The Best Theatres to Visit in Madrid
Teatro Circo Price | @Zarateman/WikiCommons
Madrid is a city known for its rich art and culture scene, including fantastic theatres. From opera houses to flamenco, Spanish plays and the latest hit musicals, we count down some of the city’s best theatres.
Madrid’s Royal Theatre is the city’s main opera house and sits in the grand surroundings of the Plaza de Isabel II, just in front of the Royal Palace. It was opened in 1850 and underwent a huge renovation in the 1990s, reopening in 1997 to host both local and touring opera productions. It also holds concerts and big names such as Rod Stewart, Sting and Rufus Wainwright have all performed in the Royal Theatre. Visitors can take tours behind the scenes and learn more about the building’s fascinating history.
This grand theatre dominates the eastern end of the Plaza de Santa Ana, in Madrid’s literary neighbourhood Barrio de Las Letras. Inside is grand, with plush red velvet seats and a stage framed in gold. An open-air theatre had stood on the spot since the Middle Ages, but today’s theatre was built at the end of the 19th century. Famous playwrights, such as Federico García Lorca, are engraved into the façade of the theatre. It shows a range of theatre, from zarzuelas (traditional Spanish musical comedy) to flamenco.
One of Madrid’s hidden gems, the unassuming entrance to the Teatro Lara, on a narrow street in Malasaña, belies its magnificent interiors. The theatre, opened in 1880, has an interior of a deep red colour, surrounded by balconies edged in gold, while its ceiling features a huge mural. Teatro Lara shows theatrical performances, as well as concerts by both local and international artists.
Teatro Lope de Vega
It’s hard to miss Teatro Lope de Vega, which dominates the Gran Vía – Madrid’s answer to Broadway – with its huge Lion King sign. The spacious theatre opened in 1946 and after many years as a cinema, was converted back into a theatre in 1997. Since then it has been home to some of the most well-known musicals, including Les Miserables, Mamma Mia and now, the hugely popular production of the Lion King (El Rey León in Spanish).
Teatro La Latina
Sitting just opposite the multicoloured La Cebada market in La Latina, one of Madrid’s oldest barrios, Teatro La Latina is a beloved neighbourhood theatre that has seen some of Spain’s most famous actors tread its boards. Founded in 1919, it has flip-flopped between theatre and cinema over the years and today is one of the best places to see comedy theatre in the city.
Teatro Circo Price
This round-shaped theatre takes its name from a Madrid circus founded by Irishman Thomas Price in 1853. It still specialises in circus, acrobats and similar performances, as well as concerts, attracting big Spanish and international names. It also holds regular circus skills workshops for those wanting to finesse their juggling or acrobatic abilities.
This cool neighbourhood theatre in Lavapiés is off the tourist track and a real local favourite. It is set in a beautiful Art Deco building, whose design, including its unusual clock tower, really stands out amid the surrounding apartment blocks. It was opened in 1925 and today shows some of the best modern theatre performances in the city.