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DeLaMar Theater centre
Image from Igor Roelofsen/Twycer

English-language and surtitled theatre in Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s international focus means that there is never a shortage of things to do, and where English-language theatre is concerned, there are options aplenty. We’ve rounded up some places keen theatre-goers should check out no matter what their tastes. It’s worth remembering that some productions have surtitles and that ‘Language No Problem’ listings highlight English productions or those where language isn’t an issue.

Koninklijk Theater Carré

Koninklijk Theater Carré outside of theatre at night
Image from Jan de Ridder

Amsterdam’s Royal Theatre Carré offers a wide mix of performances, everything from musicals, cabaret, theatre productions and ballet through to thrilling circus acts, comedy and international stars. Veering on the popular side of things, the Carré is sure to please most tastes with regularly English-language programming and a terrific waterside location.


Scala's bar and restaurant.

A blend of theatre and dinner, Scala always offers a memorable evening out. Grab a dish from the retro snack machine wall or tuck into antipasti platters before heading downstairs to the intimate theatre spaces. In one evening, you can watch three different 20-minute performances that encompass everything from stand-up comedy and live music to funny monologues and even magic. The programme changes every week, and there’s an international night with English performances every Sunday for the non-Dutch speakers out there. Reserve two or three performances online when you prefer and have your dinner, snacks or just a drink in between shows. Or before, or after, it’s your call!

Internationaal Theater Amsterdam

A couple in Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (ITA).
Image from Jan de Ridder

A recent merge of Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam and Toneelgroep Amsterdam into the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, led by world-renowned Belgian director Ivo Van Hove, is sure to bring a greater focus on international productions. Before they merged, both were highly regarded for their quality productions melding the traditional with innovative performances, which can only mean a strengthening as they join forces and continue to develop an international standing. Check their website for English-language shows and selected performances with surtitles.

Boom Chicago

Boom Chicago comedy club
Image from Jeroen Roest

Is comedy more your thing? Head to Boom Chicago in Amsterdam for exhilarating performances, sharp writing and quick wit catering to an English-speaking audience. The regular long-form improvisation session, Sunday Night Live, features one-off performances centred around a theme where scenes, stories and songs change weekly. The laughs don’t stop there; they also fuse funny stuff with music and politics, with international comedians taking the stage throughout the year.

De Kleine Komedie

With a broad range of shows taking in comedy, music, dance, and theatrical performances, it’s fair to say that De Kleine Komedie leans more towards cabaret. It has a long history, is one of the city’s oldest theatres and can count King Willem I and Napoleon as regulars. This much-loved spot is now frequented by more contemporary guests staging entertaining shows. Check for English performances.

Frascati & Theater van Deyssel

Theater van Deyssel, Frascati Theater exterior with people standing outside in the street
Image from Yorinde Diepstraten

It’s all about innovative, dynamic theatre for Frascati, a conveniently located theatre in the centre of Amsterdam. Each year, they present hundreds of productions on small- to large-scale in four theatre spaces. Groups such as Bambie, Mugmetdegoudentand, Dood Paard, Theater Rotterdam, Toneelgroep Oostpool and the Dutch National Theatre tread the boards from time to time, making this the spot to see emerging talent fostered by industry professionals.

In 2019, Frascati also opened Theater van Deyssel - a mini theatre in a former shop building. Enjoy a weekly programme of exceptional in-house productions, small-scale programming and performance activities organised with and by the locals - based on and/or inspired by the surrounding neighbourhood of Nieuw-West.

Theater Bellevue

online programmering Theater Bellevue
Image from Casper Koster

If it’s modern theatre, dance, and cabaret shows you want, then Theater Bellevue is for you. Established professionals and talented young performers come together to stage various productions, many developed by promising young theatre directors. While most productions are in Dutch, there are some in English, so be sure to check their website before you book.

Dutch National Opera & Ballet

The National Opera & Ballet. This cultural institution is located at the Amstel river, near Waterlooplein.
Image from Jan de Ridder

Every opera performance at the coveted Dutch National Opera & Ballet is surtitled in English (and Dutch), giving non-Dutch-speaking opera fans a chance to experience the venue’s traditional and innovatively staged operas. 


Speaker storytelling on stage at Mezrab
Image from Mezrab

Settle into Mezrab Cultural Centre's cosy floor cushions for a night of tall tales and real-life stories told by professional storytellers. This unique cultural centre, located in Pakhuis Wilhelmina in the city’s eastern docklands, has grown into one of the city's best stages for spoken word, improv and comedy. The nights are generally all English-spoken, and the vibe and crowd of the place are welcoming and very international.

Check out this round-up of the best stages for comedy and spoken word for more information.

Theatre companies

A couple in Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (ITA).
Image from Jan de Ridder
  • For over 30 years, Badhuistheater has welcomed visitors to its Amsterdam Oost location. It’s a creative hub where locals and international artists come together to enjoy music, dance, theatre, parties, and meetings. It’s also home to the Badhuis International Theater Company, a theatre group that produces shows for an English audience. Fun fact: the theatre is housed in a former public bathhouse built in 1913, which is now on Amsterdam’s heritage list and an example of Amsterdam School architecture!
  • Previously known as Orange Tea, the newly transformed Orange Theatre Company has been bringing English-language plays to the stage in Amsterdam. They have inspired Dutch and international audiences for over a decade and can be relied upon for entertaining boundary-pushing performances. Their productions have regularly featured in the Amsterdam Fringe Festival.
  • Founded by a small group of English-speaking theatre lovers in 2002, the Queen’s English Theatre Company is all about providing top-notch English-language theatre. Run by a professional team of volunteer contributors and actors, QETC presents a selection of plays and musicals. Their high standards and attention to detail have earned them a loyal audience in Amsterdam.