Londerground: Stuff you May Not Know About in the English Capital Part 4

Pimsleur Approach • January 8, 2013 • EntertainmentComments (0)

Home to over 40 theaters, London’s West End – affectionately known as ‘Theaterland’ – has always taken center stage when it comes to the capital’s cultural offerings. In actuality, this area is a mere page in an entire script of London venues, and to prove it, here’s just a tiny smattering of what else it to offer in the way of theaters.

 

Londergound Theatres: Tricycle Theatre
Tricycle Theater – Image via Wikipedia

Tricycle Theater, Kilburn

If there’s one theater that represents London’s multicultural diversity more than any other, it’s the Tricycle. Shows and artists from pretty much every culture in the world are invited to stage shows here (whether they’re locals or just visiting) and during the 2012 Olympics, the Tricycle transformed itself into the Trinidad and Tobago Village, an ambitious showcase of the countries’ heritage and culture. Adjoined to the Tricycle’s auditorium is its own independent cinema, ideal for a cultural double-header on a rainy day.

 

Wilton’s Music Hall, Whitechapel

Somehow it managed to survive the east London bombardment of WW2, and now Wilton’s is the oldest music hall in the world, not to mention a true cultural chameleon. Cinema screenings, foodie sessions and even the odd ping pong tournament take place within its hallowed walls, but its time-tattered auditorium remains best suited to what it was made for in the first instance – theater and cabaret. At Christmastime, Wilton’s is transformed into a Victorian wonderland, decked from tip to toe in festive shrubbery, and even featuring live readings from a certain Mr Charles Dickens.

 

Londerground Theatres: King's Head
King’s Head Theatre – Image via Wikipedia

King’s Head Theater, Islington

How many operas have you been to where you can stand with a pint in one hand and reach out to touch the hem of Madam Butterfly’s kimono with the other? Jewel in the crown of Islington’s pub-theater scene, the King’s Head is the venue of the semi-legendary OperaUpClose, which eschews huge orchestras and champagne for upright pianos and real ale. Is it any good though? Well, they won the 2011 Olivier award for Best New Opera Production. So yes, it’s ruddy fantastic.

 

Polka Theater, Wimbledon

From the outside, the Polka looks like a toy box, and the fun and frolics to be had inside do not disappoint. This world-class playhouse for kids is the perfect introduction to the joy of the theater. Not only does it stage youth companies from around the world (acting out puppet shows, all-time classics like Wind in the Willows, and more contemporary kids gems such as Charlie and Lola’s Bestest Play) but the Polka also offers what kids love best – hands-on workshops! Adults will fall in love with it too.

 

Londerground Theatres: Donmar Warehouse

Donmar Warehouse - Image via Wikipedia

Donmar Warehouse, Covent Garden

Strictly speaking, the Donmar is part of the West End, though it’s certainly the black sheep of the family. For one thing, there are only 250 seats in the auditorium, plus the theater is strictly not for profit, a refreshing change from the money-making-machine that is the Lloyd-Webber estate. Last year the Donmar staged the critically-acclaimed King Lear starring Derek Jacobi, which streamed live into cinemas across the world as part of National Theater Live.

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