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London Theatre Lingo - Stalls and Dress Circles

Could someone explain what stalls and dress circles mean in the theatre lingo for London?

Posted by
658 posts

The stalls are the seats on the floor directly in front of the stage, they are all on one level, they are normally cheaper, up close and personal. You can end up with a kink in your neck if you are a short person or a bad view if the person in front is tall. Personally I like them but then I am tall and I'm mean with cash.

The dress circle is a semi-circular balcony where all the seats are on a tier set up, so good views are more or less guaranteed, you're not so close to the stage as you are in the stalls. They tend to be a little more comfortable.

If you get a seat at the back of the stalls it will be a pretty poor seat. The trick with the stalls IMHO is to try and get either row 3, row 4 or row 5 in the centre. Side seats in the stalls are poor.

Dead centre row 1 of Dress circle is always going to be a great seat.

One final thing - the dress circle is not for people who suffer from vertigo.

Posted by
264 posts

Thought I would throw in two additional watch outs based upon my own experiences with London Theatre in the Dress Circle - Especially if you don't get that perfect seat 1st row centre.

  1. In older buildings the rows can be very narrow with not a lot of leg room.

  2. Depending on where you sit portions of the stage may be cut off from view by the railings.

We personally have decided that we would prefer the stalls in the future based upon our experiences.

Posted by
178 posts

Thanks for the clarifications and excellent suggestions. I truly appreciate all of the help that I get from this site! Keep traveling!

Posted by
4864 posts

I recommend that you look at if you have a particular show you are looking at. It includes the seating chart and opinions on seats for London theatres.