Theatres in Vancouver are one of the best reasons to visit, offering a wide range of live entertainment experiences from ballet to heavy metal to musical theatre and beyond. This is a city with a very rich artistic and cultural tradition that stretches back hundreds of years. Here you can find venues for comedy shows, hip hop performances, folk music, arena rock concerts, classic Shakespearean plays, modern musical theatre, full-on opera, and just about every style of live entertainment you can think of.

    Vancouver is full of event centers and venues with historic architecture and legacies to match. Check out some of the best theatres in Vancouver to see a play or show.


    The Orpheum

    See a symphony house featured on TV

    The Orpheum is a historic theatre and music venue in city centre that forms part of the Vancouver Civic Theatres. Famed for its appearance in many television series, the theatre opened in 1927 as a Vaudeville house, and was the second to bear the name "Orpheum." The original "Old Orpheum" was renamed twice before being demolished in 1969. After the end of Vaudeville in the 1930s, the Orpheum became a film house. It closed in 1975 for renovations and had a new grand opening in 1977. Since then, it has been the home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

    Since 1979, it has been a designated National Historic Site of Canada. It has appeared in "Battlestar Galactica," "Highlander," and "Fringe."

    Location: 601 Smithe St, Vancouver, BC V6B 3L4, Canada

    Phone: +1 604-665-3035


    photo by MichaelThoeny (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Historic Theatre, The Cultch

    Catch an indie play in a former church

    The Cultch Historic Theatre is perched on a hill overlooking the heart of the city and is among the most diverse performance spaces in Vancouver, offering music, theatre, and dance. The theatre is housed in a formerly abandoned church, which today is considered a local and national treasure. If you're looking to enjoy community theatre in a gorgeous, welcoming space with wonderful vibes, the Cultch is a great place to catch a show. Here you can see everything from children's plays like Alice in Wonderland to more adult performances from the hottest local, national, and international indie playwrights.

    You can buy tickets to individual shows or purchase packages for several performances. It's just 10 minutes south of city centre.

    Location: 1895 Venables St, Vancouver, BC V5L 2H6, Canada

    Phone: +1 604-251-1363


    photo by Brenda Lee (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Queen Elizabeth Theatre

    Catch an opera or ballet on a massive stage

    The Queen Elizabeth Theatre is a performing arts venue that along with 2 other theatres forms the Vancouver Civic Theatres, and offers opera, ballet, and other live performances. The theatre was the former home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, but now is the home of the Vancouver Opera and Ballet BC troupes. It also hosts a wide range of musical events all year long and is known for its dual venues: the main auditorium that seats 2,765 people and a smaller Playhouse Theatre that can seat up to 668.

    It's also famed for its gigantic stage that stands 70 feet wide and 40 feet deep. It's right in the heart of city centre.

    Location: 630 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5N6, Canada

    Phone: +1 604-665-3050


    photo by MichaelThoeny (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Chan Centre for the Performing Arts

    Discover a diverse range of arts and entertainment

    Chan Centre for the Performing Arts is on the campus of the University of British Columbia and offers no fewer than four musical performance venues for a variety of shows. The venues include the Chan Shun Concert Hall seating 1,200; the Telus Studio Theatre with flexible seating; the Royal Bank Cinema with 160 seats, and the Great Performers Lounge for conservatory-style events. In addition to a wide range of entertainment events, the centre hosts classes and performances for and by the music, film, and theatre departments of the university, some of which are open to the public.

    This theatre boasts a diverse performing arts season every year that brings audiences from all over. It's 20 minutes south of city centre.

    Location: 6265 Crescent Rd, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, Canada

    Phone: +1 604-822-9197


    photo by Mike W. (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage

    See a Broadway musical in a former film house

    Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage is a historic landmark theatre and former cinema in the heart of city centre that hosts the Arts Club Theatre Company, offering live theatrical shows. You can catch performances here in a variety of styles, from classics to Broadway musicals and new, large-scale productions. Just a few of the famed shows this company has produced over the years include Miss Saigon, Beauty and the Beast, White Christmas, Funny Girl, and My Fair Lady, among others.

    The theatre has been operating as a live performance venue since 1998 and has become a staple of the local scene. It seats 650 people and the building itself is a historic landmark that was built in 1930.

    Location: 2750 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3J3, Canada

    Phone: +1 604-687-1644


    photo by South Granville (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Rio Theatre

    See a show at a true multidisciplinary art house

    The Rio Theatre is an independent art-house and multidisciplinary event venue that has been in operation since 1938, offering films, live music, and other performance art shows. It seats 420 people and includes a balcony section. The projection room is capable of showing vintage 35-millimeter prints as well as 3D digital projections. The lobby and concession were twice awarded best for single-screen theatres. It boasts a large stage and a green room for visiting performers.

    The theatre has showcased major Hollywood releases, independent films, cult films at midnight screenings, and live performances of comedy shows, burlesque shows, and even religious events. It's just a 12 minute drive from the heart of city centre Vancouver.

    Location: 1660 E Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5N 1W1, Canada

    Phone: +1 604-879-3456


    photo by Nrehnby (CC BY 3.0) modified


    Vogue Theatre

    Catch a comedy or film festival

    The Vogue Theatre is a historic cinema and performance venue situated along the city's Theatre Row, offering comedy, live music, dance, plays, and film events. Over the years, it has played host to the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, the Vancouver ComedyFest, and Vancouver International Film Festival. A few of the major comedy acts that have come through include Tig Notaro, Deon Cole, and Jimmy Yang, among others.

    The building is a National Historic Site of Canada, known for its Art Deco Moderne architecture. It is considered a heritage "A" building and features symmetrical facades, textured panels, and wrought-iron screens. It's famed for its exterior neon sign topped by the Roman Goddess Diana. It's in the heart of city centre.

    Location: 918 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1L2, Canada

    Phone: +1 604-688-1975


    photo by Xicotencatl (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Vancouver Playhouse

    Relax with a show at a cosy, intimate venue

    The Vancouver Playhouse is one of four facilities that make up the Vancouver Civic Theatres Department and offers showcases by many local arts organisations. This 668-seat theatre is a wonderful place to come to see smaller shows by local groups such as the Vancouver Recital Society, the Friends of Chamber Music, and the DanceHouse performance group. Here you'll have the opportunity to catch wonderful shows by highly talented performers on a smaller, more intimate scale than you'll get at some of the other local venues, but still in a welcoming, upscale space.

    The Vancouver Playhouse offers a cosy atmosphere and hosts regular dance, theatre, and film showcases. It's located right in the heart of city centre Vancouver.

    Location: 600 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2P1, Canada

    Phone: +1 604-665-3050


    Firehall Arts Centre

    See an eclectic experimental theatre performance

    Firehall Arts Centre is a performing arts venue in Vancouver's city centre eastside bordering the Gastown area, offering performance art, dance, and new independent plays. The building is a former fire station built in 1906 and is the foremost venue in Vancouver for experimental theatre. It boasts a 150-seat capacity and houses more than 200 performances every year in eclectic, dance, and interdisciplinary arts. It also hosts an annual Dancing on the Edge dance festival that spans 2 weeks.

    If you enjoy intimate performances by young, up-and-coming playwrights and experimental directors, Firehall Arts Centre is right in your wheelhouse. It's the home of 3 distinct theatre companies: Axis Mime, Touchstone Theatre, and its own Firehall Theatre Company.

    Location: 280 E Cordova St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1L3, Canada

    Phone: +1 604-689-0926


    photo by Richard Eriksson (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Improv Centre

    Have a belly laugh at improv theatre sports

    The Improv Centre in city centre is among the leading venues for improvisational comedy shows and theatre sports, offering raucous and madcap professional improv comedy since 1981. The Centre hosts the Vancouver Improv Centre Society and promotes, maintains, and showcases improvisational presentations to locals and visitors alike. The theatre seats up to 186 people and draws over 60,000 visitors every year to enjoy its productions. If you have seen the show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?", you've seen the kinds of theatre sports on display here.

    In addition, the theatre houses a bar and lounge as well as a boardwalk patio that overlooks Granville Island and Marina. Snacks and drinks can be brought into the theatre to enjoy during the show.

    Location: 1502 Duranleau St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3S4, Canada

    Phone: +1 604-738-7013


    photo by Ruth Hartnup (CC BY 2.0) modified

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