10 UK cities that aren't London to see West End shows on tour
Staff writer - January 22, 2018

10 UK cities that aren't London to see West End shows on tour

It’s not all about the Big Smoke, you know…
Brighton promenade

It’s fair to say that as well as being the capital city, London is also the UK capital of theatre and musicals. But there’s so much more to the UK’s theatre scene!

From West End plays to huge musicals on tour, the best of the UK’s stage is on offer all over the country.

Here are 10 cities other than London where you can see AMAZING West End shows (and big name stand-up comedy acts too)...

1. Manchester

Manchester has some excellent theatres, many of which host West End shows on tour. The Palace Theatre is the place to go for top musicals if you can’t get to London, with smash hit productions like ‘Matilda the Musical’ and ‘Miss Saigon’.

Comedy aficionados should stay tuned to what’s on at The Lowry, which attracts top TV talent like Simon Amstell and David Baddiel while Manchester Arena is where it’s at for bigger names like Michael McIntyre and John Bishop, as well as touring musicals.

MORE: 10 reasons you need to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London

2. Brighton

More of a big coastal town than a city, Brighton is a mecca for all things culture - with Brighton Festival considered the largest multi-arts festival in England.

Outside of festival season, head to the Theatre Royal for top touring productions such as 'Swan Lake' and the West End’s 'Grease'. Or check out Brighton Centre and Brighton Dome for some of the best stand-up acts around including Russell Brand.

3. Liverpool

It’s no secret that Liverpool is a hotbed of music culture (some famous boyband or other came from the city apparently...) but it also has an AWESOME theatre scene.

You can see huge shows like 'Warhorse' and new Take That musical 'The Band' at The Liverpool Empire, top comedy from the likes of Jimmy Carr and Ed Byrne at the Echo Arena and Liverpool Auditorium.   

4. Bristol


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Wanna see 'Wicked' but don’t fancy the trip to the Big Smoke? There’s no place like Bristol for West End shows on tour, with the Bristol Hippodrome attracting a lot of the big London musicals when they go on the road.

If you’re looking for a more intimate experience, see what’s on at the Redgrave Theatre or the Old Vic.

5. Glasgow


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Why not take the family to 'Disney on Ice' or 'Dreamworks Animation in Concert' at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro Arena? Or maybe leave the kids at home and check out some foul-mouthed comedy from Bill Bailey at the SEC Armadillo?

If it’s touring shows like 'Thriller Live' you’re after, have a look at what’s playing at the Kings Theatre.

6. Cardiff

First port of call in Cardiff should be Motorpoint Arena, where you can have a giggle with comedians like Micky Flanagan or see a big stage show like 'Heaven on Earth'. Touring musicals fans should also see what’s happening at the New Theatre and Millennium Centre.

The Donald Gordon Theatre is also a good bet, with shows including 'Beautiful: The Carole King Story' and stand up comedy from Wales’ own Rob Brydon. St David’s Hall is well worth a look too.

7. Birmingham


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Stage show fans are spoilt for choice in Birmingham, with massive productions like 'Blue Man Group' playing at ICC Birmingham. New Alexandra Theatre has a packed programme of comedians such as Milton Jones and YouTube sensation Jonathan Pie.

The Barclaycard Arena is Birmingham’s main live entertainment venue, attracting some of the biggest names in music. But it’s also the place to go for touring musicals, comedy and panto.

8. Edinburgh

You don’t need us to tell you that Edinburgh is a hot bed of theatre and comedy, with its annual festivals bringing in audiences from all over the world. But the city offers a host of stage shows all year round.

Catch a West End show on tour (including 'Wicked') at The Edinburgh Playhouse and visit the Royal Highland Center for big arena shows. If you can’t wait for the 'Edinburgh Fringe Festival' (when the city is teeming with live comedy shows), head to The Stand Up Club and for top TV comedy acts like Lee Nelson.

9. Sheffield

The best West End shows like 'Mamma Mia' often find their way to Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre, while bigger arena shows and stand up can be found at the city’s Motorpoint Arena.

Sheffield City Hall also boasts a solid calendar of comedy stars including Bill Bailey and Joe Lycett.

10. Newcastle

Musical of the moment 'The Band' stops at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal where you’ll also find big name comedy. Speaking of which, ‘Mock The Week’s’ Dara O’Briain is walking the boards at Newcastle City Hall while Jon Richardson and Katherine Ryan takes a break from ‘8 Out of 10 Cats’ to perform at Tyne Theatre and Opera House.

MORE: 2018's hottest West End shows in London

Stay tuned to LineUp for more of the best UK theatre and West End shows on tour.