Barbican Theatres

Barbican Theatres Barbican sits on the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines. Originally called Aldersgate Street, the London Underground station adopted its present name in 1968. The station opened to passenger traffic in 1923, although the original building that once claimed to be the former home of William Shakespeare has since been replaced. The station is located close to the site of the Fortune Playhouse, an historic theatre founded in 1600. The area remains a thriving performing arts destination, in large part due to the presence of the sprawling Barbican Centre.

Barbican Centre

The Barbican Centre is one of the largest performing arts centres in Europe. The venue hosts a range of productions, from classical to contemporary music and theatre productions to film premieres. In addition to showcasing works by established international artists, the Barbican Centre stages productions by new and young talent from London. The Barbican is also the home of the prestigious London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, which use the centre's largest auditorium. The centre sits east of the Barbican tube station, which is approximately four minutes away on foot.

Opened in 1982 by Queen Elizabeth II, the Barbican Centre has a large collection of performance halls and other facilities. The Barbican Hall is the largest space with a capacity for 1,949 people. The centre also includes the 1,166-seat Barbican Theatre and The Pit, a 200-seat studio theatre. The Barbican Art Gallery, the three-cinema Barbican Film and the Barbican Library are also found at the complex. There are also three restaurants, seven conference halls and two exhibition halls. Although not part of the iconic centre, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama is also found on the site. Productions of the Barbican Centre are often staged at the school. The Guildhall School operates a 308-seat auditorium that is used for drama and opera theatre, as well as a concert hall, studio theatre and other event spaces.

Sadler's Wells Theatre

The sixth theatre to be built on the site, the history of the Sadler's Wells Theatre dates back to 1683. The original theatre was one of London's first public theatres to be building following the Restoration. The theatre's name derives from the discovery of monastic springs on property owned by Richard Sadler. By the middle to late 18th century, Sadler's Wells established itself as an opera house under the direction of Thomas Rosoman. From the late 18th century and into the 19th century, the theatre also presented a broad range of productions from plays and pageants to comedy shows. The performing arts venue is located on Rosebery Avenue in Islington. Sadler's Wells Theatre also manages the Peacock Theatre in London's West End. Today, Sadler's Wells Theatre is one of the UK's leading dance venues and producing houses. The current theatre opened in 1998 with a performance of Iolanthe by the Rambert Dance Company. The theatre boasts a main auditorium with more than 1,500 seats. It also houses a 200-seat Lilian Baylis Studio theatre. Since 2004, the Sadler's Wells Theatre has acted as a production house and a receiving house. Companies from across the UK and around the world stage performances at the theatre. It is also the home of the annual Breakin' Convention, an international hip hop dance theatre festival. A 20 minute walk north of the Barbican tube station, the theatre is also five minutes south of Angel tube station.