Walking into a theatre is to step into a land of fairytales. For centuries they’ve been places where stories come alive, discoveries are made and dreams come true. So it’s no wonder that the theatres themselves are works of art. From expressionist marvels to open-air masterpieces, here are seven of the world’s most beautiful theatres, all of them sure to inspire.
Fox Theatre, United States
The Detroit theatre conjures Gatsby vibes and speakeasy glamour. Not surprising considering the 5,048-seat theatre was built in the 1920s and is the United State’s largest surviving movie palace of that time. The theatre was fully restored in the 1980s which earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Today it hosts musicals, comedians, singers, and a variety of children’s programs.
Minack Theatre, United Kingdom
Try not to get so distracted by the views at Minack Theatre that you miss the actual show. Located in Cornwall on England’s southernmost tip, Minack was built into the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic ocean. It’s a breathtaking setting where the views of the landscape are more than worth the trip to see the landmark. Because the theatre is open to the elements the theatre season only runs May through September.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Greece
Step into history at this Greek open-air theatre. Located in the southwest part of the Acropolis, Odeon of Herodes Atticus is one of the oldest entertainment venues in the world, dating back to at least 174 AD. It was commissioned by Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife and the stone theatre structure continues to host acts, mainly musical, to this day.
Palau de la Musica Catalana, Spain
Barcelona’s Palau de La Musica Catalana is an art nouveau-styled masterpiece. Stained glass, tiled mosaics, and marble sculptures fill the venue that was built for a Catalan choral society in the early 1900s. In 1997, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. If you go, it’s musical performances you’ll be listening to including symphonies, jazz, and Catalan.
Teatro Amazonas, Brazil
It look nearly 20 years to complete the Teatro Amazonas in Brazil. The opulent structure had everything from Italian marble to the walls of British steel to the roof tiles and furniture from France shipped to the middle of the rainforest. Inside, Italian painter Domenico de Angelis decorated the Renaissance-style theatre, which is home today to the Amazonas Philharmonic and the annual Amazonas Opera Festival.
The Winter Garden Theatre, Canada
You’re meant to feel as though you’ve stepped into a garden upon entering The Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto. Flowers, trees and plantings have been handpainted on the walls and beech boughs hang from the ceiling. Originally opened in 1914, the theatre fell into disrepair and was shuttered for decades. The Ontario Heritage Trust restored the property in 1987 and has been a favorite of theatre-goers around the world ever since.
United Palace Theatre, New York
There’s no shortage of beautiful theatres in Manhattan but the one that often goes unnoticed is United Palace Theatre in Washington Heights. Walk inside and you won’t be able to stop looking at the painted ceiling or the lavish details on the walls. Architect Thomas W. Lamb built it as a movie palace in the 1930s. Today it is part church, part nonprofit cultural center, and part music venue.