Until reccently the history of the english theatre has been build around actors rather then companies. It has been hard to find any London theatre that even had a consistent policy. There are no permanent staff in British theatres. Apply is rehearsed for a few weeks by a company of actors working together mostly for the first time and it is allowed to run as long as it draws the odious and pays it's way.
Another peculiarity of the theatres in Great Britain is an follows: there are two kinds of seats, which can be booked an advanced (bookable), and unbookable once have no numbers and the spectators occupy them on the principal: first come - first served. And ancient times plays were acted inside churches and later on the market places.
The first theatre in England "The Blackfries" build in 1576, and "The Globe" build in 1599, which is closely connected with William Shakespeare. Speaking about our times we should first of all mention "The English National theatre","The Royal Shakespeare company" and "Covent Garden".
"Covent Garden" used to be a fashionable promenade - it was, before then, a convent garden - but when it became overrun with flower-sellers, orange-vendors and vegetable-growers, the people moved to more exclusive surroundings farther west, such as "St. Jame's Square".
The first "Covent Garden theatre" was build in 1732. It was burnt down in 1808 and rebuild exactly a year after. It opened in September 1809, with Shakespeare's "Macbeth". Since the middle of the last century "Covent Garden" became exclusively devoted to opera.
Now "Covent Garden" in busier than ever, it is one of the few well-known opera houses open for 11 months of the year and it employs over 600 people both of the Opera company and the Royal Ballet.
The national theatre
It took over the hundred years to establish a national theatre company. It's first director from 1962 was Lawrence Olivier. This is the first state theatre Britain has ever had. A special building for it was opened in 1976. It has three theatres in one: "The Oliver theatre", the biggest is for the main classical repertoire; "The Lyttilton", a bit smaller is for new writing and for visiting foreigh countries and "The Cottesloe theatre", the smallest is used for experimental writing and productions. "The Royal Shakespeare company" are devided between the country and the capital and it's produces plays mainly by Shakespeare and his contempraries when it performs is "Stratford -on-Avon", and modern plays in it's two auditoria in the Cities, Barbican centre.