5 Ways to Experience London Theatre

June 24, 2009

From performances and museums to tours and day trips, London offers a dizzying array of experiences for theatre lovers. Consider the following ideas for your next trip to London.

Theatre and Performance Exhibit

Victoria and Albert Museum's recently opened its Theatre and Performance galleries to replace the ones previously housed at the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden.

The V&A's Theatre Collections hold costumes from the mid-18th century to today, video recordings, posters and photographs all related to the performing arts. The collection explores all aspects of the performing arts since Shakespeare's day, covering drama, dance, musical theatre, circus, music hall, rock and pop, and more. The V&A is located on Cromwell Road in London.

Guided Tour of the Royal Opera House

Comprehensive and exciting, the Royal Opera House guided tour takes visitors backstage to see the inner workings of the theater. Visitors learn about the theater's history and details of the day-to-day activities while visiting the auditorium, costume and props workshops, as well as the dance studios where you may see ballet dancers in rehearsal.

The opera house is located at Covent Garden in London. The tours usually run three times per day Monday through Friday, and last about 1 hour 30 minutes.

Performances of Opera, Ballet, Musicals & Plays

There are only a handful of places in the world where you can experience first-rate opera, dance, musicals and plays in one place. London is such a place. The West End offers broadway-style shows such as the popular Wicked and Phantom of the Opera. Opera and ballet featuring international stars can be seen at the Royal Opera House, London Coliseum, and other venues throughout the city. And you can enjoy the classics and cutting-edge new plays at the National Theatre, Globe Theatre Young and the Old Vic Theatre, to name just a few.

It is often a good idea to book tickets for London performances in advance of your trip to ensure you can get seats for the shows you want.

Shakepeare's Globe Theatre

Shakespeare's Globe is more than the venue reconstructed to resemble the playhouse for which Shakespeare wrote and presented his plays. It is an educational complex with a museum; library and archive; ongoing excavations of the Globe's predecessor, the Rose; and events and workshops for the public, students and theater professionals.

Take a tour of the Globe theatre or attend a performance in the open-air venue similar to the one audience goers experienced during Shakespeare's time. During the theatre season, Shakespeare plays along with new experimental works are presented.

The Shakespeare's Globe is located in Bankside across the Millenium Bridge in London and it is open daily.

Walking Tour Exploring London Theatre

Visitors can explore London's theatrical heritage from the impact theater has made on society and daily life to the important venues and the performances that changed history. Tours trace the evolution of theater in London from its origins in Bankside to what it has become today.

Day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon

Travel through the rolling hills of the Cotswolds to Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare. Here you can attend a performance of the Royal Shakespeare Company or visit the locales and houses connected with Shakespeare and his family.

Get assistance planning a London theater trip or booking the tours mentioned in this article.

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