Net Gains: London theatre

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The Independent Culture
The theatrical world has taken its time in tapping into its on- line potential but now that it has, it's done so with a vengeance. More and more theatres are developing their own websites and it's becoming easier all the time to find your way around theatreland without ever leaving home.

IN THE LIMELIGHT

www.nt-online.org

For sheer professionalism you cannot fault the Royal National Theatre and, true to form, their website is an excellent example of what heights can be reached on the Internet. It's superbly designed with all the feel of a high-class glossy brochure, and as well as details of current and forthcoming productions, there's a wealth of information about past productions in the site's archive section. This makes it an excellent resource for research into contemporary theatre as well as a useful way of keeping in touch with the theatre's plans. It also has detailed information about the National's many educational projects and a useful series of links to other theatre-related sites. This should definitely be the first stop for anybody wanting to find out more about the British stage.

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ACTING UP

www.almeida.co.uk

If you want an entirely different perspective of on-line theatre, take a look at the north-London based Almeida theatre site. The Almeida has won many plaudits in recent years having pulled in major stars such as Juliet Binoche, Kevin Spacey and Ralph Fiennes to its productions. Its website is an excellent example of how to promote a theatre without going over the top. There's a superb run-down of the theatre's history as well as past and present productions. The site itself may not seem impressive at first glance but it's a great example of how smaller outfits can utilise the Internet and compete with larger organisations. As with the National Theatre's site, there's plenty of information about past and future events as well as details of various educational projects.

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THE BEST OF THE REST www.rsc.org.uk/ HHH

The Royal Shakespeare Company's official website. Excellent for general information and box-office.

www.londontheatre.co.uk/ indexframe.html HHHH

An excellent, privately run site, allowing you to look up any West End show, as well as seating plans for all West End theatres.

www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk HHH

The official London Theatre site offers a range of services, including a seating-plan faxback and details of what's currently showing in the West End.

www.rdg.ac.uk/AcaDepts/ln/Globe/Globe.html HHHH

An excellent general overview of Shakespeare's Globe theatre, with a history of its reconstruction.

www.hackneyempire.co.uk/ index2.html HHH

A beautifully designed site, taking you through the history of one of the country's oldest and best loved theatres.

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