There’s no business like show business, and there’s no theatre quite like Grand Theatre London. Established in 1901, the not-for-profit Grand Theatre, also called the Grand, was originally an opera house. At first, road shows and vaudeville frequently performed on stage. But after a few decades, the opera house underwent several renovations and grew into a professional theatre company, which was christened Theatre London. After being renamed in 1983, the Grand would go on to host such famous artists as Brent Carver, Louise Pitre, Jessica Tandy and William Hutt.
Grand Theatre London is located in the center of London downtown, just north of the intersection at Richmond and Dundas. The Theatre can be reached via most major bus routes.
The Grand frequently showcases new plays and events.
For up-to-date information and details on the Grand Theatre London, we recommend you visit their website. For information about other places of interest to explore nearby, keep scrolling to see what Destination Ontario recommends.
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More about Grand Theatre
Grand Theatre London consists of two stages: the Spriet Stage and the McManus Stage. The Spriet Stage can seat 839 people, and it is known for its proscenium arch design. This arch is one of the last remaining in all of Canada, and it features artwork by the famous muralist Federick S. Challenger. On the lower floor is the McManus Stage, which can seat an additional 144 guests. Both stages can be rented for private events and viewings.
The theatre puts on multiple shows every year from September to May, including a selection of homegrown plays through its COMPASS series. This series encourages productions about London and the surrounding area, and it’s responsible for the creation of such plays as This London Life and An Undiscovered Shakespeare. The Grand is also known for its High School Project, a theatre program that provides theatrical mentorship to high school students in the area. Each year, these students show off what they’ve learned by putting on a show on the Grand’s main stage.
Along with these productions, the Grand offers a selection of other theatrical events. Through its behind-the-scenes, backstage tours, you can learn about Ambrose Small, the theatre’s resident ghost. You’ll also get the chance to explore the costume department and possibly see a costume or prop being made for a show. And if you want to meet the Grand’s actors and artists, attend one of their Wednesday Speak Easy events.
Accessibility is important to the Grand Theatre, which is why they provide American Sign Language interpretation for select performances. Additionally, they offer assisted hearing devices to audience members who are hard of hearing. Certain plays, called OPEN CAPTION performances, also make available screens that display the play’s dialogue and sound effects as text. If you or someone in your party has low vision, the theatre can accommodate service animals. And if you go online, you can find house programs with enlarged print. Furthermore, both of the theatre’s stages are equipped with accessible seating for guests who use wheelchairs.
The Grande Theatre is an ideal destination for anyone who wants to know more about London, theatre or the arts in general. The community atmosphere is undeniable, and the productions themselves are first-rate.
The Grand is within walking distance of multiple breweries, art galleries and historical sites. It’s also partnered with several nearby restaurants through its Dinner and a Play Package. If you purchase this package, you’ll receive a ticket to a performance and a reduced price meal at Black Trumpet Restaurant, Gnosh Dining and Cocktails, Michael’s on the Thames or one of several other eateries. For a uniquely London brewing experience, visit family-owned Anderson Craft Ales or the award-winning Forked River Brewing Company. London Brewing Co-Operative is one of only two independent breweries in all of Ontario that brews organic beer.
When you’re done drinking and dining, head on over to Museum London. It has over 45,000 London artifacts and 5,000 regional and Canadian artworks. Stop by the Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Gallery, a 415 square meter gallery featuring some of the best and most unique ceramic pieces from across Canada. There are also several exhibits of woodwork, silversmithing and bronzework.
London’s cultural history is on full display downtown. Take a trip over to the Museum of Ontario Archaeology to view artwork and artifacts dating back over 11,000 years. The Museum also hosts four annual events, including a Harvest Festival and an arts and crafts sale featuring artwork by First Nation vendors. For more cultural history, step back in time at Fanshawe Pioneer Village. Located in the Fanshawe Conservation Area, this open-air museum has a collection of over 25,000 artifacts, including textiles, costumes and artwork. The village features 33 historic buildings dating back to the 1800s and it hosts annual events dedicated to educating guests about London’s history.