Stratford Royal Theatre: cheap but cheerful



Rating: 9/10

Address: Gerry Raffles Square,
London, E15 1BN

Tube: Stratford (Jubilee, Central and Overground)

Hours: Most performances start at 7:30pm
Matinee performances on select shows

Price: Vary per performance, but £10+

Official Website

By Corinne Chang

£40 can get you a seat in the very back of the Victoria Apollo Theatre, or the money could be changed into two good seats in the Stratford Royal Theatre. Most London theatres lie in the centre of the city; this one, however, sits in the East End.

Ticket prices for West End plays keep going up, and have become a huge expense for many - especially students. As a result, lower ticket prices are the most attractive point for the Stratford Royal Theatre.

“Here you pay less than half than you would at a West End theatre,” says Vivien McFadden, who is one of the many who likes plays but wouldn’t spend West End prices.

People like to think the prices here are reasonable, with tickets sometimes costing as little as a third of West End prices.

Variety in performance

Apart from the cost, the Stratford Royal Theatre has very different shows from the West End. It mainly pushes ground-breaking productions.

“I prefer this to West End theatres. The Stratford Royal usually has more up-and-coming, smaller productions,” says theatre-goer Becky Sanchez, a regular attendee. Because of this, there are always different shows to choose from.

The play currently running in the Stratford Royal is Glasgow Girls, which was referred to by The Sunday Express as “the most politically engaged and enraged British musical since Blood Brothers”. To read a review of the play, click here.

Although staff of the theatre admitted that they were non-mainstream, the audience try to justify its importance. They said different people have different opinions of mainstream.

However, the theatre’s method of choosing plays is certainly non-mainstream.

“Every year we have a conference with neighbours to get to know what kind of story they like most,” said an employee of the theatre. Next year’s play choice will be based on vox pops.

They do this because the Stratford Royal is a community-based theatre. Before each show, a manager on the premises will loudly proclaim: “Ladies and gentlemen, you can now take your seats”.

For the neighbourhood, the Stratford Royal is important because of its location near the Westfield shopping centre, and its relationship with the surrounding social and cultural environment.

“It’s smaller, and intimate,” says Emma Bastel, an 18 year-old student living nearby. She says that the atmosphere for the theatre is always the same since she first came.

Indeed, it appears that it has been the same since its establishment in 1884.

Due to lack of advertising, the Stratford Royal is short of pulling power. If you’re interested in visiting, you’ve got to look for what is on; this off-West End theatre doesn’t openly advertise its productions in the main papers. To see more of the theatre, click here.