London Performing Arts

"All the world's a stage," said Shakespeare, immortal words heard for the first time right here in London. And whether you prefer your theater, music, and art classical or modern, or as contemporary twists on time-honored classics, you'll find that London's vibrant cultural scene more than holds its own on the world stage.

Divas sing original-language librettos at the Royal Opera House, Shakespeare's

plays are brought to life at the reconstructed Globe Theatre, and challenging new writing is produced at the Royal Court. Whether you feel like basking in the lighthearted extravagance of a West End musical or taking in the next shark-in-formaldehyde at the White Cube gallery, the choice is yours.

There are international theater festivals, innovative music festivals, and critically acclaimed seasons of postmodern dance. Short trip or long, you'll find the cultural scene in London is ever-changing, ever-expanding, and ever-exciting.

No matter where you head, London's art and performing arts scenes have been setting global trends for decades—and when you count Shakespearean theater and Handel oratorios, for centuries. Fringe theater, classical ballet, participatory chorales: you name it, London probably did it first and often does it best.

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London Performing Arts

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Almeida Theatre

This Off West End venue, helmed by director Rupert Goold, premiers excellent new plays and exciting twists on the classics, often featuring...


Battersea Arts Centre has a reputation for producing innovative new work, as well as hosting top alternative stand-up comics. Performances...

BFI London IMAX Cinema

The British Film Institute's glazed drum-shaped IMAX theater (now, confusingly, operated by Odeon) has the largest screen in the United...

BFI Southbank

With the best repertory programming in London, the three movie theaters and studio here are effectively a national film center run by...

Barbican Centre

Opened in 1982, the Barbican is an enormous Brutalist concrete maze that Londoners either love or hate—but its importance to the cultural...

Cadogan Hall

Once a church, this spacious venue is home to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the English Chamber Orchestra performs here regularly.

Curzon Soho

This popular, comfortable movie theater runs a vibrant and artsy program of mixed repertoire and mainstream films, with a good calendar...

Donmar Warehouse

Hollywood stars often perform in this not-for-profit theater in diverse and daring new works, bold interpretations of the classics, and...

Everyman Cinema

Kick off your shoes, curl up on the large comfy sofas, and have tapas and champagne brought to you in front of classic, foreign, cutting-edge...

Hackney Empire

The history of this treasure of a theater is drama in its own right. Charlie Chaplin is said to have appeared here during its days as...


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