Theatre Shows in Central London
London's Theatreland is really based in the West End of the city and most of the larger theatres occupy sites with W1 post codes. In the area around Covent Garden, Holborn and Aldwych reside many of theatres that make up the so-called West End, but are in fact more centrally located, usually with WC1 or WC2 post codes, and not really the true West End. In the City of London, just beyond these centrally positioned theatres is Europe's largest dedicated Arts complex - the Barbican - which has no less than two theatrical stages. Nonetheless, for a traditional theatrical experience in some of London's best kept theatres, a trip to Central London means finding a stage in the vicinity of Holborn tube station, rather than farther west around Charing Cross.
The New London Theatre
Situated on Parker Street in the London Borough of Camden, this theatre opened in 1973. It has a two level auditorium with no less than 960 seats, making it one of the many mid-sized theatrical spaces in the area. Recent productions at the New London Theatre include a musical version of Gone With The Wind and the Oliver award-winning War Horse. The theatre stands on the former site of the Winter Garden Theatre.
Located a little further south, closer to the River Thames and the Australian Embassy, the Aldwych Theatre is large even by the standards of Theatreland. Split over three levels in the auditorium, the theatre can hold 1,200 audience members during a show. Opened in 1905, the theatre puts on a mix of contemporary plays, comedies and musicals. In the 1960s, the Aldwych became known for putting on plays by Harold Pinter, including The Homecoming and The Collection. Fame - The Musical is a notable success from more recent years.
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
Located on the south side of Covent Garden, the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in fact faces Catherine Street. It is the back end of the building that sits on Drury Lane itself. The site has been occupied by a theatre for centuries, but it was not until 1812 that the modern building which now stands there was built. There are a number of ghosts, including the famous 'Man in Grey' who are said to roam the backstage area late at night. In terms of performances, the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane attracts some London's top shows. In recent years, productions of Oliver!, Shrek The Musical and The Lord of the Rings have all spent time here. It can hold well in excess of 2,000 in the auditorium over four levels.
The Fortune Theatre
A stone's throw from Theatre Royal, Drury Lane the Fortune Theatre is much smaller, holding just over 400 audience members. It is part of the Ambassador Theatre Group which owns and runs many of the capitals theatres. Opened in 1924, the Fortune Theatre is now a Grade II listed building and is famous for productions like The Woman in Black.
The Novello Theatre
Named after Ivor Novello, this theatre is situated on Aldwych and has been used by the Royal Shakespeare Company from time to time over the years. As well as Shakespearian theatre, the stage is also used for musicals, such as Mamma Mia! and The Rat Pack: Live From Vegas. After it was completely refurbished in the 1970s, the seating capacity became 1,105. It was originally a part of the nearby Waldorf Hotel and first opened for business as the Waldorf Theatre in 1905. Recently, the magician Derren Brown used the Novello Theatre for his one man show which featured illusions and audience participation.
If you already work amongst the hustle that is the City of London you will know how exciting it can be to visit this area both before and after dark.