Stagey Book Review – Twenty Theatres To See Before You Die.

A picture of the book twenty theatres to see before you die on a bedside table with a candle lit

Author – Amber Massie-Blomfield. Published by Penned in The Margins

When I sat down to read Twenty Theatres To See Before You Die, I had no idea that by the end of it I would not only be left pondering which my favourite theatres are in the UK but also what theatre means to me and what more I wanted from the theatre I often surrounded myself by.

The book sets out to look at 20 theatres with each chapter dedicated to a different theatre. Massie-Blomfield visits each one and they range massively, from The Minnack Theatre to Battersea Arts Centre and from Summerhall to Tom Thumb Theatre. Part of the beauty of the book is that I now feel like I have travelled the length and breath of the country with Massie-Bloomfield and experienced all of these theatres with her.

The reader is provided with not only the background of each theatre but also the architecture and details the show she sees there. I adore the fact that as much reverence is given to The Theatre of Small Convenience, a tiny 60 seater theatre which started life as a toilet as the epic 900 seater Theatre Royal Bath. Some of the stories are also unexpected, there is an intriguing tale of a ghost hunt in Morecombe Winter Garden Theatre as well as a trip to a theatre that has no building. It is this huge variety throughout that keeps the book interesting and prevents it from feeling ‘samey.’

Whilst the theatres range massively in architecture, shows they put on and the ethos behind them Massie-Blomfield has a wonderful knack of weaving each chapter together. The theatres and therefore chapters flow so naturally into each other.

As I hinted at earlier the book isn’t only an examination of the theatre building itself and what lies within it but it also takes a deeper look at what theatre can mean to an individual. The message of what theatre makes possible is possibly more important in this strange period than ever. To steal a quote from the book that really resonated with me, ‘theatre, like cockroaches, would be one of the last things to survive,’ this book, like the theatre Massie-Blomfield describes is a ‘glimmer in the dark.’

You can purchase Twenty Theatres To See Before you die on Amazon for £11.99.

This booked was gifted for the purpose of my review but in no way effects the contents of the review. If you like this review you might also like my article on stagey fun you can have from home, my top 10 stagey DVD’s and a west end musicals word search.

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