The Best Theatre Shows on in London in 2024

Get the diaries out and start booking those tickets

London is one of the theatre capitals of the world, hosting everything from blockbuster musicals on the West End to Shakespearean classics at The Globe. London is home to cultural icons like the Barbican and the National Theatre, which regularly stage world-class productions, and there’s always something new and experimental running at the city’s smaller theatres, not to mention at immersive theatre company Punchdrunk’s Woolwich home.

This guide features the best theatre shows currently playing in London, plus all of the shows still to come in 2024 so you can also plan ahead. There’s plenty to look forward to, with a fair few big A-listers set to tread the boards and some iconic musicals opening this year.


Stacey Dooley

2:22 A Ghost Story

Danny Robins’ (best known for The Battersea Poltergeist podcast) 2:22 A Ghost Story, is returning to the Gielgud Theatre this summer and is changing up its cast once again. This time round, documentary presenter and former Strictly star Stacey Dooley will be making her stage debut as Jenny, while James Buckley (who you’ll all recognise as Jay from The Inbetweeners) will be reprising his role as Ben. Donna Air and Joe McFadden are also joining the cast for this latest run.  If it’s not been on your radar yet, 2:22 is a supernatural thriller that takes place over the course of one night when Jenny, who believes her new house is haunted, and her husband Sam argue with their old friend Lauren and her new partner Ben about ghosts and whether or not they exist. Part horror, part social commentary, the play is an exploration of the clash between belief and scepticism.

Sat 25th May – Sun 4th August 2024
Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 6AR
222aghoststory.com


Adrian Dunbar in Kiss Me Kate

Kiss Me Kate

We know him best at Superintendent Ted Hastings in Line of Duty but this summer Adrian Dunbar is transforming into a musical theatre star by taking on the role of Fred Graham / Petruchio in Cole Porter’s iconic Kiss Me, Kate. Running at the Barbican Theatre for 15 weeks this summer, this production of Kiss Me, Kate is being directed by Bartlett Sher (To Kill A MockingbirdThe King and I, and South Pacific) with Tony Award-winning Broadway star Stephanie J. Block starring opposite Dunbar as Lilli Vanessi / Katharine. The musical is a classic farce set around a show within a show – a theatre company attempt to stage a production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew but backstage chaos, including feuding spouses, romantic entanglements and mistaken identity, ensures that the off-stage antics are just as dramatic as the on-stage ones.

Tues 4th June – Sat 14th September 2024
Barbican Theatre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS
kissmekatemusical.com


Starlight Express

Starlight Express

Get your skates on because Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express, which ran in the West End from 1984 to 2002, is rolling back into the capital this summer. And this time, the musical, which famously features performers on roller skates, will run in the purpose-built Starlight Auditorium at Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre. Starlight Express tells the story of child’s train set Rusty, who magically comes to life and wants to become the fastest engine in the world to impress first-class car Pearl. The new production, which being directed by Luke Sheppard (who also took the reins for &Juliet), choreography from Ashley Nottingham and has Arlene Phillips returning as creative dramaturg, features the same music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics from Richard Stilgoe but with a big new plot twist. Fans of the original will have something new to look forward to but the classic songs, including ‘AC/DC’, ‘Light at the End of the Tunnel’, ‘Make Up My Heart’ and ‘Starlight Express’ will also be present and correct.

Opens Sat 8th June 2024
3 Fulton Rd, Wembley Park, Wembley HA9 0SP
starlightexpresslondon.com


Jeremy O. Harris Slave Play

Slave Play

Following an initial staging at New York Theatre Workshop in 2018, Jeremy O. Harris’ Slave Play transferred to Broadway the following year and went on to receive a record 12 nominations at the 74th Tony Awards. Now the production is making its UK premiere at the Noël Coward Theatre this summer with Robert O’Hara on directing duties. The play is a controversial examination of identity, race and sexuality in 21st century America and has been criticised as well as lauded. Slave Play follows three interracial couples who try to revive their relationships by attending an ‘antebellum sexual performance therapy’ workshop, which involves role-playing being on a plantation. Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington is starring in the London transfer, alongside Fisayo Akinade, Olivia Washington, and Aaron Heffernan, with James Cusati-Moyer, Chalia La Tour, Annie McNamara and Irene Sofia Lucio reprising their roles from the original Broadway production.

Sat 29th June – Sat 21st September 2024
85-88 St Martin’s Ln, London, WC2N 4AP
slaveplaylondon.com


Imelda Staunton to star in Hello Dolly!

Hello Dolly!

Having starred in both Follies and Gypsy, Imelda Staunton is no stranger to a musical and she’s back with another classic in 2024. Hello Dolly!, directed by Dominic Cooke (who also did Follies) and featuring Jerry Herman’s score, including ‘Put On Your Sunday Clothes’, ‘Ribbons Down My Back’, ‘Before the Parade Passes By’, ‘It Only Takes a Moment’ and ‘Hello, Dolly!’, will run for a limited ten-week season in the summer at the London Palladium. Jenna Russell, Tyrone Huntley and Harry Hepple will star alongside Staunton, who’s taking on the role of socialite-turned-matchmaker Dolly Levi. She travels to Yonkers, New York to find a match for grumpy, unmarried ‘half-a-millionaire’ Horace Vandergelder (played by Andy Nyman) while she also tries to sort own her own love life.

Sat 6th July – Sat 14th December 2024
8 Argyll Street, London, W1F 7TF
hellodollyldn.com


Death of England: The Plays

Clint Dyer and Roy Williams’ state of the nation plays Death of England, which premiered at the National Theatre, are being staged together for the first time at @sohoplace this summer. Thomas Coombes is starring in Death of England: Michael (beginning 15th July), Paapa Essiedu is leading Death of England: Delroy (beginning 23rd July, and Erin Doherty and Sharon Duncan-Brewster are starring in Death of England: Closing Time (beginning 22nd August), with all three being performed in rep from then until 28th September.

Mon 15th July – Sat 28th September 2024
4 Soho Place, London W1D 3BG
deathofengland.com


a man sitting in a chair on stage

A View From The Bridge

Following a sold-out run in Bath, A View from the Bridge starring Dominic West, Kate Fleetwood and Callum Scott Howells is transferring to the West End, running at the Theatre Royal Haymarket across the summer. The classic play from Arthur Miller, regarded as one of the best playwrights of the 20th century, tells the story of Italian-American Eddie Carbone living in 1950s New York, as he struggles to control his jealousy as his niece Catherine falls for an Italian immigrant with tragic consequences.

Until Sat 3rd August 2024
Theatre Royal Haymarket, London SW1Y 4HT
trh.co.uk


Tom Holland in Romeo & Juliet

Romeo & Juliet

He already has one iconic role to his name in Peter Parker aka Spiderman, and now Tom Holland is taking on another this summer in the shape of Romeo, starring opposite Francesca Amewudah-Rivers as Juliet. This version of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet is being directed by Jamie Lloyd, who’s got a string of critically acclaimed productions to his name, most recently the award-winning revival of Sunset Boulevard starring Nicole Scherzinger, so we should be expecting something pretty special.

Until Sat 3rd August 2024
St Martin’s Ln, London WC2N 4BG
romeoandjulietldn.com


The Wizard of Oz

Follow Dorothy and Toto as they journey out of Kansas, over the rainbow and along the yellow brick road all the way to Oz right here in London with The Wizard of Oz, which is back in the capital at the Gillian Lynne Theatre. Based on the iconic movie, the stage musical will feature all the classic songs, including ‘Over The Rainbow’, ‘We’re Off To See The Wizard’ and ‘Follow The Yellow Brick Road’, plus some new ones from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, and will see Aston Merrygold play the Tin Man and The Vivienne as The Wicked Witch of the West.

Thurs 15th August – Sun 8th September 2024
166 Drury Ln, London WC2B 5PW
wizardofozmusical.com


A Night With Janis Joplin

A Night With Janis Joplin

Over a decade after the musical was first staged and following a Tony Award-nominated run on Broadway, a tour across America and a series of shows in Tokyo, A Night With Janis Joplin is now coming to London. Mary Bridget Davis, who played Janis in both the Broadway and touring productions, is reprising her leading role for the London run, happening at the Peacock Theatre in August and September. A Night With Janis Joplin celebrates the life of the rock & roll legend as well as her biggest musical influences, including Etta James, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Odetta and Bessie Smith. Joplin burst onto the scene in 1967 and won a legion of fans with her unique voice, performances at Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock, and songs like ‘Piece of My Heart’, ‘Cry Baby’, and ‘Me and Bobby McGee’, which’ll all feature in the show.

Tues 20th August – Sat 28th September 2024
Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, London, WC2A 2HT
janisjoplin.com


smartly dressed man and woman on stage

Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York)

After a sold-out run at Kiln Theatre, British musical Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York) has had its West End run at the Criterion Theatre extended to the end of summer. Written by Jim Barne and Kit Buchan, the rom-com follows naive and upbeat Brit Dougal (played by Olivier Award-winner Sam Tutty), who’s flown into NYC for his dad’s second wedding and who meets NYC native and sister of the bride Robin (played by Dujonna Gift)​​.

Until Sat 31st August 2024
218-223 Piccadilly, London W1J 9HR
twostrangersthemusical.com


a poster of 70s wallpaper with Abigail's Party title

Abigail’s Party

Nadia Fall is staging the Mike Leigh classic portrait of class, materialism and sexual tension in 70s England, Abigail’s Party, at Stratford East this autumn. Set in 1977, a party hosted by Beverly and Laurence, with neighbours Angela and Tony, and Sue (who’s left her daughter Abigail next door), descends into the evening from hell.

Fri 6th September – Sat 5th October 2024
Gerry Raffles Square, Theatre Square, London E15 1BN
stratfordeast.com


Waiting for Godot

Waiting for Godot

He’s been in Paddington and James Bond and now Ben Whishaw is starring in another iconic production, playing Vladimir in Samuel Beckett’s existential masterpiece Waiting for Godot, which is the very play that inspired him to drop out of university over two decades ago and switch to studying acting instead. Lucian Msamati (his co-star in the BBC’s Hollow Crown series) will be taking the other lead role of Estragon in the play, which is being directed by James Macdonald. A study on the purposelessness of life and suffering as part of the human condition, the play sees the two characters wait for the titular Godot, who never arrives. The last time Waiting for Godot was staged in the West End was in 2009, with Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen in the lead roles, so it’s high time we got another version.

Fri 13th September – Sat 14th December 2024
Theatre Royal Haymarket, 18 Suffolk St, London SW1Y 4HT
waitingforgodotplay.com


poster featuring headshots of J Smith Cameron and Mark Rylance

Juno and the Paycock

Following Brian Cox in A Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Sarah Snook in The Picture of Dorian Gray, J. Smith Cameron is the latest Succession star coming to the West End. She’s taking up the role of Juno Boyle in Sean O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock, starring opposite Mark Rylance as ‘Captain’ Jack Boyle and being directed by Matthew Warchus. Set in Dublin in 1922 as the Irish Civil War rages, the tragi-comedy explores the resilience of matriarch Juno as she tries to keep her family together while ‘Captain’ Jack seems to go no further than the pub.

Sat 21st September – Sat 23rd November 2024
Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 6AR
junoandthepaycock.com


Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

Irish playwright and five-time Tony nominee Conor McPherson is adapting the work – both Suzanne Collins’ 2008 novel and the Jennifer Lawrence movie – which is set in the dystopian world of Panem, where Katniss Everdeen must fight to the death in an annual televised competition for the stage. Collins is endorsing the play, which is being directed by Matthew Dunster (of 2:22 A Ghost Story fame). The show will be opening in autumn 2024, although we don’t know where yet or who’ll be amongst the cast. May the odds be ever in your favour.

Opens autumn 2024
Location TBC


David Tennant and Cush Jumbo on stage

Macbeth

After a sellout run at the Donmar Warehouse, David Tennant and Cush Jumbo are returning to take on the roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Max Webster’s version of Shakespeare’s tragedy, which is transferring to the Harold Pinter Theatre in the autumn. The production features innovative binaural sound design and live Celtic folk music that audience members experience through headphones, truly immersing you in the action on the stage.

Tues 1st October – Sat 14th December 2024
Harold Pinter Theatre, Panton Street, London, SW1Y 4DN
atgtickets.com


Oedipus

Director Robert Icke is bringing his adaptation of Oedipus to London following stints at Internationaal Theater Amsterdam and the Edinburgh Festival. Running from October at the Wyndham’s Theatre, this Oedipus will have Mark Strong taking on the title role and Lesley Manville playing Jocasta. Sophocles’ original play is an exploration of fate and free will through the figure of King Oedipus. In trying to save Thebes from a plague by discovering who murdered the previous king Laius, Oedipus discovers that he has unwittingly fulfilled a prophecy that predicted he would murder his father and marry his mother, queen Jocasta.

Fri 4th October 2024 – Sat 4th January 2025
Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0DA
oedipustheplay.com


dr strangelove

Dr Strangelove

Armando Iannucci (the satirist behind The Thick of It, Veep, The Death of Stalin and I’m Alan Partridge) and Sean Foley (who’ll also be directing) are bringing Stanley Kubrick’s iconic Dr Strangelove to the Noel Coward theatre this autumn, in what will be the first ever stage adaptation of one of the legendary director’s films. The 1964 black-and-white film, which satirises the fear of nuclear war during the Cold War and famously had Peter Sellers starring in three different roles, is widely considered to be one of the best movies ever made. Steve Coogan is taking on the lead for the stage version and the combo of Kubrick’s source material, Iannucci and Coogan has got us very excited for this one. 

Tues 8th October – Sat 21st December 2024
85-88 St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4AP
drstrangelove.com


Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada

We’re not always fans of movies being turned into musicals – especially movies that have no real music connection to them at all – but there are a few cases where we’ll make an exception, like when Elton John is doing the score and the movie is The Devil Wears Prada. Yes the fashion classic (based on former PA to Anna Wintour Lauren Weisberger’s book) starring Anne Hathaway as wannabe journo Andy Sachs and Meryl Streep as Runway magazine editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly, is hitting the stage and it’ll have its premiere in the West End. The show, which stars Vanessa Williams as the fearsome editor, also features music by Elton John, lyrics by American musician Shania Taub and a script by Kate Wetherhead, and is being directed and choreographed by the Tony Award-winning Jerry Mitchell.

Opens Thurs 24th October 2024
268-269 Tottenham Ct Rd, London W1T 7AQ
devilwearspradamusical.com


The Importance of Being Earnest

Current Time Lord Ncuti Gatwa is returning to the stage for the first time since he starred in Sex Education and taking on the role of Algernon in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest at the National Theatre. Max Webster (whose production of Macbeth starring former Doctor Who David Tennant is running in the West End this autumn) is directing the comedy, which sees Algernon and Jack (played by Hugh Skinner) entangle themselves in a web of lies as they try to impress two young ladies who are in the care of Lady Bracknell (played by Sharon D Clarke).

Weds 20th November 2024 – Sat 25th January 2025
National Theatre, South Bank, London SE1 9PX
nationaltheatre.org.uk


Oliver!

Cameron Mackintosh and Matthew Bourne, who first worked together on a revival of Lionel Bart’s Oliver! back in 1994, are teaming up to bring the musical to the London stage once again. Now Bourne is on directing as well as choreographing duties, leading a cast that includes Simon Lipkin as Fagin, Shanay Holmes as Nancy, Aaron Sidwell as Bill Sikes, Billy Jenkins as the Artful Dodger and Philip Franks as Mr Brownlow. The musical, adapted from the Dickens novel, tells the story of orphan Oliver Twist as he escapes the workhouse and gets taken in by Fagin and his gang of pickpockets, and features all the classic songs like ‘Food Glorious Food, ‘Consider Yourself’, and ‘I’d Do Anything’. The production is premiering in Chichester this summer and will transfer to the West End at the end of the year.

Opens Sat 14th December 2024
Gielguld Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 6AR
oliverthemusical.com

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