Best theatres in London
If you love the theatre, then London is the perfect place to be. Here you’ll see all manner of showstoppers, from opera and ballet to musicals and dramas – and of course the city is home to the greatest playwright of all time, William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Let me tell thee of the sights to see:
The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden is one of the world’s oldest opera houses. Both local troupes and visiting artists (like La Scala from Milan or the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre) are known to frequent the arena. The tickets could be expensive and you need to book way in advance, however, Royal Opera House holds numerous events where tickets are cheap (or free!) and access is a lot easier. Lunchtime recitals, backstage tours, talks and even events for children – Family Sundays (6+ yrs old). Have you ever thought you can bring your kids to the opera and they will not get bored? You can check the schedule here.
The Opera House is also very popular with British society’s higher circles, and it is often possible you will meet with famous politicians and members of the aristocracy when attending the opera. In 2009 when I visited the centennial production of the “Ballets Russes” by Sergei Diaghilev, I was able to sit next to the now departed Margaret Thatcher, ex-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom!
Tickets at the Royal Opera House are best bought several months in advance. You can buy them directly through the theatre’s website by using a credit or debit card. Tickets for the opera cost on average £120-200 per person depending on your seat, while the ballet comes in a tad cheaper at £70-110 per person.
We couldn’t mention London’s theatre scene without mentioning the West End, home to all the other queens in the city! Alongside New York’s Broadway, the West End is one of the largest musical centres in the world. Coming a long way from its roots as a nineteenth century hub of Victorian era entertainment, there are now musicals based on the music of legends such as Michael Jackson, the Beatles, Abba and Queen. Despite not being the biggest fan of Michael Jackson, I loved Thriller, which had me dancing and singing all night. It’s impossible to sit in your chair for the duration, but rest assured that everyone else will be dancing with you!
Some musicals have been running for almost thirty years; “Les Miserables” and “Phantom Of The Opera” are so popular that they have stayed in the West End for almost three decades now. Tickets for musicals cost on average around £50-100 per person.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is undeniably the greatest place to see classical English theatre in its purest form. While it is necessary to mention that it is not the same theatre where Shakespeare staged his plays, it is, however, a wonderful replica of the setting. Built in 1997, it repeats the theatre structure of the seventeenth century in terms of its shape, style and figures it holds.
Performances take place in the open air, rain or shine, so be warned that you may get wet from time to time if you are particularly unfortunate. Also take note that classics such as “Julius Caesar”, “All’s Well That Ends Well” and “Antony & Cleopatra” will feature Shakespearean English, which even the natives of this country have trouble with! Only spend the money (£25 per person) if you are sure you will understand it well enough to enjoy it.
You can also take a guided tour around the Globe theatre where you will learn about its 17th century predecessor, life of William Shakspeare himself and history of the entertainment district which the Southbank was 300 years ago.