Treading the boards

West End, London

Treading the boards

All the world’s a stage, but London more so than most cities, as you’ll learn on this tour of historic and hip theatres and air-kissing actors’ hangouts with in-the-know board-treader Michelle Butterly.

London’s theatrical legacy stems from its rich history of legendary British playwrights (Shakespeare ring any bells?) and esteemed theatres. Actor of stage and screen Michelle will guide you through the city’s hotbed of curtains-up culture, on the trail of Theatreland stalwarts and indie playhouses, working rehearsal spaces and actors’ hangouts that have seen their fair share of drama…

To Book

call smith24 1 800 464 2040

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From £305 for 2 people

Michelle Butterly

Your insider

Michelle Butterly

Plays the part

Michelle honed her craft at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She’s since graced cast lists in London’s most prestigious institutions – the National Theatre, Royal Court Theatre, venues throughout the West End – and worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company. She’s had screen time on Casualty, Benidorm and Soldier Soldier, lent her voice to audio books and BBC radio plays, and wrote a play with Maxine Peake; plus, she once infiltrated the mens-only Garrick Club. Get a sneak peek backstage with her constellation of starry connections and intimate industry knowledge.

Backstage shenanigans, fourth-wall–breaking tales and a well-rehearsed tour of London’s greatest theatres.

3 hours
Start Time
Tours run between the hours of 10:00 and 15:00
Call our travel specialists 24/7 on 1 800 464 2040 or contact us to find availability
Where you'll go
This behind-the-scenes tour upstages the rest with an inside look at Theatreland and beyond, encompassing ‘hall of grace’ the National Theatre, the petite Duchess Theatre and the historic Theatre Royal on Drury Lane (where Nell Gwyn caught King Charles’ eye). Pay tribute at Covent Garden’s ‘actors’ church’, swing by the Garrick Club and Sam Mendes’ old stomping ground the Donmar Warehouse, then see thesps-in-training at the Actors Centre. Before taking a bow, Michelle will take you up Shaftesbury Avenue for refreshments at free-spirited tearoom, Maison Bertaux.
What you'll learn
You’ll get the lowdown on the unpredictable life of a jobbing actor, from casting calls to opening nights: both the successes (working with director Rufus Norris, meeting poet Carol Ann Duffy, winning star roles) and the struggles (stints as an usherette, the gruelling rehearsal cycle, the profession’s fickle nature). And, you’ll hear stories about a cast as engaging as any in a play: Richard Harris’s debauched Savoy stay, the gentlemanly ways of theatre manager Christopher Isherman, Hampstead Theatre founder James Roose-Evans sneaking Butterly into the Garrick’s sanctum… And, over tea, the actor-cum-maître d' at Maison Bertaux will regale you with decades of actors’ theatrics.
Experience location
You will be meeting at a beloved actors’ hangout by the Southbank; we’ll send you the details in your confirmation.