Autumn escorts us into the darker months but on the stages where the spotlights always shine, you are sure to find some much needed relief and excellent entertainment when visiting UK and Ireland.
When you yearn for a break and the memories of the summer holidays are long gone, opt for a trip to UK or Ireland and let some of the best actors and artists entertain you. This is the ultimate guide to the programmes of some of the best venues from North to South.
Festival Theatre Edinburgh
The lavish theatre was built in 1994 and has a long and impressive history. Before or after the show you can partake in the popular backstage tour to see what happens behind the stage walls. In the coming season, you can catch one of the classic Shakespeare plays like Measure for Measure or the Merchant of Venice. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre is also back after five years of absence in the UK and you can catch the popular Million Dollar Quartet during the colourful autumn months.
The Edinburgh Playhouse has a long history and is the UK’s largest working theatre, seating more than 3,000 guests over three levels. The theatre was originally a cinema but today it’s the home of many a famous musical. This season, you will be able to see the legendary Billy Elliot, Ghost and Sunny Afternoon.
Scotland’s capital is has a vibrant cultural scene worth exploring, which is easy when you’re staying in Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh, located on the historic Royal Mile, just ten minutes’ walk from both the Playhouse and Festival Theatre.
Gala Theatre, Durham
If you find yourself in the northern part of England, like Durham, you’re in luck. The Gala Theatre is a stellar venue with a great variety of productions. Whether you prefer comedy, dance music or drama, there will be something on the programme that you’ll thoroughly enjoy. This season, you can see Rome and Juliet’s tragic love story live on the stage, the classic King Lear, Miss Saigon or the opera production of Xerxes.
Spend an unforgettable night in the theatre and head back home to the nearby Radisson Blu Hotel, Durham, just a six-minute walk from the venue.
© Shutterstock/Ana del Castillo
Royal Exchange Theatre
This city centre venue has been in the spotlight since its beginning in 1976, being one of the largest of its kind. With the capacity to hold an audience up to 700 people and an average of 350 performances per year, it is a venue worth going to. This year’s autumn programme is no less impressive and includes productions like The Factory and A Streetcar Named Desire.
Dance to the beats of Fifth Harmony, relive your youth at Disney on Ice, rock it out with Rod Stewart or scream like a teen at a Justin Bieber concert. No matter what age or preference, there is something you can sway, two-step or head bang to at this entertaining stadium.
When flying in for a long weekend or show you can stay at Radisson Blu Hotel Manchester Airport located near the terminals and only 15 kilometres from the city centre.
© Bord Gáis Theatre
The venue is old, grand and also known as the National Theatre of Ireland, located in Dublin. It is one of the premiere destinations for shows and musicals in the city, showcasing both Irish and international theatre and also a popular venue for cultural events. On that note, make sure not to miss the 2016 edition of the spectacular Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival in September, a melting pot of creativity within a great variety of arts. The other shows available at Abbey Theatre this autumn includes the dark comedy, The Remains of Maisie Duggan, the ambitious production of The Ireland Trilogy and the classic Anna Karenina.
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
This Dublin theatre is relatively new and opened with a spectacular show, the Swan Lake performed by the Russian State Ballet. Since the opening, the programme has been filled with large-scale productions that pleases any artistic passion and preference. This year it includes Billy Elliot, Rehearsal for Murder, the Mandela Trilogy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Rocky Horror Show and a long list of other noteworthy productions.
Whether you’re in town for business or leisure and just want to catch a show there are several Radisson Blu Hotels in Dublin. Alternatively, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dublin Airport is conveniently located near the airport and only 20 minutes from the city centre.
© Shutterstock/Paul Keeling
This legendary venue formerly known as the O2 Arena is located at North Wall Quay in Dublin and has the capacity to hold 14,500 guests. 3Arena is the fifth busiest venue of its kind in the world and has featured U2, Guns n’ Roses and a whole bunch of other superstars. This season, you can see anything from comedian Amy Schumer, Bear Grylls talking about his adventures or enchanting tones and haunting beats from Andrea Bocelli, Nickelback and The Lumineers, to name a few. There is a world of entertainment at your feet, all you have to do is pick your favourite and enjoy.
The Old Vic
The stage has been home bewitching shows and enchanting performances dating all the way back to the beginning in 1818. Kevin Spacey has been artistic director since 2003 and keeps on presenting memorable performances year after year. You can look forward to the new musical Groundhog Day, No’s Knife and classic King Lear.
Perhaps one of the most famous theatres in London, the Globe is worth a visit when you’re in town. The venue, built in 1599 by Shakespeare’s playing company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men was destroyed in a fire but resurrected in 1614. This is the premiere destination to relish in the talent of some of the world’s best playwrights. Naturally, the programme represents the classic Shakespeare plays like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice.
Leicester Square Theatres
Firstly, Leicester Square is a stellar West End spot in itself, an entertainment area full of attractions, cinemas and restaurants. Secondly, it is filled to the brim with quality venues showing some of the most popular shows in the world. Stop by Chinatown Market, head to the National Gallery or walk the Leicester Square Garden before taking your seat before the stage of one of these legendary venues:
The Garrick Theatre
Find the best of performing arts and film in this historic venue, putting on shows since 1889. From Chicago to Romeo & Juliet to Judy Dench and Ira Aldridge, the spectacular show goes on. This autumn, Kenneth Branagh and John Hurt light the stage in The Entertainer.
English National Opera
© English national opera/guillaume-de-LAUBIER
This stage has seen almost every world-class performer in this genre, heard every crystal-clear high note and every pitch perfect harmony. From spectacular sets to stunning costumes, a visit to the National Opera is most assuredly a perfect evening. Book your tickets today to make sure to catch Don Giovanni, Tosca, Eifman Ballet Saint Petersburg’s Up & Down or Lulu.
Noël Coward Theatre
Since 1903, this has been the venue of several new shows, including the successful production of Gatz. The audience has been lucky enough to see the works of Helen Mirren, Katharine Hepburn and of course the theatre’s namesake Sir Noël Pierce Coward. This autumn you will be able to see Impossible: The world’s greatest magic show.
Celebrating its 110-year anniversary in 2017, we cannot expect anything less than perfection and a spectacular programme from the Queen’s Theatre. Topping the already impressive list of performances including Sondheim’s Passion and the classic Hamlet, will be tough, but they kick off the first quarter with the audience favourite Les Misérables.
Leicester Square Theatre
This theatre reopened in 2008, and has since then established itself as one of the best comedy venues in the city. Famous comedians like Michael McIntyre, Joan Rivers and Russell Howard has taken to the stage here, as well as several live musicians. If you want to see Micky Flanagan, Richard Herring, C.S.I: Crime Scene Improvisation or Gatsby, this is the place to go.
To experience the heart and soul of the city, you should explore as many different parts of it as time allows. One of the most vibrant areas is Marylebone, home to the notable Radisson Blu Portman Hotel, London. Conveniently enough, the hotel is located a mere 30-minute walk from Leicester Square and an evening of pure fun. If you are on a flying visit and only have time for a quick trip into the city for an evening of theatre before an early flight then Radisson Blu Hotel London Stansted Airport is the ideal choice, taking you easily to and from London with the Stansted Express.
With so many things to see and do it’s time to start browsing the web for your favourite tickets and look forward to seeing some of the world’s leading artists doing what they do best in some of the UK and Ireland’s most impressive venues.