The Leicester Square Box Office is a small theatre ticket box office tucked away in Leicester Square.
I recently bought tickets to Lion King:The Musical, and the tickets were a lot cheaper than anywhere else! You can't argue with that.
Wilton’s is old. In fact it’s the oldest music hall of its kind in the world. If that isn’t enough reason to visit it’s totally charming and has a programme of delightful theatrical events to entertain us all. I have seen short films of London before the Second World War (there is a cinema club) and I have seen a Victorian styled cabaret show which was both frightening and hilarious. They have also had award winning plays with top notch actors. If you’re not into theatrical experiences then you could just stay in the bar, there’s a piano, low lighting, many alcoholic drinks and a feel of gay Paris.
1 Graces Alley, London, E1 8JB
Closest tube: Shadwell (Overground), Tower Hill (District and Circle lines)
Open at various times: Check the website before you visit and print a map.
Google map: bit.ly/fMo0si
As generations of unenthusiastic schoolchildren would affirm, nothing is more literary than a Shakespeare play. The best place to convert a reluctant student is Shakespeare’s Globe on London’s Embankment, built in the original open-air Elizabethan model. Try a lively production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and defy even the sulkiest teenager not to laugh; or Macbeth, where this summer naked, bloodied bodies writhed out of tarpaulins from amongst the standing audience. Tip, if you are sitting, hire cushions, and try and avoid seats in the full sun.
As the UK's first purpose-built theatre for children, the Unicorn is special because of its award-winning plays, its ensemble of talented actors, its great learning and participation programme,its pioneering work for children with disabilities, and its high-quality visiting companies programme.
The Unicorn presents work which challenges, excites and informs a generation of new audiences in a fabulous, award-winning space.
The Chicken Shed Theatre is a theatre company working to use an inclusive creative process which means everyone is welcome, and everyone is valued. Chickenshed runs Children's and Youth Theatre workshops for 600 people, education courses for over 100 students, community outreach projects and a network of satellite 'Sheds' across the country (and two in Russia) so even more can benefit. Every extraordinary piece of theatre created at Chickenshed shouts out the same thing: anyone can thrive in an environment where everyone is welcome.
I recommend the Polka Theatre in Wimbledon, London. This theatre only does shows for children. I can still remember the excitement of school trips there. Coming from a family that did not do things like go the the theatre, it opened up a new world to me.
Great alternative theatrical dining experience. It's had sell-out performances across South Africa over the past two years. The show combines performances from contortionists, comedians and circus actors with a four-course meal and it would be a great Christmas experience.
Battersea Power Station - a 5 minute walk from Vauxhall tube station
A new purpose-built children's theatre (2006) with two auditorium just behind the London Assembly Building by Tower Bridge. It consists of a main stage and studio theatre.
The Unicorn Company was founded by Caryl Jenner in 1947 to promote theatre of the highest standard for young people. They are presenting their own productions with their ensemble company and productions from other children's theatre companies from the UK and places like Japan and Sweden.
Box office 020 7645 0560
If you want to get discounted theatre tickets in London, you can either go to the Tkts booth in Leicester Square (expect queues) or try a site such as Lastminute.com which can offer discounts or packages for the theatre. The queue at the Tkts booth can be quite long so you can check availability on the Official London Theatre Tickets website. The other ticket booths you see dotted around London typically share the same inventory so there is little difference to whether you go to one or the other (the service charge may just differ).
www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk/tkts/today/Leicester Square, London W1
This is a fantastic London institution. In the centre of Regent's Park it is a little piece of magic. You enter through a small gate and the softly draped fairy lights around the bar, the smell of barbecued meat and the excited buzz of over 1,000 fellow attendees makes for a really exciting night. Many start with a picnic on the lawns outside in the park which is a fab way to feel really summery. Tickets start from ten pounds. Every year performances include Midsummer Night's Dream, a children's play and something contemporary (this year it is the Boyfriend). It also stages comedy nights and concerts on Sundays. Comedy Store Players is fantastic but sells out quickly every year. It is a completely unpretentious night out, you can take wine and crisps etc. into the auditorium. Advise that you also take warm clothes and possibly waterproofs, depending on the weather!
Regents Park, 10 minutes walk from Baker Street tube.
Sited on that increasingly buzzing area, the South Bank, this reproduction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre is a refreshing change from the theatre district of the West End. It's an opportunity to see great plays performed by superb actors in the setting in which they are meant to be seen; oh, and the only way to see it is as a 'groundling' standing in the open area in front of the stage - where else can you get a good night's entertainment for a fiver?!!
Watch out for other events as well, as the Globe has been used in the past for musical events and the London venue for a certain Mr Billy Connolly on his 'World Tour'.
21 New Globe Walk
It's almost impossible to find a seat in most pubs in the West End area between 5 and 8pm, but the Nell is handily equipped with an upstairs area which most people seem to ignore. If you're off to see a show at
Drury Lane, The Coliseum, The Donmar or the ROH, the Nell should provide you with a drink and a seat beforehand.
29 Catherine Street, London, WC2B 5JS; Tel: 020 7836 5328
Re-energised since Nicholas Hytner became the artistic director two years ago, The National has finally begun to reflect 21st century Britain, with productions as diverse as Henry IV, Jerry Springer: The Opera and Elmina's Kitchen. As a result, the whole place is buzzing again, with the most diverse and vital audience of any major artistic venue in Britain. £10 tickets for the TravelEx plays make the whole package even more attractive.
South Bank, SE1 9PX; Nearest tube: Waterloo or Embankment; www.nt-online.org/
The birthplace of Jerry Springer: The Opera is the spiritual centre of London's fringe theatre scene. BAC's success has been founded not just on the quality and diversity of its programme, but also on establishing the building as a cultural crucible. Scratch nights, where untested ideas can be shown to audiences who are encouraged to give feedback to the artists in the bar later, along with an extensive set of festivals mean that this is where to go to find the most cutting-edge theatre in the city.
Lavender Hill, SW11 5TN; Tel: 020 7223 2223; www.bac.org.uk
Only a couple of years old and already firmly established as one of the most exciting and consistent fringe theatres in London, the Menier Chocolate Factory should be high on the must-see list of culture vultures everywhere. The programming is eclectic, but not perversely so, and with hits like Fully Committed already transferring to the West End, this venue has a sure touch for both commercial and critical success. The fact that it also boasts an excellent restaurant improves an already attractive proposition.
51/53 Southwark Street, SE! 1RU; Tel: 020 7907 7060 ; Tube: London Bridge; www.menierchocolatefactory.com
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