A Brief Guide To Theatre
The world of theatre can be intimidating. It’s notorious for being a closed-off, exclusive world that thrives on nepotism and word-of-mouth – and moreover, it’s becoming an increasingly defensive entity, in the face of long-term funding cuts. Knowing what to see and where to go is a bit of a minefield, as there are thousands of companies selling their shows to you and at the end of a long day you don’t want to waste your time seeing something absolutely appalling.
So, we’ve compiled a guide for you, a step-by-step process or a brief guide to theatre that you can follow to make you a savvy-theatre-goer, and open all sorts of doors to you. It’s a world of emotion and excitement – and you can have it all.
- KNOW YOUR LINGO.
5 keywords that you can’t do without – bear with us if you know these already!
- THE WEST END – An area in London around Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. The most famous street of theatres in this area is Shaftesbury Avenue (WC2). Home to very rich, very commercial theatres of which the majority show or produce musicals. Example – The Garrick Theatre
- OFF-WEST END – Term ascribed to theatres that are based in Central London and that have high credibility. They produce work, both new writing and revivals of older shows, and can also play host to touring theatre and guest companies. Example – The Lyric Hammersmith
- FRINGE THEATRE – Often the most exciting part of the London theatre life, fringe theatres are those with a tiny capacity and often very little money. They produce and host, against the odds, raw and cutting-edge theatre – and although you can come up against some dross, more often than not investing in fringe theatre pays its dividends. Example – The New Diorama
- PREVIEWS – Term for very early showings of a new play or musical. Often with cheaper tickets because the cast are still getting into their stride. A great way to see great shows early at a reduced price.
- UNRESERVED SEATING – something that you should notice if this is written on your ticket. If the seating is unreserved, it’s a good idea to get there early to get a good view of the stage.
- BE KEPT INFORMED.
- HOW TO READ A REVIEW
- THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!
A final note. There’s lots of stuff about this at the moment, but really at the end of the day the best theatrical experience comes from keeping everyone in the room happy. So – don’t be late! It’s a pain for other audience members as well as for the actors on stage. Try to have your pre-show/post-show drinks in or near the theatre; the theatre makes more money than anything on this and can continue to make more great stuff in the future. Tell your friends if the play is good, and most of all, throw yourself into as much as possible, delve into as many genres as you can find (or we can find for you!).