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Photo credit: Hamlet at Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (Photo by Johan Persson)

Shakespeare plays to see in London

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

Everybody knows William Shakespeare. The 16th-century English playwright and dramatist penned dozens of plays, sonnets, and poems during his lifetime. His writing changed the future of the English language. Whether you've seen all the Shakespeare plays (bonus points for you!), a couple of Shakespeare stories here and there, or you've just heard of him, it's impossible to imagine the West End without Shakespeare plays. Shakespeare shows, events, and theatres are dotted across London too — whatever time of year it is in London, there's a Shakespeare production somewhere.

Die-hard Bard lovers can see a Shakespeare play at Shakespeare's Globe, a 1997 reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre. Or, if you're someone who looks out for contemporary retellings of Shakespeare classics, there are new, innovative adaptations taking place in London. London musicals are also inspired by Shakespeare plays too, such as the nods to Hamlet in The Lion King, and Romeo and Juliet in & Juliet

Here are all the Shakespeare plays you can see in London. Book tickets for Shakespeare plays in London on London Theatre.

Much Ado About Nothing

The Much Ado About Nothing story may be full of misunderstandings. But make no mistake here, Much Ado About Nothing is a Shakespeare play you need to see. Lucy Bailey directs a new production of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare's Globe this summer.

The comedy play Much Ado About Nothing sees characters fall madly in love with each other: the soldier Claudio vies for Hero's affection, while Benedick meets his match in Beatrice. There's soldiers, there's romance, there's battles, there's heartaches, and there's joy. Basically, there's everything you could want from a thrilling TV drama, but instead it's in a Shakespeare play. 

Shakespeare's Globe, from 22 April to 23 October.

Book Much Ado About Nothing tickets on London Theatre.

Julius Caesar

Do we really want to think about British politics in 2022? Maybe not. But in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, the parallels between Roman emperors and 21st-century British government officials makes it difficult to avoid present-day politics. In Julius Caesar, Cassius and Brutus decide that the titular ruler is not fit for his own position, so they need to get rid of him. Stories of ancient Rome have never been quite so pertinent to modern day living, and maybe they'll be even more similarities when Julius Caesar opens at Shakespeare's Globe this summer.

Shakespeare's Globe, from 3 May to 10 September. 

Book Julius Caesar tickets on London Theatre.

Henry VIII

We all know stories about Henry VIII, the Tudor monarch who famously married six times. Henry VIII's sextet of wives take to the mic in Six, and the female perspective continues with a new Henry VIII adaptation at Shakespeare's Globe. John Fletcher and Hannah Khalli co-write this new story to share Tudor tales in a female light. Will these women change the future? Definitely. Could they take over Shakespeare's Globe this summer? You bet. See women rule the Globe stage and book Henry VIII tickets.

Shakespeare's Globe, from 19 May to 21 October. 

Book Henry VIII tickets on London Theatre.

King Lear

In 1997, Kathryn Hunter played King Lear's main role to much acclaim. Now, Hunter, Complicité theatre company co-founder Marcello Magni, and director Helena Kaut-Howson reunite to present their King Lear adaptation for a new generation, 25 years later.

This epic family drama follows a ruler who gives away his kingdom to his three daughters. Deciding which daughter receives what proves an arduous task, and balancing power eventually descends into a chaotic nightmare. Shakespeare's Globe artistic director Michelle Terry joins in the King Lear fun too, playing Cordelia and the Fool.

Shakespeare's Globe, from 10 June to 24 July. 

Book King Lear tickets on London Theatre.

The Tempest

Imagine living on a remote island, with your own personal space, and just doing what you want to do 24/7 — bliss. Unfortunately, the euphoria of having ample room to do anything is disrupted pretty quickly in The Tempest. During The Tempest, a magician named Prospero and his daughter Miranda are sent to a desert island, which was once ruled by a witch. Obviously, they want to return home, and Prospero uses all sorts of tricks to achieve his wishes. There are plenty of storms in The Tempest, and it's being performed in a roofless theatre, Shakespeare's Globe. Just pray it doesn't rain!

Shakespeare's Globe, from 22 July to 23 October. 

Book The Tempest tickets on London Theatre.

Book tickets for Shakespeare plays in London on London Theatre.

Photo credit: Hamlet at Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (Photo by Johan Persson)

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