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Theatre in Greater London A trip to London wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the colourful West End. With an eclectic mix of musicals, heavy drama and traditional theatre, The West End has something for everyone. Celebrities from Britain and further a field flock here to be seen treading the boards in one of the world’s greatest theatre districts.

Choose from the familiar sounds of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and My Fair Lady to the newer rock productions such as Tonight’s The Night and We Will Rock You. There’s also some truly spectacular shows that could only be accommodated by the enormous stages of the West End including The Lion King, Rent, The Phantom Of The Opera, Chicago and Bombay Dreams.

If musical theatre isn’t your thing Central London also offers the chance to see award-winning and critically acclaimed plays as well as brand new voices in theatre at venues such as The Young Vic Theatre [map], The Cut, SE1 and the close by Royal National Theatre [map] .

As any theatre-lover will know there’s always a cutting edge play on offer at the internationally regarded Royal Court Theatre [map], Sloane Square, SW1. This is where Edward Bond, Richard Bean and the eponymous Joe Orton began their careers and this is definitely the place for those who want to be challenged, impassioned and inspired by some of Britain’s finest playwriting talent.

The Royal Shakespeare Company is based at the imposing Barbican Centre [map], Silk Street. With three performance spaces, you can expect to see some classics from a stellar cast.

Over in West London The Lyric Theatre Hammersmith [map], King Street, W6, is a hidden away gem in a busy London high street. The Lyric is perhaps one of the most surprising theatres in the area offering ambitious programming and seasons of startlingly good new writing. The Lyric offers innovative drama, great value tickets, free first nights and bargain Mondays and caters for a real mixed-bag audience from across the city.

With more than 70 years worth of summer performances under its belt, you are sure to be entertained at the Open Air Theatre [map] in Regents Park in North West London. Vivien Leigh, Dame Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes and Martin Clunes have all graced this theatre's varied programme of events. Performances can be seen from the end of May to early September when the British weather will hopefully be on its best behaviour.

The legendary Hackney Empire [map] is the Mecca of theatre going in East London and appeals to those wanting to enjoy popular dramatic and musical performances from Shakespeare to Andrew Lloyd Webber.

A visit to South East London combines old and new theatre experiences seamlessly. For modernist theatre with minimalist sets head to The Southwark Playhouse [map], a 90-seat studio located at Southwark Bridge Road, SE1. Just a short distance from the famous Globe Theatre [map] , the Playhouse is an excellent example of how theatre has transformed since Shakespeare’s day and you’ll be able to enjoy a packed programme from some of the UK’s most exciting and vibrant young writers.

One name that everybody who enjoys light entertainment will be familiar with is Bob Hope [map], and the theatre that bares his name lies on the Wythfield Road, Eltham, SE9. See the best of amateur theatre at this venue that has been established for more than 60 years.

South West London is home to The Richmond Theatre [map], which was built in 1899 and is a beautiful example of Victorian architecture. Located at The Green, Richmond, TW9, the theatre offers an innovative and exciting programme of established and new writing. This is where you’ll see famous faces in some very unfamiliar roles. Recent examples include Keith Waterhouse’s 'Billy Liar' staring The Royle Family’s Ralf Little and 'Just Like That' starring Jerome Flynn as Tommy Cooper.

A range of professional and amateur companies show you what they can do at the Battersea Arts Centre [map], Lavender Hill. There’s also a number of other activities happening here including adult learner courses and opportunities for the kids to get involved in some high-energy activities.

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