5 Places to See Live Theatre for Free in London - Broke in London


5 Places to See Live Theatre for Free in London

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
User Rating: 5.0/5

5 + 1 ways to find free live theatre in London

Guest post by Casey Meehan

If you crave live theatre once a month or so but live in London, chances are you spend a good, fat slice of your monthly pay on show tickets.

Whether it’s the latest smash hit musical, classic play or modern performance starring celebrities, seats can cost anywhere between £15 and £90 or more depending on the venue. If you’re lucky, you can get standing tickets for £5.

8 Tips for Budget Friendly Theatre Tickets.

But what about the inclusive theatre scene we remember from our childhood a few decades ago? Surely, it exists somewhere, operating on the fringes, on streets and in living rooms where artistic communities get together free from licenses and prohibitively priced tickets? Does free theatre in London exist?

Yes, it does, though you might have to hunt for it. Meanwhile, here’s a round-up of 5 places to see live theatre for free in London.

#1 | Free Open-Air Theatre by Gods and Monsters Theatre

5 Places to See Live Theatre for Free in London

Image taken from Gods and Monsters Theatre Facebook page

Every summer, Londoners can enjoy several days of accessible, family-friendly open-air theatre

at the Free Open-Air Theatre held at The Scoop. The programme usually includes everything from Greek classics to modern musicals. If you’re willing to brave the crowds — and the wind and rain — you can enjoy several days of fantastic live theatre under the direction of Phil Willmott and producer Suzanna Rosenthal of the Gods and Monsters Theatre Company.

With free theatre, the company wants to bring together local communities and people of all ages, financial situations, ethnicities or physical ability to enjoy stimulating live theatre. Watch their page for announcements of the new season.

Where: The Scoop at More London, Queen’s Walk, More London, SE1 2DB
When: August to September

#2 | Woodhouse Players

5 Places to See Live Theatre for Free in London

Image taken from Woodhouse Players Facebook page

The Woodhouse Players are a 40-member amateur theatre group from East London that has produced a number of plays such as Peter Shaffer’s ‘Black Comedy’, Bertolt Brecht’s ‘Fear and Misery of the Third Reich’ and Ann-Marie MacDonald’s ‘Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)’.

But you can attend some events like rehearsed readings for free. Watch the group’s diary for notifications of free shows. Non-members can also join the group’s Play Reading Pub Nights (usually at the Welsh Church Hall) to sit in and enjoy play readings or read a play of their own.

Where: Rehearsals held at The Welsh Church Hall, 881 High Road Leytonstone, E11 1HR
When: Check the group’s diary page

#3 | Chain Reaction Theatre

5 Places to See Live Theatre for Free in London

Image taken from Chain Reaction Facebook page

Dalston’s Chain Reaction Theatre runs a free youth theatre every Tuesday between 5.00 and 6.30 pm in the basement of their premises at Three Mill Lane in East London. The theatre company mostly uses their original theatre performances to educate and inspire young people in schools. They also organise free education workshops, so it’s not hard to see why they welcome locals in Tower Hamlets (and beyond, we’re sure) to join their youth theatre.

Where: Millers House, Three Mill Lane, E3 3DU
When: 5.00 pm to 6.30 pm every Tuesday

#4 | Croydonites Festival of New Theatre

5 Places to See Live Theatre for Free in London

Image taken from Croydonites Facebook page

Croydon’s vibrant theatre scene has recently led to the Festival of New Theatre since 2015. The festival brings contemporary theatre from the borough as well as from around the rest of the country. The Arts Council England has funded the festival to support an experimental local theatre that tackles local and national issues. While some of the plays and shows are priced (tickets typically less than £10), others are free.

Where: Various locations; see the What’s On page for details
When: 16 March – 1 April, 2017

#5 | Exit Theatre

5 Places to See Live Theatre for Free in London

Image taken from Exit Theatre Facebook page

Yet another Croydon-based initiative, the Exit Theatre is a voluntary community theatre that puts up new and original productions. Many of these plays are free to watch. You can even join the group if you’re over 18, without having to pay a membership fee.

The Exit Theatre company’s free productions are possible because of the support from sponsors, fundraising events, grants and YouTube ad sales. Exit Theatre has offered exciting productions in the past, including Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rope’, P.G. Wodehouse’s ‘Ring for Jeeves’ and ‘Crash Morgan and the Curse of the Lost Totem’ at venues like The Green Dragon and The Braithwaite.

Where: Various locations in Croydon
When: Check the group’s events calendar for up-to-date information

Honourable Mention: Breakfast Cat Theatre Company

Yes, this was supposed to be a 5-item list, but we couldn’t fail to mention The Breakfast Cat Theatre Company. This is another non-profit in Croydon that stages intimate and original productions. You’ll have to watch their Facebook page to keep an eye on their performances. Also, watch their space for announcements of free theatre — both their productions and those by other theatre companies.

You’ll find that the prices for tickets are also quite cheap compared to London productions. You can buy a seat for £5. It’s likely to be a seat in an intimate space where you rub elbows with a stranger. And you’ll probably enjoy the show a lot more than the formal, often distant seats of West End theatres.

Where: Various locations in Croydon
When: Check the group’s events calendar for up-to-date information

Begin with the opportunities listed here, and you’re likely to find lots of other opportunities to watch free plays open up. Maybe you’ll even get an entry into those secret living room theatre productions that you can’t really find out about unless you know the right set of people!

A bit about Casey

Casey Meehan is a Chicago-based writer, small business owner and avid traveler. You can find his work on financial markets and investment strategies at StockHax.com.



Share the joy! Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+1Pin on Pinterest2Share on StumbleUpon1Email this to someone




Comments