With the festive season fast approaching, an increasing number of people will be heading out to watch pantomimes, plays and musicals – but how can you appreciate and get involved in the dramatic arts year-round?

Winter and late autumn are some of the busiest times for theatre, especially here in London where there is such a variety of shows on offer, from exciting musicals in the West End to an array of Shakespearian performances at the Globe Theatre.  However, there are opportunities available year round for everyone, regarding an incredible range in the different aspects of theatre as a whole, and they are closer than you might think.

Smaller, independent local theatres and performance spaces are too often overlooked, and there are so many reasons to visit one to see what’s on. There are often different and unique performances taking place, which you may not have come across if restricting yourself by only going to bigger, more well known shows. As well as this, local theatres support the community and can create a sense of identity for an area, too, which many people regard as being very important.

It isn’t just about watching the shows, though. So many local theatres also have opportunities to get involved in performing, especially for young people. Just a few in the London area include the Omnibus Young Company, the Southwark Playhouse Young Company and the Bush Young Company.

So, why not see what’s on at your local theatre? You never know what you could discover.