Christmas gift ideas for theatre lovers
Struggling to decide what to get that special someone in your life who loves going to the theatre? Check out our guide
Not to panic you but there's only 10 more sleeps until Christmas. Unless you are super organised and bought all your presents on Black Friday/Cyber Monday, chances are you're starting to worry about what to get that theatre loving friend or family member.
If that's the case, allow us to help. Below are some ideas for great gifts that we'd be delighted to receive, and we LOVE theatre.
1. Theatre membership
Many different venues and companies run schemes that allow you to become a member. Benefits of said memberships range from priority booking on tickets to discounts on merchandise.
A few of our favourites are The National Theatre (from £80), The Young Vic (from £35) and of course our very own WhatsOnStage Theatre Club offering money-can't-buy extras including cast meet-and-greets and post-show Q&As. (from £30).
You can't go wrong with giving a book for a present (unless the recipient can't read), especially at Christmas when you have all that time free nursing swollen stomachs after too much turkey.
Our favourite theatre tomes this year include Paul Ibell's Theatreland: A Journey Through the Heart of London's Theatre, a fascinating journey through five centuries of theatre from Shakespeare's Bankside playhouses to today's West End. For the younger theatre lover there's the National's All About Theatre which explores how plays are staged, from first idea to final curtain.
If you're after something a little quirkier, check out these Shakespearean Graphic Novels, the Bard's greatest hits meet Manga for a totally different look at Hamlet, King Lear and co.
If your theatregoing loved one prefers to listen than read, then why not treat them to one of the many cast recordings that have been released this year?
The standout release for us this year has to be the Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Album. Whilst Lin Manuel Miranda's musical has yet to cross the pond, it's a truly brilliant score.
Other releases this year include the critically acclaimed Bend it Like Beckham Original London Cast Album with music by Howard Goodall (Love Story, The Hired Man), the fabulous Memphis Original London Cast Recording featuring the outstanding talents of Beverley Knight and Killian Donnelly, or you can relive Imelda Staunton's barnstorming performance with the Gypsy 2015 London Cast Recording.
Do people still buy DVDs? We're not sure. But if your intended recipient isn't the kind of person that 'only watches Netflix', then perhaps a theatrical DVD would be a welcome stocking filler.
A sure fire hit for anyone who enjoys a musical is The Heat is Back On - a behind the scenes look at Cameron Mackintosh's new production of Miss Saigon. We went to the launch of this film and it's a great sneak peek at the process of mounting a large West End musical.
Other potentials include National Theatre Live: 50 Years on Stage featuring footage from the 50th anniversary gala starring Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch and more; Billy Elliot The Musical Live - following the recent announcement that Billy will close next year, this could become a collectors item...; and the Shakespeare's Globe production of Twelfth Night starring Stephen Fry and Mark Rylance, which subsequently transferred to Broadway.
5. Weird and wonderful
Everyone has that person in their life who is impossible to buy for. Either they've got everything or they want nothing. So here's a few quirky bits and bobs that might just tickle their fancy:
Described as 'the wristwatch for dramatists, sonnet writers and actors', this Shakespeare Watch will ensure your theatregoing friends are never late for a show again. For the lovely lady in your life, this Tragedy and Comedy Pandora Charm is the perfect addition to their collection. Everyone knows a Wicked fan right? Help them get off to sleep with their favourite Elphie right there beside them with these Wicked pillow cases - no, we are not joking...