Posted on 12/01/2021
Whether you consider yourself to be a true theatre nerd or not, visiting a city's theatre district is one of the best ways to enrich and enliven your city break or holiday. Come and experience some of the best and most exciting live theatre the world has to offer at these cities.
London is the ultimate hub for live theatre. From its unmissable plays to its long-running, unforgettable musicals such as Les Misérables and The Lion King in the city's bustling West End, there is always plenty to choose from. You can also decide to stroll along the River Thames and catch a play at either the world-renowned National Theatre, or experience what is was like to watch a play in Shakespeare's time in the reconstructed, open-air Globe Theatre.
For the most devoted of theatre fans, a visit to the Theatre Café in Soho is also a must. The walls here are completely covered with posters of shows both past and present and you will often be able to catch a glimpse of some famous stars of the stage, relaxing and having a drink before they take to the stage in the evening, or even treating fans to an exclusive performance and Q&A session.
Every theatre lovers' and aspiring actors' dream destination when it comes to theatre are the stages of Broadway in New York. Nothing is more magical than standing under the dazzling lights of Times Square, home to many award-winning plays and musicals. As Broadway tickets tend to be pricey unless booked in advance, the Big Apple also offers many other smaller playhouses for the smaller budget, where you can be sure to see some spectacular, up-and-coming performers take to the stage.
Outside of New York, Chicago is the second best city for live theatre in the US. In particular, the bright yellow and red colours of the Chicago Theatre can be found illuminating the northern side of the Loop. Built originally in the 1920s, it remains one of the city's most iconic landmarks. The Loop itself in downtown Chicago is home to many other theatres and playhouses that show a variety of outstanding Broadway plays and musicals that are not to be missed.
The list would be incomplete without including the starting home of Western theatre: Athens in Greece. In Athens alone, there are 148 theatres in total for you to visit, taking the prize for the largest collection of theatres in the world. Set upon a hill overlooking the Parthenon, the ancient Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stunning open-air theatre where many locals and visitors alike will come to watch plays featuring famed Greek and international performers between the months of May and October for the Athens Festival.
The quintessential Scottish city of Edinburgh has held the world's largest arts festivall, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, for over 70 years. For three weeks during the summer, you can catch a whole range of performances featuring newcomers or longstanding theatre veterans. From laugh-out loud comedies and stand-up routines to tear-jerking operatic and musical performances, there is always an abundance of shows to see in this beautiful city.
The lively city of Buenos Aires in Argentina offers theatre lovers a completely unique and exciting experience. Don't miss out on getting tickets to authentic flamenco, tango or ballet performances at the majestic Centro Cultural Borges. Avenida Corrientes, a central thoroughfare in the city, is also considered to be Argentina's answer to Broadway. It is here where Eva Peron, the inspiration for the eponymous hit musical production, is believed to have began her career. Yet if this is not enough, there are always live tango performances dazzling crowds in the streets of the city's vibrant neighbourhood La Boca.
Paris in France, fittingly nicknamed the City of Love, would have any theatre goer fall completely in love with its breath-taking theatre scene. The stunning Opéra Garnier - located in the 9th arrondissement - is architecturally beautiful both inside and out. This architectural masterpiece was also the inspiration for The Phantom of the Opera, a novel since turned into a long-standing, hit musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Théâtre Edouard VII is another Parisian venue that has seen the likes of many famous faces including Picasso, Orson Welles and Meryl Streep on its stage. What's better is that for many of their shows, the theatre offers English subtitles so it is just not the locals that can enjoy performances at this spectacular venue!
Although Sydney in Australia is well-known for its Opera House, it is in the city of Melbourne where you will find Australia's hottest theatre scene, with many shows and musicals even coming fresh off of Broadway. The city also stages outdoor performances of Shakespeare's plays in its beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens, and is the proud home of many smaller, indie productions too if you are looking for something less mainstream.
Without a dedicated theatre district, Tokyo in Japan offers a completely different and more unusual experience with its extravagant Kabuki theatre. One of the most famous places to see the beauty of Kabuki for yourself is at the Kabukiza Theatre in Ginza. Another more traditional experience in this city is also to enjoy an artistic Japanese puppetry performance in one of the remaining Bunraku theatres scattered across the city.