Bright lights point to the stage in 2018 as a host of theatrical shows are set to dazzle audiences in London’s glitzy West End and around the country, showcasing the best of classic and modern theatre.
As the red curtains rise, get lost in passionate plays, smash-hit shows and flamboyant musicals, and celebrate show business in Britain. Here are ten shows for 2018 that are not to be missed.
Network by Lee Hall at the Lyttelton Theatre, London
4 November 2017 – 24 March 2018
Breaking Bad fans will rejoice as actor Bryan Cranston is making his British stage debut in the new adaptation of the Oscar-winning film Network (link is external), a Paddy Chayefsky production depicting a dystopian media landscape where opinion trumps fact. Cranston recently won a Tony Award for his Broadway role in All The Way. Many shows are sold out or on limited availability so get your tickets quickly.
Pinocchio by Dennis Kelly at the Lyttelton Theatre, London
1 December 2017 – 7 April 2018
Featuring songs and score from the 1940’s Walt Disney film Pinocchio, this new musical production has been brought to the stage by the director of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the writer of Matilda the Musical. Expert puppetry will bring Pinocchio's world to life during his quest to become a real boy, from alpine forests to the bottom of the sea. For tickets, visit the website (link is external).
Hamilton: An American Musical at Victoria Palace Theatre, London
6 December 2017 – 30 June 2018
Following unanimous critical praise, 11 Tony Awards, and playing to celebrities, politicians and members of theatre royalty, this sensational Broadway musical is coming from New York to London’s West End to re-open the new Victoria Palace Theatre. Hamilton: An American Musical (link is external) tells the story of the American Revolution through the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, incorporating hip-hop, rhythm and blues, pop music, and traditional-style show tunes.
Matthew Bourne's Cinderella at Sadler's Wells, London
9 December 2017 – 27 January 2018
Matthew Bourne's sell-out interpretations of classic fairy tales as bold modern ballets are critically acclaimed. His new show at Sadler’s Wells (link is external) transforms the Cinderella story into a war-time romance: a chance meeting results in a magical night for Cinderella and her dashing young RAF pilot, who are together just long enough to fall in love before being parted by the horrors of the Blitz.
Mary Stuart at Duke of York's Theatre, West End, London
15 January – 31 March 2018
Following a critically acclaimed, sold-out season at the Almeida Theatre in 2016-17, Robert Icke’s adaptation of Mary Stuart (link is external) explores the backstage goings-on of politically crucial days in British history. Based on Friedrich Schiller’s royal tragedy written in 1800, this electrifying play focuses on Mary and Elizabeth I’s relationship, centering on an imaginary meeting between them. Following the run at Duke of York’s Theatre, the play will embark on a Britain-wide tour.
Macbeth by William Shakespeare at the Olivier Theatre, London
Rufus Norris, director of the National Theatre, will bring A-listers Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff to the Olivier Theatre’s stage for Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy. Ambitious and ruthless, the play will explore the destructive effect of power as the Macbeths try desperately to cling on to it. Keep an eye on the website (link is external) for ticket information.
The Band: Take That's New Musical, Britain-wide tour
8 September 2017 – 14 July 2018
Featuring top hits of iconic British boy band Take That, this jukebox musical is a story about how music can define our lives. The protagonists are five teenage girls who adore Take That and aspire to meet their heroes as they grow older. The show will be performed in numerous cities, including Cardiff, Glasgow and Liverpool. For full tour dates, visit the website (link is external).
Shrek the Musical, Britain-wide tour
12 November 2017 – 6 January 2019
Shrek returns to the stage with his loyal steed Donkey and a 14-foot dragon to win Fiona’s heart in this all-singing, all-dancing, alternative fairy tale. Based on William Steig's book Shrek! and the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation feature film, this musical extravaganza will feature new songs as well as cult Shrek anthem I’m a Believer. This Britain-wide tour includes venues in Abderdeen, Cardiff and Blackpool. For full tour dates and tickets, visit the website (link is external).
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis at West Yorkshire Playhouse
29 November 2017 - 21 January 2018
A wonderland of magic and mayhem, this adaptation of the novel by CS Lewis follows siblings Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter as they set off on an adventure through the back of a wardrobe into the enchanting kingdom of Narnia. Directed by Sally Cookson, who recently bought to stage Peter Pan and the critically acclaimed sell-out tour of Jane Eyre, this timeless story will transport you into a faraway land. For tickets, visit the website (link is external).
Titanic: The Musical, Britain-wide tour
12 April – 21 July 2018
Maury Yeston's musical Titanic (link is external), which won five Tony Awards after opening on Broadway in 1997, will set sail on its first ever Britain-wide tour in April 2018. Following critical acclaim at Southwark Playhouse and Charing Cross Theatre, this tragic tale is based on real stories of passengers aboard the ill-fated ship, which catastrophically collided with an iceberg in 1517. The show will be performed in a selection of cities, including Edinburgh, Southampton and Birmingham.