Year in Review: Helen McWilliams’ top 5 theatres of 2016

In Features, Native, Opinion, Regional theatre, Touring by Helen McWilliamsLeave a Comment

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…

 

 

Helen McWilliams on Rss
Helen McWilliams
Helen McWilliams is a Midlands-based reviewer, but is happy travelling anywhere and everywhere to pursue her love of the theatre. Since 2013, she has been combining her passions for writing and theatre in her Entertainment Views site (formerly Break A Leg). She also enjoys interviewing actors, writers and other professionals from the business. Helen tweets at @entsviews.

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Helen McWilliams on Rss
Helen McWilliams
Helen McWilliams is a Midlands-based reviewer, but is happy travelling anywhere and everywhere to pursue her love of the theatre. Since 2013, she has been combining her passions for writing and theatre in her Entertainment Views site (formerly Break A Leg). She also enjoys interviewing actors, writers and other professionals from the business. Helen tweets at @entsviews.

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