| |

A Theatre Lover’s Guide To The UK

Is there anything greater than catching a live show or singing your heart out to a musical? 

We don’t think so. 

Whether youre planning a date night, birthday surprise or you just to avoid another evening of watching Netflix, going to the theatre to see a show can be a magical way to spend your time. 

As we often see, the West End tends to be the focal point for theatre in the UK, but the truth is there is so much more to do than just visiting London venues. 

Of course, thats not to say the London scene isnt great, but were here to expand your view and tell you a little more about theatre in the UK as a whole. 

Across the country, you can watch a series of performances in some truly spectacular venues. So, whether youre new to the theatre scene or youre simply looking to expand your horizons, here is our theatre lovers guide to the UK. 


The best cities for theatre 

Almost every city and town across the nation will have its own theatre or performance space, even if thats a village hall or community centre. These performances could range from small local productions to hugely popular titles that have been running for years, depending on where you are. 

As weve said, London is often the go-to when you think of the UK, and this is unsurprising as the capital is home to over 200 professional theatres, 39 of which are located in the West End. But while other cities might not have quite so many performance spaces, this doesn’t mean they aren’t great locations for going to the theatre. 

Some of the other top cities to catch a show include Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds in the North and Birmingham in the Midlands. In the South, you have Bristol, Brighton and Chichester, while outside of England you’ll find exciting performances in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast. 

And these are just 10 other cities that are perfect for catching a show. If youre planning a trip anywhere in the UK, always be sure to do some research and check out the local theatre scene. 

10 of the nation’s best theatres 

The UK has a vast and vibrant theatre scene and within this, there are some standout theatres that are worth visiting if you get a chance. Although where you go will largely depend on where your chosen performance is taking place, there are some venues worth checking out regardless. Some of the nations best theatres include: 

  •       National Theatre, London
  •       Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
  •       Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
  •       Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
  •       The Old Vic, London
  •       Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
  •       Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon
  •       Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
  •       The Globe, London
  •       The Theatre Royal, Brighton 


The UK’s longest-running shows 

With every year, theatre lineups change and new shows take their place on the bill. However, there are some classics that have been running for decades and are still showing today. In fact, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap first took to the stage in 1952 and last year celebrated its 70-year anniversary

Some of the other longest-running shows in the UK that you can still see today include Les Misérables (1985), The Phantom of the Opera (1986), Mamma Mia! (1999) and The Lion King (1999). 

What’s on this year? 

As well as the long-running classics weve listed above, there are loads of other fresh shows also running this year. While lots of the bigger shows will start in London, they also move on to tour the UK and show at other venues for a few months. This means there are plenty of great shows to see, no matter where youre going. 

So, if youre planning a trip to the theatre in 2023, its a good idea to know what shows are available to you so you can ensure you book tickets in time. Here are 15 of the top shows you can see in varying locations around the UK this year: 

  1. 2:22 A Ghost Story
  2. Six
  3. Life of Pi
  4. Dirty Dancing
  5. Guys and Dolls
  6. Pretty Woman
  7. Sister Act
  8. Hamilton
  9. A Little Life
  10. We Will Rock You
  11. The Bodyguard
  12. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  13. The King and I
  14. Shrek the Musical
  15. A Street Car Named Desire 

The biggest names in theatre right now 

As well as playing host to so many wonderful performances, the UK theatre scene is also bursting at the seams with celebrities and some of the nations best-loved stars. 

While it would take too long to list every one, if youre going to the theatre over the next 12 months or so, be sure to look out for some of these big names. 

This year, you can see both Steve Pemberton and Lily Allen in The Pillowman. But its not just Lily Allen representing the music charts, some other singers on the bill include Beverley Knight in Sylvia and Cheryl Tweedy in 2:22 A Ghost Story. 

Alternatively, if you love stand-up comedy you can enjoy an all-star cast in Bleak Expectations with big names including Julian Clary, Stephen Fry and Stephen Mangan. Or, if youre a TV buff, youll enjoy Sheridan Smith in Shirley Valentine, Aimee Lou Wood in Cabaret or Paul Mescal in A Streetcar Named Desire. 

These are just a few of the big names. There are loads of other stars performing right now, from singers and soap stars to comedians and national treasures, so think about who you’d like to see before getting your tickets. 

Where to get your tickets 

Finally, when you know what youd like to see or where you’re going, its time to book your tickets. In the UK, there are two options for this. If youre feeling spontaneous or hoping to bag an absolute bargain, you might wish to get tickets from the box office at your chosen venue. The only problem with this is that you might not get the best seats, performance times or choice of shows. 

This is why, in most cases, it’s best to book your tickets online to ensure they are available and that youll definitely get to see the performance or stars you want to. This also makes it easier to book in advance so you can plan your itinerary according to your theatre trip.

This is a guest publication by Paige Vanzant

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.