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With the rise of the West End, London took the throne as one of the world’s biggest names in Theatre. The city became a place where the most innovative names in the business took center stage and some of the plays they created have become house hold names both at home and across the pond. Today, London Theatre attracts both big name celebrities and up and coming playwrights, and performers. Along with small fringe theatres and big performance spaces London theatre also has one of the world’s best opera houses. In fact, the city takes its theatre so seriously that it has two subsidized production companies, The Royal National Theatre Company and the royal Shakespeare Theatre Company.
In London, even the obscure afternoon matinees are known to fill up so if you are desperate to see a particular show, it may be best to buy your tickets well in advance. You can often book tickets online, at the box office or at the coniegere desk at the hotel. If you are a little more flexible there are plenty of good deals to take advantage of.
Standing room only tickets at places like the Globe Theatre are often inexpensive and there are often obscured view seats also available at discounted prices. Beware of scalpers standing outside the doors of the theatres. However, sometimes good pre-curtain deals are available, especially for students. If you are going the last minute wrought, try for earlier in the week and matinees are usually cheaper and less crowded. Casual dress usually isn’t appropriate at the theatre so try to dress up for a night out, if you are going to the opera, shooting for high class doesn’t hurt. If you are from the United States, the seating lingo may also be different than what you are use to so when picking out seats make sure you check the seating chart before you buy tickets.
Venues and Genres
We known that the play is the thing in London, but what kind of play and where to see it is entirely another matter. Visitors can catch the latest cutting edge drama sometimes preformed by some of The big screen’s British Royalty like Judy Dench, Jeremy Irons or Hugh Laurie. If you want to tap your toes the West End is famous for its high end, blockbuster style Musicals with the styling’s of both famous pop artists and the likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber still being heard ringing from the rafters. In other parts of town visitors can check out small independent theaters.
While the West End is king for new musicals, there are several other venues that also boast large venues perfect for show stopping numbers and standing ovations. One if these is the O2 arena Theatre This massive complex has seen shows such as Legally Blonde, Les Misérables and many others. The O2 complex itself is also seeing extra attention because of the 2012 Summer Olympics and the hundreds of other sporting events that happen there throughout the year.
Two of these venues are famous for their historic qualities as well as their big name shows. One of these is the Hammersmith Apollo. This old 1930s cinema turned theatre is famous for its art deco design and often shows musicals and other theatrical acts. The London Palladium is the other big historic venue. Built in 1910 this theatre is famous for its royal functions and Victorian style. While many musicals are still preformed here every year, performers like Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and Yul Brynner have all preformed in at the London Palladium