Southwark Theatres

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the River Thames Located south of the River Thames, Southwark is one of the oldest areas of London. Once marshland, the district was the endpoint of the Roman period's London Bridge. In recent years, Southwark has seen a large amount of regeneration as the area's industrial past is replaced with new residential and commercial developments. The home of The Shard, the Borough Market and London's City Hall, Southwark is also where theatregoers will find leading off-West End venues and other major theatres.

Southwark Playhouse

The Southwark Playhouse is a receiving theatre that showcases largely new and creative works. The theatre has been the recipient of several honours since it was founded in 1993, including being names the Fringe Theatre of the Year at The Stage Awards in 2014. Award-winning productions at the off-West End theatre have included Titanic, Mack and Mabel and Tender Napalm. The Southwark Playhouse is also home to a popular education programme that is delivered with the support of government, the Southwark Borough Council, and local schools and businesses.

The theatre's history is linked to the Southwark Playhouse Theatre Company. Since it was formed in 1993, the theatre company has moved twice from its original home in a converted workshop on Southwark Bridge Road. Since 2006, the Southwark Playhouse's base has been vaults under the London Bridge railway station. Access to the haunting theatre is from Tooley Street. Between 2013 and 2018, the Southwark Playhouse will be based at 77-85 Newington Causeway, which is approximately a 15 minute walk south of Southwark tube station. Two spaces at the company's new home seat 240 and 120 people. In early 2018, the Southwark Playhouse is expected to return to the London Bridge after works to the station are completed.

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

The storied Globe Theatre was first built in 1599. Destroyed by fire in 1613 and demolished in 1644, the Globe was absent from London's theatre scene until 1997. In that year, Shakespeare's Globe was rebuilt based on the Elizabethan playhouse's original design. The current theatre sits approximately 230 metres from the site of the original theatre. Built entirely of English oak with a thatched roof, the Shakespeare's Globe opened with a performance of Henry V. The circular theatre features simple benches and seats 857 theatregoers, as well as a pit that accommodates an additional 700 spectators.

The modern Globe Theatre also features the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, which opened in 2014. A shell for the theatre was built when the Globe was first resurrected, although the space was originally used for rehearsals. The theatre is a reconstruction of the Elizabethan-era Blackfriars Theatre. The intimate indoor venue seats 340 theatregoers and features a pit with two horseshoe galleries. Lighting is provided using beeswax candles mounted in scones and with six adjustable chandeliers. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is about a 12-minute walk north-east of Southwark station.

Menier Chocolate Factory

The Menier Chocolate Factory is an off-West End Theatre based at the former Menier Chocolate Company factory on Southwark Street. Opened in 2004, the theatre's home dates back to the 1870s. The intimate and atmospheric theatre retains the original exposed wooden beams of its industrial past, as well as unique cast iron columns and a stunning brick interior. In addition to a 180-seat theatre, the venue includes an inviting restaurant and bar. The Menier Chocolate Factory is approximately an 11 minute walk east of Southwark tube station.

A vibrant fringe venue, the Menier Chocolate Factory stages a variety of plays, musicals, live music performances and stand-up comedy. Award-winning productions have included the musical Sunday in the Park with George , which went on to Studio 54 on Broadway. Other productions at the Menier Chocolate Company to have found a home on Broadway stages include A Little Night Music and the award-winning La Cage aux Folles. The theatre also hosted the UK premieres of Fully Committed and The Last 5 Years, the world premieres of Take Flight and Terrible Advice, and the European premieres of Road Show and The Color Purple.

Union Theatre

A small fringe theatre in Southwark, the Union Theatre was founded in 1998 at the site of a former warehouse on Union Street. The theatre is a three minute walk east of the Southwark Underground station and sits beneath railway arches. A unique space for theatre, the Union primarily stages musicals in its studio. Celebrated productions have included Sweeney Todd by Stephen Sondheim, The Pajama Game by Alder and Ross, and an all-male version of The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan. Other productions at the Union Theatre have included HMS Pinefore and Once Upon A Time at the Adelphia.