There are a plethora of reasons to visit London, but one of the most popular among tourists (from the UK and beyond) is to sample the West End. There’s good reason for this; the West End boasts some of the finest productions and theatres not just in the UK, but the whole world.

However, for many people, a trip to London will the only time they’ll make the effort to experience theatre, which is a real shame. Not only does this deprive people of experiencing the wealth of vital theatre that takes place every day, but it also betrays the hundreds of fantastic theatres and productions outside of the capital.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of five of our favourite theatres outside of London. Some have a worldwide reputation, while others are less well-known, but all demonstrate the strength of theatre across the UK.

Hull Truck Theatre, Hull

It’s fair to say that Hull isn’t the first place most people would think of when listing cultural hotspots in the UK, but hasn’t stopped Hull Truck from becoming one of the UK’s best theatres in terms of staging and productions.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Hull Truck came to be when out-of-work actor Mike Bradwell placed an advert in a magazine. The advert simply read, ‘Half-formed Theatre Company seeks other half’. Today, Hull Truck is based in a £14.5 million building boasting a 440 seat capacity.

One of the biggest talents to emerge from Hull Truck is John Godber. His play ‘Bouncers’ remains one of the companies most renowned pieces and has become a staple of British theatre.

The Lowry, Salford Quays

A venue close to our hearts (and our location!) at PG Stage, The Lowry is the newest theatre on our list but one of the finest. Part of the massive regeneration of Manchester Docks, which has also seen the birth of MediaCity UK, The Lowry was opened in 2000 at a cost of £106 million.

This massive outlay was definitely worth it, however; the venue was Greater Manchester’s most visited attraction in 2010 and 2011. The Lowry boasts two theatres, the 1730-capacity Lyric and the 466 Quays theatre. The Lyric also features the largest stage in the UK outside of the West End.

The theatre hosts a wide range of big name performances, owing to its large capacity and impressive stage lighting set-up. The venue’s reputation was sealed in 2011 when it played host to the 2011 Royal Variety Performance.

Chichester Festival Theatre, Chichester

Now in it’s 50th year, the Chichester Festival Theatre is one of the UK’s theatrical hubs, boasting a rich history that has helped shape theatre in the UK as we know it. The theatre is renowned for having Laurence Olivier as its first artistic director, a partnership borne out of a speculative letter sent by founder Leslie Evershed-Martin.

The 1,206-capacity theatre plays host to some of the finest productions in the UK and has had some truly great actors tread its boards such as the aforementioned Olivier, Ian McKellen, Joseph Fiennes and Diana Rigg. The first National Theatre Company was also formed at Chichester, before moving to The Old Vic in London.

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

Love him or hate him, there’s no doubt that the works of William Shakespeare still play a major part in the cultural makeup of Great Britain, as well as it’s tourism industry. Thousands of people flock to Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon every year, with the spectacular Royal Shakespeare Theatre at the heart of it all.

Operated by the internationally-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company, it could be argued that you’ve never truly experienced the Bard in all his glory until you’ve paid a visit to the RST!

Although originally opened in 1932, the RST was subject to a massive £112.8 million renovation project beginning in 2007.The project was completed in 2010, the result of which was a stunning 1040+ capacity auditorium with some of the best lighting and stage sound systems in the country.

Dundee Repertory Theatre, Dundee

Although it’s the smallest theatre on our list, the Dundee Rep is massively impressive in terms of the range of productions it has played host to and the contributions it has made to British culture.

Originally formed as a way of addressing the lack of theatre in Dundee, the Dundee Rep company didn’t actually have a home until 1982, when the 455-seat Dundee Rep theatre was finally completed.
Since then, renowned performers such as Steven Berkoff and David Tennant have taken to the Rep’s impressive stage and over 70,000 theatregoers make the trip to Dundee to experience some of the finest theatre on offer in the UK.

Of course, narrowing down the wealth of excellent venues in the UK to a list of just five is nigh-on impossible; this list could have easily consisted of 50 or even 100 entries! We’re sure we’ve missed hundreds of peoples’ personal favourite theatre off this list, so get commenting and let us know yours!

If you’re planning on setting up your own theatre to rival some of the entries on this list, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch for more details on our range of theatre supplies!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.