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Best Theaters in London

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The Lyceum Theatre was built in the 1700s, so it's a golden oldie in terms of London theaters. The theater holds just over 2000 people. In the 1970s this theater provided a platform for various popular musicians like Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Police, Bob Marley, and others. In the 1990s Jesus Christ Superstar, and Oklahoma! were performed here. Since 1999, this theater has been home to the Lion King musical.

The Globe Theatre is universally known as the place where the great plays of Shakespeare came alive. Today, Shakespeare’s Globe, located on the banks of the River Thames is a reproduction of the original Globe, which burned down in 1613 after a cannon shot set fire to its roof. The theater was built near the site of the original using nearly identical methods and materials, and is believed by historians and architects alike to be very realistic. Since it opened in 1997, The New Globe has been a popular and iconic addition to London theater, and has turned from hosting only open-air summer productions into a vibrant center of Shakespearean drama, education, exhibitions, and tours. The ‘groundling’ tradition is still alive at the Globe, whereby visitors can watch world-class theater from the yard for a low price.

The Royal National Theatre, also known as National Theatre of Great Britain, is one of the United Kingdom’s most prominent performing arts theaters. The structure, designed by architects Sir Denys Lasdun and Peter Softley in iconic brutalist style, opened its doors between 1976 and 1977, and is made up of four auditoriums: Olivier, Dorfman, Lyttelton, and The Temporary. The venue hosts a varied program of classic dramas and contemporary plays. Since 2009, the theater has hosted National Theatre Live, a program of simulcasts of live productions broadcast to cinemas around the world. A number of first-rate restaurants, cafés, and bars are housed in the building, most with outdoor seating overlooking South Bank.

Her Majesty's Theatre is a grand, French Renaissance-style theater with surviving Victorian stage machinery. Established in 1705, the theater has been rebuilt and refashioned several times, including a last major renovation in 1897. First an opera and concert house, the theater became known in the early 20th Century for hosting daring productions of classic theater and premieres by major playwrights. Since then, it has hosted mostly musical productions—including a record-setting 1916 run of the musical Chu Chin Chow—for which the size of its stage and facilities are suited. Her Majesty’s Theatre has also been home to the eternally popular musical The Phantom of the Opera since 1986.

An icon of London theater, the Old Vic opened its doors in 1818 as the Royal Coburg Theatre and was the first home of the National Theatre under Laurence Olivier. After a downturn and complete refurbishment in 1985, the theater experienced a revival at the beginning of the 21st century when American actor Kevin Spacey was appointed artistic director. Visitors should expect prominent theater and film actors in lading plays and productions, along with the occasional surprise.

Victoria Palace has been on the current site since 1832. Initially it was a hotel with a concert room. In the early 20th Century, the structure was demolished to give way to the Victoria Palace Theatre. Since its establishment in 1911, it has been showing an array of performances. The theater mainly puts on musicals, examples are Grease, Fame, Tonight's the Night and Billy Elliot.

The Aldwych Theatre was built in 1905, thanks to a generous donation by Seymour Hicks and Charles Frohman. It features beautiful design by W.G.R. Sprague. It seats 1200 and has a proscenium stage. From 1925 to 1933, the Aldwych presented Ben Travers' farces, including A Cuckoo In The Nest and A Cup of Kindness . For 21 years, from 1960 onwards, the Royal Shakespeare Company has used Aldwych as their London base.

Built in 1903, the gallant Noel Coward Theatre has been attracting audiences with innovative plays for well over a century. Formerly known as 'Albery Theatre', this medium-sized show-house is right in the very heart of London theatre land. It is easy to reach by bus or underground and easy to find once you get to busy Soho. The interior is as elegant as the baroque facade, with a beautiful stage curtain and box drapes made from rose du barri silk brocade and rose velvet. The plays here usually have more edge than those at playing at traditional mainstream theaters.

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