Great chance to explore Japanese theatre, the Kabuki theatre in Ginza, Central Tokyo sells tickets for whole or part performances. Bear in mind that whole performances can easily last 5 hours and the seats are packed in tight! You are also advised to get a pair of earphones to relay the action in English. One of the plays I saw consisted entirely of a group of noblemen sitting cross-legged on the floor and would have been meaningless to me if I hadn't been being told what was happening! There's often dancing and spectacular fight scenes too.
On the main Ginza strip - alight at Higashi Ginza station
Of the three main opera houses, the Staatsoper (Unter den Linden) is the poshest. It's very elegant but its bars are a bit cramped and the staff a bit flunkified. Most of the audience are smartly dressed. The Komische always sings in German; if you can cope with that it has interesting productions. The audience there are regular goers rather than people making an occasion of it. Sit high up - if bored you can always admire the unexpected statuary and mirrors decor.
Deutsche Oper is a bit marooned in the old west, but actually has the most comfortable public facilities. Sit in the long rake of the stalls rather than upstairs. They're all reasonably priced by UK standards, and usually have tickets available at short notice/on the day
Gi-normous, fenced in park with plenty of room to roam, masses of stuff for kids and adults to do (wee train trips, water areas, lakes, all sorts of animals (free on the range), open air music and theatre) and masses of space to do nothing in, if that's what takes your fancy. Beautifully maintained and not at all corporate feeling. Couple of euros to get in. Bargain.
Neukoln, in the south east of the city. It's big, so no 'one' place to get in. Get a map!
A venue for all kinds of events and music. Featuring 'Joint-venture' every last sunday of a month - a show for new music, experimental electronica, improvisation and realtime music - and the GLOBUSbar, every Thursday, which is a nice lounge with live-music. Other shows, include an opera 'Ay!Carmen'.
On in December, I loved this production of the Nutcracker. The scenery was good and our seats were in the front rows. This is a 'must see' if you like ballet. Go the whole hog and buy a programme too to take home! Magical. Tickets on sale from September time.
A world class venue designed to resemble a traditional pagoda, it's one of the few modern buildings in the brash city centre to have been built in anything like the vernacular. The theatre hosts international performers and performances from classical orchestras to Shakespeare companies to The Sound of Music. Shanghai's culture vultures are a keen lot: you'll even find touts trying to fob off ballet tickets.
People's Square - People's Square Station Metro Line 1 and 2 www.shgtheatre.com/images_e/mainindex_e.asp
Breathtaking - the theatre is a gorgeous confection both inside and out, the performances are great and where better to see Don Giovanni than in the very theatre where it had its 1787 world premiere, conducted by the composer himself.
Estates theatre (the big greeny blue one)
London's loss is Paris's gain. Peter Brook, perhaps the finest theatre director in the world, runs this extraordinary theatre, one of the most beautifully dilapidated buildings in Paris. Now in his eighties, it is worth catching one of his shows whilst he is still at the height of his powers.
37 bis, Bd de la Chapelle 75010; Nearest Metro: La Chapelle
A September tradition, the Fringe Festival (www.vancouverfringe.com) is now in its 21st year. All performances over the 11 days are held on or around Granville Island. Uniquely entertaining, my favourite venue to date was on a moving Aquabus.
In a city where irony and theatre appear hardwired into its genetic makeup, the theatre where Vaclav Havel plotted the 1989 revolution ineffably captures the spirit of Prague through ingenuous performances combining mime, film, theatre, dance, and light.
Nova Scena, Narodni triad 4, Nove Mesto, Prague 1; Tel: 224 931 482; Open: Box Office 10am-8pm Mon-Sat; Tickets: 300-600kc (no credit cards); www.laterna.cz/
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