Regent Street Cinema
Regent Street Cinema has a venerable history: it was the first cinema in the UK to show moving pictures. Part of the University of Westminster campus, it was used as a student lecture hall from the 1980s, re-opening as a cinema in 2015. Regent Street Cinema screens documentaries and more experimental films alongside big cinema hits. There is also a regular schedule of festivals and themed seasons. This includes the monthly Psychology at the Movies series in which University of Westminster psychologists and therapists scrutinise psychological themes and concepts of a chosen film. This is cinema with a difference.
Since opening in 1929, the Dominion Theatre has hosted music events, films, West End musicals and even the Royal Variety Performance on seven occasions. It’s also where John Logie Baird demonstrated colour television to a capacity audience in 1938. The Dominion Theatre is now best known for its West End musicals. The longest running Dominion Theatre show, We Will Rock You, ran for 12 years from 2002. After this long run the theatre underwent extensive restoration. In 2016 it will become home to the new stage production of Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds.
Just around the corner from Oxford Circus, London Palladium has featured many top West End musicals over the years. It was originally a venue for Music Hall and Variety performances, with acts such as Harry Houdini and Ivor Novello. The first London Palladium musical opened in 1968 and since then shows have included Singin’ in the Rain, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Sound of Music. More recently, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic musical Cats returned to the West End at the Palladium and School of Rock – The Musical is due to open in 2016.
If classical music is more your cup of tea, then look no further than Wigmore Hall. This beautiful building with its Arts and Craft interior is approaching its 115th birthday. Known for its exceptional acoustics, Wigmore Hall specialises in chamber and instrumental music. However there are a wide range of other types of musical performance across the year, including contemporary classical music and jazz. BBC Radio 3 broadcasts a live lunchtime concert from Wigmore Hall every Monday. For younger performance goers, there is a special Under 35s scheme with £5 tickets available on selected performances.
Taking its name from the street number of its address on Oxford Street, the 100 Club is a legendary basement music venue. Performers over the years have included BB King, The Who, The Kinks, Sex Pistols and Oasis. It also held the first ever Northern Soul All Nighter in the 80s. The rough and tumble interior stays authentic to its rock and blues roots. The 100 Club was threatened with closure in 2010. Fortunately it was saved following a campaign supported by the likes of Paul McCartney, ensuring an historic venue is still available for a new generation of performers.
By Meredith Whitely
Meredith is a food lover and inquisitive cook who also likes to write. She is Australian by birth but a long-term resident of the UK. She is the founder of Food At Heart, a site dedicated to spreading a love of food, cooking and creativity.