I have spent a good percentage of my life in a variety of theatrical settings throughout 2016. When Break A Leg launched in 2013, I could mostly be found in Midlands based theatres in my reviewing capacity. This year I have started to spread my wings and I am so delighted, grateful and privileged to be invited along to review shows all over the UK.
I have never given much thought to my particular favourite venues, but as this is a year in review, it’s only right to give a shout out to some of my best loved spaces. So – here are my favourite theatres of 2016:
1. The Hope Theatre, London – Taking my number one spot for ambiance, use of space, range of productions and the fact that it is a hidden gem in London’s crown. My absolute favourite off-west end theatre and a place I am excited to be able to return to as regularly as I possibly can. There are no airs and graces, just a friendly team who are as passionate about theatre as the people who come to see the productions. Top-notch!
2. Malvern Theatres – By far my favourite Midlands theatre, there are two amazing spaces hidden inside a modern building which also boasts a bar with plenty of choice and a lovely eatery. The team are a delight to liaise with, Louise Thomas who deals with press is one of the loveliest people I have dealt with since I started the site and the atmosphere is always relaxed, welcoming and inviting. They have an awesome range of shows on their programme every year. I can’t wait to make a return visit, soon.
3. Bristol Old Vic – I’d never been before, but my desire to see The Rivals there brought about my debut visit. It is undergoing refurbishments at the moment, but the space is glorious and I couldn’t stop looking around the auditorium, my eyes were literally everywhere. I can’t wait to see the finished product and to return to review more of the excellent shows that they have there.
4. New Wimbledon Theatre, London – I made my debut visit to review Cats at this theatre and I fell in love with it. From the foyer to the auditorium, I felt that there was an overwhelming air of grandeur without seeming ostentatious. Ornate décor is one of the over-riding themes of the place and what an amazing piano bar. I am chomping at the bit to return and sorry I was unable to attend press night for their recent pantomime.
5. Wolverhampton Grand Theatre – refurbished and looking good, the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre remains a theatre to be proud of. They have a great selection of visiting shows and their press nights are always a delight. The new art deco interiors have spruced it up and helped it to take an a personality that was always lurking, but has now come to the fore. I am impressed!
Let’s see if the list changes at the end of 2017 or if the above five venues will continue to top the list…