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Top 10 theatre destinations in the world

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Book a hotel to tap your toes to a Broadway musical or watch a three-act play with this guide to the top 10 theatre destinations for English speakers.

Shakespeare in London

The top 10 theatre destination in the world for Shakespeare is London’s Globe Theatre on Bankside. The Bard’s Elizabethan playhouse has been meticulously reconstructed, from the circular oak frame and thatched roof to the galleried open-air seating and rain-or-shine programme. For maximum comfort, hire a blanket and cushion.

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Broadway shows in New York

Broadway’s glittering theatres don’t come much finer than the Shubert, erected in opulent Venetian-Renaissance style in 1913. A Chorus Line ran here for a record-breaking 15 years, followed more recently by Chicago and Spamalot.

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Dublin’s national theatre

Established by poet W B Yeats in 1903, Dublin’s Abbey Theatre highlights the work of Irish playwrights and actors. To celebrate its continuing success, the theatre will move into a new playhouse on George’s Dock in 2012.

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Japanese kabuki in Tokyo

Since 1889, the Kabuki-Za Theaer in Ginza has been the home of kabuki, the highly stylised classical art form combining dance, drama, music and traditionally costumed actors. An extensive rebuilding programme is in progress, and shows are staged at the nearby Shinbashi Enbujo theatre.

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George Bernard Shaw in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Canada’s Niagara-on-the-Lake shines the spotlight on repertory theatre during the Shaw Festival, held annually from April to November. Classics by George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries, including Noël Coward and Oscar Wilde, are staged at theatres around town.

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Theatre without language in Prague

The Black Theatre of Prague’s tricks of the light create theatrical magic in the intimate setting of Palais Savarin near Wenceslas Square. Against a black-curtained stage, UV lighting, fluorescent colour, projections, mime and music combine to break language barriers and theatrical boundaries.

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Theatrical glamour in Sydney

With its crystal chandeliers and Art Deco-meets-Gothic gilt details, Sydney’s elaborate State Theatre is known as “the Palace of Dreams”. The glittering 1920s theatre stages major events, from Broadway musicals to Russian ballet and touring international stars of country and rock.

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Edwardian playhouses in Toronto

In the heart of Toronto’s hotel and entertainment district, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre boasts not one but two flamboyant theatres under one roof. The world’s sole surviving example of “stacked theatres”, the centre has a rare collection of vaudeville sets and scenery, and the two stately theatres host musicals, opera and theatre. 

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Performing arts in Cape Town

Staging live theatre, music and dance at the University of Cape Town, the Baxter Theatre Centre is one of the city’s foremost cultural venues. The theatre supports indigenous talent, and holds an annual dance festival and lively programme of comedy. 

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Ensemble cast in Chicago

From humble beginnings in a church basement, the innovative Steppenwolf Theatre Company has become one of Chicago’s leading lights. The careers of actors like John Malkovich and co-founder Gary Sinise were launched at Steppenwolf, and the permanent ensemble is joined by guest actors in a programme that might include Brecht, Shakespeare and Tennessee Williams. 

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