Britain’s historical theatres are often landmarks in city centres across the UK, and we run a number of theatre coach breaks all year round. Their beautiful facades are often a spectacle to look at, and their well-produced shows pack out the ornate rooms inside. These wonderful parts of our culture offer us a traditional ‘theatre experience’, but what about when we want to experience something a bit different? From London to Edinburgh, there are countless small and fantastic theatres offering new and exciting work in a diverse range of venues. National Holidays takes a look at the ‘Top 5 Alternative Theatres’ in the UK.

Camden People’s Theatre, London

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Situated in London’s vibrant Camden district, the Camden People’s Theatre has been putting on exciting and forward thinking theatre for over 20 years now. It prides itself on allowing young new writers, directors and performers to showcase their work when they are just starting out. It has propelled new theatre and comedy acts throughout its run, so be sure to go here for the next big thing. Last year they launched a new stand-up festival Beyond the Joke as well as their feminism focused festival Calm Down Dear with both proving to be a big success.

Ticket Prices: All around the £12 mark, with £10 for concessions.

What to see: Waves (20th-21st May) A comedic look at the colourful history of ‘The Butterfly Stroke’, and its inventor, a young woman who befriends sea creatures to learn to swim. A hit at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe!

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

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The Observer called it one of the “most important theatres in Britain”, so if you’re visiting Edinburgh, this isn’t one you want to miss. The theatre, which has always championed new writing – specifically that of Scottish writers – has been in its current home on Cambridge Street for over twenty years and is a venue for the Edinburgh Festivals. Last year it celebrated its 50th year in style and scooped 10 awards as part of the festival.

Ticket Prices: Tickets are generally sold at £12-£15 with one off events varying.

What to See: A Play, A Pie and A Pint generally happens once a year and runs for a month in our Spring Season. The plays and performances change but the entry will guarantee a pie and drink as part of the show.

 

Brighton Little Theatre, Brighton

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This small theatre is perhaps for the more traditional among us. Hidden in the back streets of Brighton this small but perfectly formed venue only holds around 75 people. The small, non-profit company manages to put on about 13 shows a year with classics by Shakespeare, Pinter and Oscar Wilde in their back catalogue. With all the company volunteers you know there is a passion behind their work. The theatre also has a thriving Youth Theatre, with many of the children starring in the shows.

Ticket Prices: From £6-£10.

What to see:  Company (May 17th-24th) Tickets are still available for BLT’s production of this classic Stephen Sondheim musical. In such an intimate venue it’s bound

Lantern Theatre, Liverpool

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Liverpool’s Lantern Theatre is a small, family-run venue in the heart of Liverpool city centre. Since Liverpool’s emergence as a Capital of Culture in2008 the city’s arts sector has grown in reputation and no small part of that is due to the Lantern Theatre. They have a focus on local talent and are about to begin running a Young Writer’s program to help young people hone their craft. They also run a regular comedy night which is absolutely free.

Ticket Prices: Around the £8-£10 mark (Concessions £5-£6)

What to see: This Time We Could Be Big in Japan (23rd May) A light-hearted look at the pitfalls of being in a boy-band, and the story of that inevitable reunion. Not for children.

Friargate Theatre, York

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Friargate Theatre in York is the home of respected theatre company ‘Riding Lights’. The company travels throughout the UK portraying a range of subjects, giving access to theatre for communities that may not always have the opportunity. The venue itself hosts theatre, music and comedy and has been doing so for almost 15 years. They have a reputation for producing work that encourages audiences to engage with issues in society. This extends to the work they currently do, with a new Youth Program aiming to involve children with physical and learning disabilities in drama and theatre.

Ticket Prices:  From £8-£10

What to Watch: FRENCH FRIes: Right Ici Right Maintenant (16th May) Resident comedians undertake their usual improvisational comedy, but with a twist. They have to try and speak some French, when none of them know how! Guaranteed to have a few laughs.