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Back in the 1960s, the people of Stratford defied the bulldozers to save the Theatre Royal. Today, this Victorian gem thrives as an exciting seedbed for some of the UK’s best new writing and performing talent.
Just twenty yards along the road, you’ll find the groundbreaking Stratford Circus, home to comedy, cabaret, exhibitions, dance, and music, and directly opposite is the Stratford Picturehouse, showing a range of independent and mainstream films. Over in Westfield Stratford City, you will also find a 17 screen digital Vue multiplex cinema.
The nearby Discover Children’s Story Centre, located on the high street, completes a quartet of high quality arts and entertainments facilities which demonstrate the area’s vibrant cultural life.
There are historic waterway and wildlife walks all around the area, and those who want to get the full flavour of Stratford (past, present and future), can take a one and a half hour audio-guided Walk Stratford tour.
The free Visit Stratford iPhone and Android app includes the above audio walking tour as well as an interactive map and more detailed attractions information. It can be downloaded from www.stratfordlondonapp.com
Located on the Jubilee Greenway (an elevated pedestrian walkway through the Olympic Park) is the View Tube, an extraordinary structure built out of recycled shipping containers. From the View Tube’s cafe an immense panorama opens out across the entire Olympic Park - a truly awe inspiring sight.
If you’re curious about Stratford’s history, and if you want a concrete idea of the incredible shape of things to come in 2012, a Walk Stratford tour and a visit to the View Tube is essential (and you will be able to sample some great coffee and even hire a bike!)
(Please note that the ViewTube is currently closed due to the transfomation works underway in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, but it will re-open in December 2012).
Theatre Royal opened in 1884. Saved from bulldozers in the 1970s by Theatre Manager Gerry Raffles - and given a Heritage Lottery Fund makeover in 2001 - Theatre Royal is now a Grade II* Listed Building and remains one of the most popular attractions in Stratford today.
This famous producing theatre is committed to reflecting the concerns, hopes and dreams of the people of East London. Theatre Royal Stratford East both inspires and is inspired by its vibrant, young and diverse community in a continuous loop that draws from and engages with audiences like no other UK theatre can.
This tradition goes back to the 1950s when Joan Littlewood championed working-class people, providing a stage for their stories and voices through groundbreaking new work with her Theatre Workshop company. Since then, Theatre Royal has been passionate about developing new talent. 100,000 people visit Theatre Royal Stratford East every year; and a vibrant bar and restaurant offers free entertainment, 7 days a week.
As the world looks to London in 2012, Theatre Royal Stratford East is asking you what you want to appear on its stage from January to June 2012 as part of ‘Open Stage’; www.openstage2012.com.
Stratford Circus is a contemporary performing arts venue situated in the heart of Stratford’s Cultural. Designed by the architects Levitt Bernstein and managed by Newham Sixth Form College, Stratford Circus is a rare and brilliant combination of space, talent, ambition and attitude which reflects the residents' cultures and communities whilst also filling a niche within the London-wide arts scene.
The centre produces and curates a professional programme of Circus, Comedy, Cabaret, Dance, Music and Children’s Theatre alongside events, workshops, education and training opportunities for the local community and broader audiences.
The four-screen Stratford Picturehouse opened in August 1997, providing the local community with the latest big film releases, the best of British and international art-house and independent cinema, and a great choice of children's films.
Fitted out to luxury standards, with stadium seating, 3D projection and, in the main auditorium, THX sound, the landmark building has won numerous architectural awards.
The Discover Children’s Story Centre is a place where children and their families can enjoy a great indoor Story Trail full of the most exciting and brilliant exhibits for playing and learning including; a forest, magic tower, tea party area, a camp and special cones where they can listen to and record stories. Outside there is a fabulous Story Garden where the young ones can slide down a monster's tongue, take off in a spacecraft, sail away in the pirate ship or just hide out in the garden's hut!
This 1.5 to 2 hour walk takes you on an exciting tour of Stratford, taking you through the historic town centre and introduces you to the best of what the area has to offer - both old and new.
Download the walking guide now!