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London Theatres: A Complete Guide

It’s time to go to the theater and enjoy all the London shows out now! This week, we’re focusing on London Theatres.

In a city as big and bountiful as London, there are so many local theatres near you to choose from, that it can be hard to know where to start. Just searching “London theatres near me” is overwhelming AF––what’s the difference between one theatre and another? With several West End theatres within the London area, it’s no wonder you don’t know where to start!

Don’t worry, we’re here to help make your decision easier. We’ve narrowed it down to 10 of our favorite local West End theatres in London to help you make the most of your London West End experience.

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Get comfy as we dive into our London West End theatre guide! 

London Theatres: Adelphi Theatre (Back to the Future)

As with many of the theatres throughout New York, the Nederlander Group co-owns the Adelphi Theater with Andrew Lloyd Webber and is home to one of the greatest shows of our time, Back to the Future: The Musical. But, we’ll get to that in a bit. Right now let’s talk about the history of this truly iconic theatre. Having celebrated their bicentenary in 2006, the Adelphi Theatre wasn’t always sitting on this location. In fact, the first theatre to call this location home was a small playhouse called the Sans Pareil (‘Without Compare’, for you non-French speakers). The Sans Pareil was originally built in 1806 by John Scott, a prominent local businessman.


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The original use for the theater was not to perform plays, operas or musicals, it was to show off the piano playing talents of John Scott’s daughter, Jane Scott. After nearly 14 years at the theatre Jane Scott would leave. That was not before helping to redefine theatre as we know it. She would go on to show that theatre can be for everyone and not just a select few.

In 1819 the theatre would be sold for the first time and renamed to the Adelphi Theatre. This would be the first time the theatre would be known by this name, and would change several more times before being renamed the Adelphi Theatre one last time. Over the past 200+ years there have been some amazing shows to grace this stage, from Pierce Egan’s Tom and Jerry; or Life in London (described as the Beggar’s Opera of its day), to modern day classics like Sunset Boulevard starring the great Patti Lupone, and The Bodyguard: The Musical

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The newest show to call the Adelphi Theatre home now is the musical adaptation of the 1985 classic Back to the Future. If you’ve seen the movie, then you know what lies ahead for Marty and Doc Brown. This new musical adaptation finds the audience following the antics of Marty McFly. He tries to find his way back to 1985 after being transported to 1955. After inadvertently changing the past, Marty must now find a way to save his present while fixing the past.

This electrifying new musical features original music by legendary composers Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard. Along with the new music, you’ll enjoy classics from the film with new musical adaptations that you need to hear to believe. So if you’re in London, be sure to head over to the Adelphi Theatre on the Strand Travel Back to the Future, and tell them Doc Brown sent you!

This Google reviewer has our heart.

“We went to see Back to the Future the musical. What a wonderful experience. The show itself is amazing. The actors were all fantastic, the songs fit really well, the effects used were really impressive. A must see if you love Back to the Future and enjoy musicals.”

Adelphi Theatre


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London Theatres: Aldwych Theatre (Tina)

Acquired by the Nederlander Organization in 1982 from its former owners, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Aldwych Theatre has seen a plethora of amazing musical theatre productions. Since it’s purchase, the Aldwych has seen shows such as The Cherry Orchard by Chekhov starring Judi Dench, as well as Tango Argentino.

The ’90s saw shows like the hit musical The Cotton Club, a show based on the real-life club in the heart of Harlem, as well as The Importance of Being Earnest starring the incomparable Dame Maggie Smith. The 2000s saw potentially the biggest boom in business for the Aldwych Theatre and saw it become the musical powerhouse it is today with shows like Fame, Dancing in the Dark, and theatres longest running show Dirty Dancing


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While the Nedelrander era has been incredible, there is much more to the Aldwych Theatre’s history than meets the eye. Constructed in 1905 as a companion theatre to the Novello, the Aldwych Theatre was managed by Seymour Hicks, who would go on to feature in many of the early shows including the premiere show Blue Belle, and Charles Frohman. The Aldwych Theatre would then go on to gain notoriety as a house of farces when they began running a series of farces by the great Ben Travers for the decade spanning 1923 to 1933. After that, in the 1940s, the theatre would change ownership over to the Abrahams family and would see plays such as A Streetcar named Desire starring Vivien Leigh and The Dark is light enough by Christopher Fry and Peter Sellers in Brouhaha.


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