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
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.
Orange Theatre Company
Previously known as Orange Tea, the newly transformed Orange Theatre Company has been bringing English-language plays to the stage in Amsterdam. They have been inspiring Dutch and international audiences alike for near on eight years, and can be relied upon for entertaining boundary-pushing performances. Their productions have regularly featured in the Amsterdam Fringe Festival.
The Queen's English Theatre Company
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.
Internationaal Theater Amsterdam
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.
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.
The Melkweg is a well-regarded and much-loved music venue in the heart of Amsterdam, but what’s not as widely known is that it also houses the Melkweg Theatre. Working with established actors and directors with an innovative outlook, the theatre presents dynamic and fresh performances featuring new and seasoned talent. If experimental and alternative theatre is your scene, then taking in a show at the Melkweg may be a gamble that pays off. While many productions are in Dutch, there are also performances in English. Best to check their website before booking.
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.
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 from 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.
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 a range of 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.
STET: The English Theatre
Though based in The Hague, it’s also worth checking in with STET: The English Theatre as they do on occasion perform in Amsterdam. Their mission is to produce and promote English-language theatre in the Netherlands, so if that’s your ticket then perhaps a trip to The Hague is on the cards for you. Expect a selection of firm favourites such as Shakespeare, political tales and good old-fashioned family fun.
Dutch National Opera & Ballet
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.