We’ve put together this list of London shows 2021 to highlight all the exciting theatre that we’ve got to look forward to as theatre returns #BackOnStage. From 17 May shows will be playing with a socially distanced audience and from 21 June onwards, theatres hope to open at full capacity.
Booking advance tickets is a great way to support theatres at the moment, and you can get a date in the diary to get excited about! And because we know it’s important to have flexibility in these times, we stand by our ‘Book with Confidence. Exchange with Ease‘ pledge.
You can also look out for our See It Safely mark which means you can feel confident the show you are booking for is Covid-secure and following the latest Government guidance for live arts events. In case you have any questions, we’ve popped together a handy guide to Everything you need to know for your next theatre trip.
Whether you’re looking for debut plays or classic West End shows reopening for us all to enjoy once again, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this list. Theatre is nothing without its audiences and we are thrilled to welcome our you back! Please show your support by sharing your theatre experiences using #BackOnStage.
Shows playing from 17 May – 21 June:
Shows playing from 21 June onwards:
Other venues reopening in London:
Soho Theatre celebrates the relaunch of its theatre programme this summer with an exhilarating new play. Shedding A Skin (17 June – 17 July), written by Amanda Wilkin, the 2020 winner of the acclaimed Verity Bargate Award, sponsored by Character 7, is a play about finding kindness in unexpected places, moments of connection, intergenerational friendship and joy.
Theatre Royal Stratford East will be welcoming audiences back to the theatre from 2 June, opening with Dipo Baruwa-Etti’s The Sun, The Moon, And The Stars, followed by Extinct by April De Angelis.
Nadia fall will direct a new production of Conor McPherson’s Shining City, which will star Brendan Coyle and The Stratford East Young Company will perform SCREAM FIRE (FOR THE REVOLUTION), devised and written by Natasha Brown with the Young Company, and directed by Nastazja Domaradzka, and Punk Rock by Simon Stephens and directed by Toby Clarke in Jul 2021. The previously announced pantomime Red Riding Hood will play from Sat 27 Nov – Sat 31 Dec 2021.
Shakespeare’s Globe is preparing to reopen its outdoor theatre on 19 May 2021, welcoming audiences in for socially distanced performances. The summer season opens with Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, followed by Romeo & Juliet and Twelfth Night. The Globe Touring Ensemble will perform As You Like It, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The season will star Jean Chan, Alfred Enoch, Jim Fortune, Sean Holmes, Sami Ibrahim, Ola Ince, Laura Lomas, Sabrina Mahfouz, Brendan O’Hea, Holly Race Roughan and Michelle Terry.
For the first time, some productions will be live streamed from the Globe stage. The outdoor theatre is introducing Covid-safe protocols including staggered arrival times, allocated entrances, no intervals, pre-ordered drinks, and for the initial period of opening there will be seating in the Yard.
Taking place from 19 May – 5 June, both live at the Almeida and online, is Six Artists in Search of a Play. Artists Ebenezer Bamgboye, Atri Banerjee, Nastazja Domaradzka, Anthony Lau, Audrey Sheffield and Cherrelle Skeete present semi-staged readings of plays rarely seen in the UK and curate a programme of live music, dance and panel discussions exploring different theatrical traditions from around the world. Much of the programme, including all of the semi-staged readings, will be performed to socially distanced audiences at the Almeida and all events will be filmed and made available digitally at a later date. The new season will also include two world premieres, a London revival, a collection of new plays and so much more! Check out the full details in our news story here.
For the first time since theatres closed on 16 March 2020, Kiln Theatre will re-open to share live performance with audiences with a season of work including three world premières – Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me by Amy Trigg, NW Trilogy by Moira Buffini, Suhayla El-Bushra and Roy Williams, and The Wife of Willesden adapted by Zadie Smith from Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath, and a major revival of Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Ayad Akhtar’s The Invisible Hand. The new season will be staged in a Covid safe environment following government advice.
The Lyric Hammersmith will reopen it’s doors from 12 – 14 August for, Heart of Hammersmith, a large-scale community play, telling intergenerational stories of the people, places, sights and sounds of Hammersmith past and present.
Inspired by true stories from West London, the play tracks immigrant arrivals, million-pound homes and social housing sitting side by side, the rise of gentrification and the shadows left by the Grenfell tragedy, the changing of attitudes, facing of tragedies and the rallying of a resilient community.
On 27 June, the Rose is reopening to the public with a series of summer shows and events, including:
- The International Youth Arts Festival by Creative Youth from 1 July 2021
- Theatre Royal Bath’s Copenhagen by Michael Frayn, directed by Emma Howlett and starring Philip Arditti, Haydn Gwynne and Malcolm Sinclair, playing 20 – 24 July 2021
- Rhum and Clay Theatre Company’s The War of The Worlds from 28 July – 1 August 2021
- Additional performances announced for Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Zog in August
- A Shakespeare in the Sun Festival and the return of our popular Summer Schools programme as part of our learning and participation branch, Rose Participate.
From 9 July, The Young Vic will be welcoming theatre-makers and audiences back through the doors to create and experience live performance for the first time since the venue’s 50th Birthday celebrations in October 2020. Here is a list of what’s on:
- The season opens with Changing Destiny, Booker Prize-winner Ben Okri’s stunning new adaptation of the 4,000-year-old Egyptian poem of Sinuhe the Warrior King
- The highly anticipated production of Hamlet, starring Cush Jumbo and directed by Greg Hersov, will begin previews from 27 September 2021, with Press Night 4 October
- Best of Enemies, a new play by Olivier Award-winner James Graham, follows the debates that changed politics and television forever
- Klippies, the acclaimed debut by Jessica Siân, a coming-of-age drama set in the twentieth year of South Africa’s democracy about the intensity of first love
- A unique collaboration between human and computer minds, AI is a play developed by Chinonyerem Odimba and Nina Segal, written alongside GPT-3 OpenAI technology.
- Best Seat in Your House, an innovative multi-camera immersive broadcast experience inviting audiences to play with the broadcast form.
- Young Vic Taking Part present the third YV Unpacked tour, taking a professional production to venues such as elderly care homes, homeless shelters and rehabilitation centres.
- Taking Part also bring the world of theatre and ballroom together in an explosive evening of music, dance, walking and partying with Sundown Kiki
The Bush Theatre will be opening from 17 May with Harm, new monologue by Bruntwood Prize award-winning playwright Phoebe Eclair-Powell starring Kelly Gough. Harm is a thrilling and twisted new comedy on the corrosive effect of social media and isolation will be directed by Atri Banerjee.
The Old Vic have announced its new ‘Back Together’ season, the seventh from Artistic Director Matthew Warchus. Running from July 2021 to July 2022, the season will feature an uplifting and thought-provoking combination of both streamed and live shows including the below:
SUMMER – DIGITAL AND LIVE:
- In celebration of Pride Month our 2017 monologue series Queers, curated by Mark Gatiss, will be re-released on BBC iPlayer to accompany two brand new One Voice monologues for Your Old Vic on YouTube
- To mark Refugee Week we will present HOME?, three new One Voice monologues curated by Noma Dumezweni for Your Old Vic on YouTube
- Jeremy Herrin directs the sixth in the live streamed OLD VIC: IN CAMERA series, Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter with Daniel Mays and David Thewlis which will also welcome a small live ‘studio’ audience within the auditorium itself
- Company in Residence Wise Children will return to The Old Vic’s auditorium in our world premiere co-production of Emma Rice’s joyful adaptation of the 1987 film Bagdad Cafe. An ensemble cast will include Patrycja Kujawska, Le Gateau Chocolat and Sandra Marvin, and the show will also be presented live with an OLD VIC: IN CAMERA at the end of the run.
FROM AUTUMN – LIVE:
- Old Vic Baylis Director, Katy Rudd, directs the world premiere of Bess Wohl’s Camp Siegfried starring Patsy Ferran and Luke Thallon
- Following last year’s live streamed OLD VIC: IN CAMERA version, we are delighted that our annual festive favourite A Christmas Carol, written by Jack Thorne and directed by Matthew Warchus, will return for live audiences
- Lyndsey Turner will direct Caryl Churchill’s classic play A Number starring Paapa Essiedu and Lennie James
- Long-time collaborators Terry Gilliam and Leah Hausman co-direct Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods.
Click here to watch our interview with Executive Director Kate Varah, where you can find out more about the new season, The Old Vic’s special ticketing offers and more!
Sadler’s Wells will reopen it’s doors from 17 May with a World Premiere as English National Ballet returns to live performances with five works by renowned choreographers and rising talents, performed on stage for the first time. An exciting season of events continues with Singin’ In The Rain from 30 July – 5 September and the Peacock Theatre reopens in September with a selection of must-see shows, including the return of Message In A Bottle, which had it’s run cut short in 2020.
We will continue to add to this list when we receive announcements for new shows so please do check back regularly for all the latest updates.