From Shakespeare to Andrew Llyod Webber and everything in between, it’s safe to say that London is the birthplace of great theatre. Right up there with Broadway, the English capital puts on award-winning productions year on year.
Along with world-class productions, London has some of the finest examples of British architecture, from grand 18th-century opera houses with royal boxes, chandeliers, and sweeping staircases, to brand-new studio theatres with innovative technology.
Following nearly two years of uncertainty due to COVID-19, London’s theatre scene has finally bounced back with some highly anticipated shows for 2022. From fun-filled musicals to thought-provoking dramas, we take a look at some of the best London shows for 2022.
The best West End shows in London in 2022
1. The Glass Menagerie, Duke of York’s Theatre
Academy Award nominee, Amy Adams, will make her West End debut in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. Directed by Jeremy Herrin, this star-studded cast, including Paul Hilton (A Very British Scandal) and Tom Glynn-Carney (Dunkirk), will perform at the Duke of York’s Theatre in May. Adams will play the role of Amanda, who desperately tries to secure her family’s future following the disappearance of her husband. Told through recollections of Amanda’s son Tom, this play focuses on fractured memories and gender roles.
The Duke of York’s Theatre was first built in 1892 by English actor Frank Wyatt. It was originally known as the Trafalgar Square Theatre before being renamed in honor of the future King George V in 1895. It features luxury interiors with traditional red seating and gold and ivory decor.
Dates: May 23 through August 27, 2022
Tickets: From £20 to £125 ($27 to $169), visit the show’s official website to book.
Where: 104 St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4BG, UK
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2. Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre
Cabaret at Kit Kat Club/Facebook
If you’ve already exhausted West End greats like Les Miserables and The Lion King, then you may want to try out London’s new revival of the hit musical Cabaret. First performed on Broadway in 1966, this dazzling theatrical production quickly became a box office hit before being made into a movie in 1972. Its highly-anticipated revival stars British Academy Award-winning actor Eddie Redmayne as “The Emcee” and BAFTA nominee Jessie Buckley as cabaret singer Sally Bowles.
This flamboyant production takes place at London’s Playhouse Theatre, a grand property that first opened in 1882 before being rebuilt in 1907. For this show only, the Playhouse Theatre has undergone a massive transformation into a 1930s cabaret club with pre-show drinks and dinner served at your table.
Dates: November 15, 2021, through October 1, 2022
Tickets: From £30 to £325 ($40 to $439), visit the show’s website to book.
Where: Northumberland Ave, London WC2N 5DE, UK
3. Moulin Rouge – The Musical, Piccadilly Theatre
Winner of 10 Tony Awards, Moulin Rouge is another musical extravaganza heading to London this year. As one of London’s largest theatres, the Piccadilly Theatre is the perfect choice for this spellbinding show. Inspired by Baz Lurhman’s original movie, Moulin Rouge tells the story of a penniless writer who arrives in Paris in 1899 and unexpectedly falls in love with a courtesan. The score includes some of the film’s original music, along with new mash-ups and medleys that will have you dancing in your seat.
Seating over 1200 people, the Piccadilly Theatre has a unique Art Deco interior with a beautiful auditorium adorned in red velvet drapes, chandeliers, and twinkling lights for this groundbreaking production.
Dates: November 12, 2021, through 29 May 2022
Tickets: From £25 to £279 ($34 to $377), visit the show’s website to book.
Where: 16 Denman St, London W1D 7DY, UK
4. Cyrano de Bergerac, Harold Pinter Theatre
Film and TV star James McAvoy puts his rapping skills to the test in a new revival of Cyrano de Bergerac. Following critical acclaim in 2019, the play returns to the Harold Pinter Theatre, with McAvoy reclaiming the title role. Written by Edmond Rostand in 1897, this play is about an officer of the guard who fears that his large nose will get in the way of pursuing the woman he loves. Writer Martin Crimp and Director Jamie Lloyd have created a daring hip-hop version exploring human connection, language, and identity.
Known as the Comedy Theatre from 1881 to 2011, the Harold Pinter Theatre features elegant interiors and artwork spanning across four levels.
Dates: February 3 through March 12, 2022
Tickets: From £39.50 to £125 ($53 to $169), visit the show’s website to book.
Where: Panton St, London SW1Y 4DN, UK
5. Cock, Ambassadors Theatre
Mike Bartlett’s witty play about love, labels, and sexuality returns to the West End following its award-winning debut in 2009. Taron Egerton (Rocketman, Eddie the Eagle) and Jonathan Bailey (Bridgerton) star in this dark comedy about a gay man who falls in love with a woman and faces an unexpected choice. Director Marianne Elliott (War Horse, Angels In America) leads the cast in this exciting revival at the Ambassadors Theatre.
Open since 1913, the Ambassadors Theatre seats up to 444 people, offering a unique, intimate atmosphere. In 1999, the theatre was restored to its original design with parma ivory walls and plush blue seating,
Dates: March 6 through 5 June 2022
Tickets: £81 to £217 ($109 to $293). Visit the Ambassadors Theatre’s website to book.
Where: West St, London WC2H 9ND, UK
6. Jerusalem, Apollo Theatre London
Jerusalem The Play/Facebook
Academy Award-winning actor Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies, Don’t Look Up) returns to his iconic role as Johnny “Rooster” Byron in Jez Butterworth’s groundbreaking play, Jerusalem. In 2009, the play received outstanding reviews and an accolade of awards before being transferred to Broadway’s Music Box Theatre. If you didn’t see it the first time, be sure to catch this 16-week revival at the Apollo Theatre. Rylance plays Rooster, an eccentric storyteller who lives in a trailer in rural England. Despite an eviction notice from the local authorities, Rooster decides to stay and continue his life of drink, drugs, and total mayhem.
The play will be staged at the opulent Apollo Theatre, a gorgeous Grade II-listed property that opened in 1901.
Dates: April 16 through August 7, 2022
Tickets: From £72 to £150 ($97 to $202), visit the show’s website to book.
Where: Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 7EZ, UK
7. To Kill a Mockingbird, Gielgud Theatre
To Kill A Mockingbird – West End/Facebook
This spring, Alan Sorkin’s renowned stage adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird will transfer straight from Broadway to the Gielgud Theatre. Based on the novel by Harper Lee, this thought-provoking stage production follows the story of Scout and her father, Atticus Finch, a lawyer who is tasked with defending an African American man accused of rape in 1930s Alabama. Sorkin takes a deeper look into the original story, offering a new perspective. British actor Rafe Spall (Men In Black: International) will play Atticus Finch in this family-friendly show.
The Gielgud Theatre is located in the heart of the West End on Shaftesbury Avenue, where it first opened its doors in 1906. Designed by world-class theatre architect W. G. R. Sprague, this building has everything you can expect of a traditional West End theatre, including a beautiful domed ceiling.
Dates: March 10 through August 14, 2022
Tickets: From £31.75 to £187.50 ($43 to $253), visit the show’s website to book.
Where: Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 6AR, UK
8. Back to the Future – The Musical, Adelphi Theatre
Back To The Future – Musical/Facebook
Embark on a thrilling time-traveling adventure with 17-year-old Marty McFly in this brand new stage show. Based on the original movie, this all-singing, all-dancing production follows Marty and his eccentric sidekick Doc Brown as they travel back to the 1950s in their famous DeLorean car. Created by the movie’s original co-writers, Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, this musical promises to delight audiences of all ages.
Situated right along the Strand, the Adelphi Theatre has specialized in comedies and musicals ever since its opening in 1930. The building dates back to the early 19th century when it originally opened as The Sans Pareil. Restored in 1993, it features a distinct Art Deco style with classic red seats and wooden interiors.
Dates: From August 20, 2021, until July 3, 2022
Tickets: From £25 to £162 ($34 to $219), visit the show’s website to book.
Where: Strand, London WC2R 0NS, UK
9. Prima Facie, Harold Pinter Theatre
Empire Street Productions/Facebook
Over the last few years, Jodie Comer has captivated viewers of the hit television series Killing Eve in her portrayal of a witty Russian assassin. For the first time, the award-winning actress will perform live on the West End stage in Suzie Miller’s Prima Facie. This one-woman show follows the story of a barrister who, after becoming a victim of sexual assault, starts to doubt the judicial system altogether. This new play was first performed in Sydney in 2019, receiving critical acclaim for its bold exploration of the Australian legal system. Comer’s West End debut will run for nine weeks at the Harold Pinter Theatre in April.
Dates: April 15 through June 18, 2022
Tickets: From £42.80 to £127.80 ($58 to $173), visit the show’s website to book.
Where: Panton St, London SW1Y 4DN, UK
The best London shows for 2022 off West End
10. A Number, Old Vic Theatre
Starting off the Old Vic’s season for 2022, A Number is a futuristic play written by Caryl Churchill. Salter is a single father of three sons, two of whom are clones of the first. As they turn 35, each son has some big questions for their dad. Beyond the ethics of human cloning, this play also looks at identity, sibling rivalry, and parenthood. This gripping play is directed by Lyndsey Turner (Posh, Chimerica) and features actors Lennie James and Paapa Essiedu as father and sons.
Located just around the corner from London Waterloo, the Old Vic Theatre is a spectacular 19th-century building with opulent interiors, including a sweeping staircase, chandeliers, and state-of-the-art facilities. Despite being across the river, it offers the same historic grandeur as other West End theatres.
Dates: January 24 through March 19, 2022
Tickets: From £10 to £60 ($13.50 to $81), visit The Old Vic’s website to book.
Where: The Cut, London SE1 8NB, UK
11. Small Island, The National Theatre
Returning to the Olivier stage for 2022, Small Island tells the story of two couples who both long for a different future. Hortense and Gilbert migrate from Jamaica to post-war Britain on board the HMT Empire Windrush, where they meet Queenie and Bernard, who have spent most of their life in a small town in Lincolnshire. Directed by the National Theatre’s Artistic Director, Rufus Norris, this five-star production is based on the award-winning novel by Andrew Levy.
The Olivier Theatre is one of three stages within the National Theatre. Set within a unique Brutalist building, the Olivier resembles a Greek amphitheater with fan-shaped seating and striking purple seats. It also has a unique drum revolve beneath the stage, a revolutionary piece of machinery designed to provide unforgettable scene changes,
Dates: February 22 through April 30, 2022
Tickets: From £20 to £89 ($27 to $120), visit the National Theatre’s website to book.
Where: Upper Ground, London SE1 9PX, UK
12. Henry V, Donmar Warehouse
Game of Thrones star Kit Harington heads to the Donmar Warehouse in a new version of Shakespeare’s Henry V. Director Max Webster (Life of Pi, As You Like It) provides a modern take on this classic play, exploring power and leadership in a time of crisis. Following the death of King Henry IV, his young son Henry V invades France in an attempt to claim the throne. Webster’s exciting take will draw upon hot topics of today, including the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit.
Seating just 251 people, the Donmar Warehouse offers an intimate charm in a contemporary studio space. If you’re unable to get tickets, Henry V will also be streamed across UK cinemas in April.
Dates: February 11 through April 9, 2022
Tickets: From £10 to £50 ($14 to $68), visit the Donmar Warehouse’s website to book.
Where: Earlham Street, Seven Dials, London WC2H 9LX, UK
13. Straight Line Crazy, The Bridge Theatre
The Bridge Theatre/Facebook
Award-winning actor Ralph Fiennes is set to play real-life urban planner Robert Moses in Straight Line Crazy, a new play by David Hare (The Reader, The Hours). For over four decades, Moses was one of the most powerful men in New York City, having built much of the city’s roads, buildings, parks, playgrounds, and bridges. Fiennes will take on the role of Moses in Hare’s bold exploration of manipulation, intimidation, and power.
Built in 2017, the Bridge Theatre is a new addition to London’s theatre scene. Located close to Tower Bridge, this contemporary theatre is the brainchild of Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr, who previously ran the National Theatre together for 12 years. This sophisticated black box auditorium offers the unique ability to adapt the seating formation for each production.
Dates: March 16 through June 18, 2022
Tickets: From £15 to £95 ($20 to $128), visit the Bridge Theatre’s website to book.
Where: 3 Potters Flds Pk, London SE1 2SG, UK
14. Swan Lake, Royal Opera House
The Royal Ballet returns to the stage for 2022 with a spectacular revival of Swan Lake at Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House. Re-imagined by Liam Scarlett, Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet tells the story of Prince Siegfried, who falls in love with the Swan Queen Odette. Cursed by an evil sorcerer, Odette can only take her human form at night. This love story is told through world-class dance at one of the UK’s most prominent performance venues.
The Royal Opera House oozes sophistication and grandeur throughout. Upon entering, you will be greeted by exquisite front-of-house facilities, including a fabulous champagne bar set beneath a stunning glass roof. The auditorium spans across five levels with eye-catching Art Deco designs.
Dates: March 2 through May 29, 2022
Tickets: From £8 to £145 ($11 to $196), visit the Royal Opera House’s website to book.
Where: Bow St, London WC2E 9DD, UK
15. The Merchant of Venice, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
Before the summer season at Shakespeare’s Globe gets into full swing (April to September), audiences can catch The Merchant of Venice from the theatre’s magnificent indoor auditorium. Set in 16th-century Venice, the play follows a Jewish moneylender as he chases a debt he is owed. Abigail Graham directs this new re-imagining of Shakespeare’s complex comedy in a story of prejudice, revenge, and patriarchy.
Forming part of the Shakespeare’s Globe, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse was constructed in 2014 to provide audiences with year-round performances. It is inspired by the Blackfriars Playhouse, a 17th-century theatre that was used to house Shakespeare’s company. Each production is performed under complete candlelight, offering a unique theatre experience. There is also a beautifully painted ceiling and Jacobean-style seating.
Dates: February 18 through April 9, 2022
Tickets: £5 to £59 ($7 to $80). Visit the Shakespeare’s Globe’s website to book.
Where: 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT, UK
16. The Glow, Royal Court Theatre
Royal Court Theatre/Facebook
The Glow is an exciting new play for 2022, written by Alistair McDowall (Pomona, X). Directed by the Royal Court Theatre’s Artistic Director, Vicky Featherstone, this play takes audiences on a gripping journey in McDowall’s unique thriller. The story is set in an asylum in 1863 where an unnamed woman, with no recollection of her past, is recruited as the assistant of a spiritualist medium.
Located in the London borough of Chelsea, the Royal Court Theatre has been welcoming audiences since 1956. It prides itself on new writing, showcasing some of the best playwrights of the 21st century.
Dates: January 21 through March 5, 2022
Tickets: From £12 to £45 ($16 to $61), visit the Royal Court Theatre’s website to book.
Where: Sloane Square, London SW1W 8AS, UK
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