The West End in London’s Soho district is renowned across the world for the quality of its theatres. With many of the world’s biggest and best shows on offer on any given night of the week, the famous West End stretch is constantly buzzing as theatre-goers drift in and out to soak up the rich cultural experiences available.
As some of the best actors from around the world populate the stage, the fantastic performances on offer are only enhanced by the stunning architecture and design of the theatres themselves.
Here are five of the theatres on offer that you should make sure to check out on your next trip to London.
Prince Edward Theatre
Taking its name from Prince Edward, who ruled briefly as King in 1936, the Prince Edward Theatre narrowly survived bombings in World World II – many of its neighbouring buildings were destroyed. With a capacity of 1,716, it is one of the larger West End theatres, and takes a prime position on the West End’s Old Compton Street in the City of Westminster. Recent productions have included Jersey Boys, Miss Saigon, Aladdin, and Mary Poppins.
The Shaftesbury Theatre
The Shaftesbury Theatre is the largest independent theatre in the West End. First opened in 1911, the recently refurbished Edwardian theatre was the last to be opened on the West End’s Shaftesbury Avenue. Owned by Theatre of Comedy Company, they host shows that are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. The theatre’s seating capacity is 1,400. Recent shows have included The Illusionists, & Juliet, Memphis, and Motown: The Musical.
Located on Wellington Street, just off The Strand, the baroque-style Lyceum Theatre is one of the largest and one of the oldest theatres on the West End. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was written within the walls of the Lyceum, and besides its stunning theatre productions, the Lyceum has hosted performances from the likes of The Who, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Queen, and Prince. Recent productions include Jesus Christ Superstar, Oklahoma!, and The Lion King.
The Duke of York’s Theatre
Opened in 1892, the Duke of York’s Theatre is located on St Martin’s Lane in Covent Garden. The Ambassador Theatre Group – whose headquarters are in the building – bought the theatre in 1992, and a host of successes followed including Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show. The theatre seats 650 over three levels. Recent shows include Shakespeare’s King Lear (starring Ian McKellen), Tennesee Williams’ Summer and Smoke, and Touching the Void.
Opened in 1870, the Vaudeville Theatre is located on the Strand in the City of Westminster. It originally hosted a large number of vaudeville-style productions – an 18th century French variety show format that became popular in the English-speaking world.
The theatre is decorated in a Romanesque style, and seats 690 over three levels. Recent shows have included True West (starring Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington, and Jonny Flynn), and Emilia The Musical.
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