I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human beingOscar Wilde
I am lucky enough to live in a town that adores its acting, music, and entertainment. We have so many stages, including The Fulton Theatre, Sight & Sound, Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, and so many more. Right before covid hit we were finally going to dive in and see a bunch of shows. Then the pandemic happened, life shut down, and we lived in a black hole where theatre and art used to thrive. I’m even luckier in the fact that all of those things were temporary and the art is back with a vengeance.
We went to the Fulton Theatre yesterday for the first time to see the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. I’d already seen it a few years ago, but my boyfriend hadn’t and I knew it was a show he’d actually enjoy, so we went! If you didn’t know, I was a theatre major in college and I’ve done lots of film as well. It’s a huge passion of mine, so it meant a lot that we were back in action and going to see shows. This week I knew I had to share the love and talk about a few amazing theaters you can visit around the world. Take a look and tell me what you think!
I did rank them in order of my favorites from my least favorite at the top and my favorites at the bottom. Don’t worry, all of them are incredible for so many different reasons!
Teatro di San Carlo, Naples
When it was first built in 1737 it was the biggest opera house in the world. Today, it’s the oldest opera house in Italy and embodies what a traditional theatre is known for. It’s elegant, on a grand scale, and is decked out to the nines in opulence. It was commissioned by a king after all, so it needed to be extra. If you love traditional and elegant theaters, this one needs to be on your list.
National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing
This modern, egg-shaped theatre is a gorgeous example of how modern architecture can be applied to something as fluid, traditional, and fun as theater. Located in the heart of Beijing, the National Centre for Performing Arts is a masterpiece. One of the most spectacular aspects of this theater is that it sits in an artificial lake that reflects the architecture for an unbelievable photo opportunity. Whether you want to see it during the day or lit up in the evening, it’s going to be an impressive experience. Then, you get to be further impressed by the talent you’ll see performing inside.
Sydney Opera House
Yes, this is one of the most well-known structures in the world, but it’s so stinking cool. The outside is its own work of art and it even uses the seawater around it to cool the building. Talk about neat. One of the things I love most about it is its versatility. It might be plain colored during the day but it is lit colorfully and with different works of art all year long, giving it endless appearances in addition to its iconic structure. Not only is it amazing on the outside, it hosts over 3,000 events each year, making it an extremely busy theatre with something to offer everyone no matter when they visit.
The Winter Garden, Toronto, Canada
Nestled in the heart of Toronto is a theatre like no other. Literally. It’s the last operating double decker theatre in existence. That means two stages are stacked on top of each other. Built in the 1910s as a vaudeville stage, the stage was graced by many stars. Once the film industry made it clear it was there to stay, the theatre was converted to a movie theatre.
What’s cooler than a double decker theatre? One that has super unique decor to make the experience whimsical like you’re sitting in a magical garden. The lower level is your typical bedazzled baroque style theatre. The upper level is where the magic happens. Nature scenes decorate the walls and leafy plants hang from ceiling giving you the illusion that you’re not sitting snugly inside but in a garden.
Minack Theatre, Cornwall
Open air theatre anyone? This theatre started as a project undertaken by Shakespeare enthusiasts to convert a lawn into a theatre in 1932 and is still used to this day during the summer months. The theatre alone is amazing, but the backdrop of the sea? Now that’s next level. There are nearby botanical gardens and a guided tour to learn more about the site. This would make for one memorable experience.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Athens, Greece
Yes, I’m a sucker for open-air theaters, but this is considered to be one of the best in the world. Athens is incredible in itself, however it’s uniquely special for theatre lovers as it’s considered a birthplace of theatre. It was built in 161 A.D. and is still used today. Now that’s a LONG run. Whether you’re watching ballet or a music festival, you’ll get to sit in a piece of history that overlooks much of the city. That’s ridiculously cool in my book.
Water Puppet Theater, Hanoi
Thang Long Municipal Theatre is home to a traditional and absolutely unique theatre experience known as water puppetry. It’s exactly what it sounds like, puppets being manipulated in a shallow pool of water to bring you an amazing show. The puppeteers are hidden behind stage or a screen and it’s a secret as to how they can get the puppets to move so well while barely being able to see them. The original water puppet shows were said to take place in rice fields, but this theatre is anything but simple and saying the shows are extravagant just doesn’t do it justice.
Lake Constance in Austria is home to one of the most unique, absolute coolest, and ever-changing theaters I’ve ever seen. It’s been a skeleton reading a book, a creepy clown, a piece meal Statue of Liberty, a giant eye, a factory, and so much more. This floating stage really shows what the imagination can bring to set construction because there truly is no limit here. 7,000 spectators can watch a performance but it is most popular during the Bregenz Festival. A new project is shown every two years and usually premiers as the sun sets on the lake. It really doesn’t get cooler than this. Can you tell it’s my favorite?