The last time I left you guys, we spoke about London’s diversity and some of my favourite museums and galleries worth visiting in London. As previously mentioned during my discussion about the Victoria and Albert Museum, theatre plays an incredibly important part in British culture. Therefore, it was pivotal I visit several theatres during my time in London. An important thing to keep in mind is that there are more theatres in London than you can count on your hand. Each of them perform different plays and have their own unique appeal. Thus, do your research and find a play which interests you. Below I will discuss the three theatres I visited during my trip.
The Royal National Theatre
The Royal National Theatre is one of the most prominent theatres in London and quite massive. As one of the most prominent theatres, it also means it costs quite a bit to see a show. If you are looking to get good seats, you will have to book in advance on the theatre’s website. If you are a short, near-sighted person like myself then do yourself a favour and splurge in a ticket closer to the front of the stage when booking. You will thank me later. For the average individual, sound does travel well in this theatre and the seating is arranged in a way that the view of the stage is general unobstructed. During the performance I watched, scenes transitioned seamlessly and the lighting and sound crew did a phenomenal job of conveying the mood of the scene unfolding below. The National Theatre is definitely worth a visit if you can dish out the pounds.
The Globe is modeled after a theatre built by Shakespeare’s playing company during the end of the 16th century. Like the name suggests, it is a globe shaped theater in which there are three ring shaped galleries: the lower, middle, and upper. In the center of the ring, is the Yard. For the cost of about 5 pounds, you can experience the action first hand standing for the entirety of the show in the yard. By standing in the yard, the action comes to you. During the performance, some of the action will unfold in the very place yard you are standing in as well as the stage. For those up for the challenge of standing for roughly 2 and a half hours, please do so. It is definitely an unforgettable experience, even if my feet were not happy about the entire ordeal. My only advice is to wear comfortable shoes and to be prepared for wet weather as the Globe has an open ceiling. With that said, pack your ponchos and runners and get going!
Last but not least is Fortune Theatre. My study abroad course was slowly coming to an end and while sitting on the carpet with three other classmates in a cramped student dorm, we decided to see one last play. The play was The Woman in Black. What this theater lacks in size it makes up in sheer spirit. The performance had very few props, but with a little imagination needed from the crowd and the enthusiasm of the actors it was worth every dollar. Rather than the small size of the theater being a con, it allowed for a much more intimate experience. In short, do not dismiss a theatre simply because of its size as you may find yourself liking it more than the prominent big name theatres.
It can be overwhelming when trying to decide on the “best” theatre to visit in London. My advice is that everyone is different, and what one person might consider the best may not necessarily be the same as your “best”. Thus, follow what interests you and choose the plays with the most appealing story line for you. While The National Theatre had a grandiose beauty and stunning visual and audio, the grandness prevented me from enjoying the drama unfolding below. As a result, I much rather enjoyed The Globe and Fortune Theatre which offered a more intimate experience of theatre. That concludes my section on London’s theaters. Up next I will discuss some of my favourite landmarks and green spaces in London. Thanks again for reading!