1996. Although it is not an exact replica,
it is close, and plays are performed in the open-air, rain or shine.
Visitors can also tour the theatre and spend time at the
adjacent Shakespeare's Globe Exhibition.
Royal Court Theatre
Dedicated to putting on new work and discovering new voices, the Royal
Court Theatre was seen as 'the most important theatre in Europe'. In 1956
it staged John Osborne's Look Back in Anger - a landmark in modern British
drama - and the Sloane Square theatre has continued to produce work of
an equally high standard, with numerous productions making a successful
transition to the West End.
Prince Edward Theatre
The Prince Edward Theatre was designed by Edward Stone and
opened in 1930 with a performance of the musical Rio Rita. Just a
few years later, the space was converted into a dance and cabaret
hall, and was renamed the London Casino. After a few more name
changes, the building was turned back into a theatre, rechristened with its original name, and opened in 1978 with the
world premiere of the smash hit Evita.
Polka Children's Theatre
Opened in 1979, the Polka has two theatre spaces and is aimed at children
aged 0 to 13. Everything from dramas and comedies are shown here, as
well as adaptations of popular stories like We're Going on a Bear Hunt.
Some of the works are aimed at children as young as 9 months old.
The Polka offers plenty of family programs and as well as out-of-school
clubs and summer schools.
This intimate theatre was built on the site of the old Albion Tavern, and opened in November
1924. The beginnings of the Fortune Theatre were anything but fortunate. The opening
play, by Laurence Cowen, closed after two weeks. But in the 1960 the theatre fortunes
began to change. Beyond the Fringe (1961) was shown at the Fortune Theatre, and it was a
massive success, launching the careers of Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett. Its other
blockbuster hit has been Stephen Mallatratt The Woman in Black (1989), which has been
performed at the theatre ever since.
The Little Angel Theatre
The Little Angel Theatre was founded by John Wright in 1961 in a derelict temperance hall in Islington. Every
type of puppet is used, and themes, styles and stories are drawn from a wide range of cultural traditions.
The company tours throughout the UK and abroad and The Little Angel also has an extensive Education
Programme, which works with schools and youth groups. On Saturdays, there is a Puppet Club and family
fun days where children can make their own puppets and play with them.
The towering Palace Theatre dominates Cambridge Circus.
Five storeys of dark-red brick with octagonal towers on the
top give it a looming aspect better suited to a court than a
theatre. This sinister atmosphere is continued inside, with
heavy blocks of marble, and Renaissance style arches in the
foyer and stairwells.
Theatre Royal Stratford East
Theatre Royal Stratford East opened in 1884 and became the home of the
Theatre Workshop Company in 1954. Today the theatre has 450 seats and
showcases new writing and ethnically diverse plays. Examples of transfers
to the West End include Five Guys Named Moe and The Big Life. Whether
or not you are watching a performance at the theatre, stop by the Bar,
which is open even when there are no performances, and serves a
The tiny entrance of the Criterion Theatre is almost invisible among the massive
advertisements, traffic and crowds of Piccadilly Circus. It has shown a wide variety of
fare since it opened in 1974, including the first UK production of Beckett's Waiting for
Godot (1955). Run for Your Wife outdid this with a seven year run in the 1980, and it
recently played host to the Reduced Shakespeare Company, who performed
their Complete Works of William Shakespeare more than 2000 times.