This week I visited the newly opened Samuel French’s theatre bookshop at The Royal Court. I’ve been super excited for it to open up, finally being in that space made me so happy and I realised I have favourites when it comes to theatre venues.
Disclaimer: I’m not claiming to know every theatre in London, this is just my opinions at the moment based on the places I have visited so far and what has stood out to me.
When I think about the kind of spaces I want to watch theatre in, I always say that I want to be in a environment that feels intimate: to be in a seat that allows me to connect to the action, so I feel like I am peeking in on the happenings of someones private life, behind the fourth wall and completely invisible as I watch humans being humans.
I have two favourites and for two different reasons.
‘Arcola‘ in Dalston.
This is one of my go-to theatre venues because it has a studio space downstairs that is incredibly intimate, any seat guarantees a good view. I haven’t spent much time in the building itself but also know they have a bar, rehearsal rooms and the plays they put on are always interesting. Ticket prices are 100% affordable!
Or… battling for 1st place on my list is…
‘Royal Court‘ in Sloane Square.
I have visited this venue the most out of all the other places because of shows, rehearsals, auditions, food and books, so I may be slightly biased here but my favourite part of this venue is that everything is under one roof!
Samuel French’s have reopened upstairs, if you haven’t been yet… go, like go as soon as possible because it’s worth a visit to browse plays and have a seat with ‘a proper cup of coffee’. Before they opened the bookshop upstairs they had a much smaller bookshop at the entrance to the downstairs bar/kitchen area.
That leads me on to the Bar/Kitchen area… It has a very welcoming feeling. Anyone can walk in and hang out in that space; have a drink, have some food, read or do some work.
Lastly, they have a number of rehearsal spaces in the StageDoor building, they offer four 10p tickets for every show in the downstairs theatre 30mins before the show begins, they are very well known for commissioning new writing and getting young audiences involved through their ‘YoungCourt’ scheme.
I mean, after writing all this down I can now see that Royal Court wins by a landslide.
But I would like to make two honourable mentions:
This venue offers a great experience and tickets at £5 for all shows is a blessing for those of us who simply don’t have the cash. I think the globe is on my personal bucket-list of venues to preform at because it is the ultimate test of your trade: there are no lights, no effects… its just you, the words and your audience.
Out of all the theatre’s in London, The Bridge is by far the best in terms of location. When you arrive, you feel like you are in the centre of London with the massive tower bridge a few steps away and the whole view is just beautiful. Watching Julius Caesar there was definitely an experience to remember and I’m looking forward to seeing what the two Nick’s come up with next!