london theatre 2024 sheridan smith
Image: Oliver Rosser for Feast Creative

London theatre guide 2024: This year’s must-see plays, musicals and dance shows

05 Jan 2024 | |By Zoe Gunn

From big-name stars hitting the West End stage to revivals of some of the world’s most famous plays, here are the shows everyone will be talking about this year

If your New Year’s resolution is to make more of the capital’s world-class cultural scene, then the year ahead won’t disappoint. The best London theatre in 2024 promises plays from some of the world’s most revered playwrights, directors and actors; ballets featuring the nation’s greatest dancers; and musicals new and old promising to delight and entertain. From powerful productions featuring Matt Smith and Ian McKellen, to a seriously fetch newcomer who we’re sure needs no introduction, here are the plays, dance shows and musicals everyone will be talking about this year.

A Mirror at Trafalgar Theatre

a mirror jonny lee miller

Following a sold-out run at Islington’s Almeida Theatre last summer, Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting) and Tanya Reynolds (Sex Education) will reprise their roles in Sam Holcroft’s powerful dystopian play, A Mirror. Exploring themes of censorship, free speech and creative ways of fighting back against the powers that be, this dark-comedy production features direction from Jeremy Herrin and will welcome BAFTA nominee Samuel Adewunmi in his West End debut.

When: 22 January – 20 April 2024
Price: Tickets from £20

The Hills of California at Harold Pinter Theatre

the hills of california play

Playwright Jez Butterworth (The Ferryman) and director Sam Mendes (The Lehman Trilogy) join forces once again to present this quintessentially British story set against the backdrop of Blackpool. It’s summer 1976 – the driest summer in 200 years – and amid the tourists sweltering on Blackpool’s beaches, the Webb sisters are returning to their mother’s down-at-heel guest house to care for her in the final days of her life. With a cast featuring Olivier-winner Laura Donnelly alongside stars of stage and screen, including Leanne Best, Ophelia Lovibond and Helena Wilson, this is one guaranteed to stay with you long after you’ve left the theatre.

When: 27 January – 15 June 2024
Price: Tickets from £10

An Enemy of the People at Duke of York’s Theatre

an enemy of the people matt smith

Celebrated German director, Thomas Ostermeier, makes his West End debut this year with a bold reimagining of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People. Having broken onto the world stage way back in 1997 with a realist interpretation of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, big things are promised – with expectations heightened even further by a cast fronted by national treasure, Matt Smith. A contemporary retelling of Ibsen’s perennial story of power and money, when Smith's Dr Stockmann makes a shocking discovery about the healing waters in his local baths, he embarks on a difficult journey to spread the truth to those with everything to lose by believing him.

When: 6 February – 6 April 2024
Price: Tickets from £49.50

Opening Night at Gielgud Theatre

opening ngiht sheridna smith, ivo van hove, rufus wainwright
Image: Craig Sugden

Based on John Cassavetes’ famed film, Opening Night is a new musical from the minds of theatre legend Ivo Van Hove and award-winning singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright. Featuring a cast of West End and Broadway veterans, led by the incomparable Sheridan Smith, Opening Night tells the story of a theatre company preparing to open a new show on Broadway. When the leading lady is rocked by a personal tragedy, will her circumstances drag down the entire production or inspire the cast to deliver the performance of a lifetime?

When: 6 March – 27 July 2024
Price: Tickets from £20

Long Day’s Journey Into Night at Wyndham’s Theatre

long day's journey into night brian cox

Succession’s Brian Cox is set to make his return to the West End this year as James Tyrone in Eugene O’Neill’s classic play Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Directed by Jeremy Herrin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play tells the story of a family struggling to deal with both their own shortcomings and their disappointment in the people around them, and is widely considered one of the finest American plays of the 20th century. Also starring Oscar-nominee Patricia Clarkson and Good Luck To You, Leo Grande’s Daryl McCormack, this is your chance to see some stellar talent on the same stage.

When: 19 March – 8 June 2024
Price: Tickets from £25

Bear Snores On at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

bear snores on

If you’re the proud guardian of some tiny culture vultures, this new adaptation of Karma Wilson’s beloved children’s book, Bear Snores On, will make its debut at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre this spring, promising a magical day out for the entire family. With a book by celebrated playwrights Cush Jumbo and Katy Sechiari, and music and lyrics by Harry Blake, best known for his children’s adaptation of The Tempest, join Mouse as she searches high and low for somewhere safe and snuggly to hide.

When: 23 March – 21 April 2024
Price: Tickets from £14.50

Carmen at Sadler’s Wells

carmen english national ballet

George Bizet’s classic tale of seduction, obsession and jealousy gets a contemporary update courtesy of Johan Inger’s modern choreography for the English National Ballet. With additional music by Marc Alvarez and a score performed by the ENB Philharmonic, Carmen’s sensual style is transported from a provincial town square to the menacing mind of Don José via innovative staging, which features nine moveable mirrors to frame and reflect the tragic action.

When: 27 March – 6 April 2024
Price: Tickets from £15

Player Kings at Noël Coward Theatre

player kings noel coward theatre ian mckellan

Chances to see one of the greatest living actors at work don’t come around often, so don’t sit on this opportunity to witness Ian McKellen in action as Falstaff in Robert Icke’s Player Kings. This reimagining of a Shakespeare classic brings together Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 in a story of failed leadership, a war-divided nation and a reluctant king about to feel the true weight of the crown. It promises to be one of the most in-demand theatrical events of the year.

When: 1 April – 22 June 2024
Price: Tickets from £20

Mean Girls at Savoy Theatre

mean girls the musical

You can’t sit with us. No, really – tickets for the musical adaptation of Mean Girls are going to be harder to come by than a date with Regina George. With a book by Tina Fey, creator of the original film, and music by Jeff Richmond and lyrics by Nell Benjamin, expect everything you loved about the iconic film with a busload of West End camp and high drama thrown in. Get in loser, we’re going to the theatre.

When: From 5 June 2024
Price: Tickets from £25

A Chorus Line at Sadler’s Wells

a chorus line salder's wells
Image: Marc Brenner

The singular sensation that is A Chorus Line returns to the London stage this year reprising the highly-acclaimed production that performed to sold-out audiences at Leicester’s Curve theatre in 2021. West End legends Adam Cooper and Carly Mercedes Dyer, who starred in the original Curve production, will return as Zach and Cassie: two of 17 performers hoping to make the grade for a new Broadway musical in the cut-throat entertainment industry of 1975 New York. A must-see for musical theatre aficionados.

When: 31 July – 25 August 2024
Price: Tickets from £15

Read more: Brilliant things to do in London in January 2024