Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Amphitheater in Vancouver, British Columbia

Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Amphitheater in Vancouver, British Columbia

Queen Elizabeth Theatre Photo © Steve Chou

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Queen Elizabeth Theatre

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The Queen Elizabeth Theatre is one of the largest civic theaters in Vancouver, B.C. This charming, historic theater is home to resident companies – the Vancouver Opera and Ballet British Columbia. Throughout the summer you can snag tickets for even the most amazing concerts, Broadway touring productions, and comedians performing on British Columbia’s regal stage. The theater hosts entertaining performances from a broad spectrum of music, ranging from the pop sensation Lady Gaga to rock-n-roll icons such as ZZ Top. If jazz is more your style, then grab tickets to see the Vancouver International Jazz Festival at Queen Elizabeth Theatre.


The theater’s name holds rich, historical significance as does the building. After a two-year building process, not long after the theater officially opened its doors in July 1959, Queen Elizabeth II (Wikipedia Article) of England attended a concert for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Upon her stamp of approval, she officially gave the theater her name. In 1996, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre was declared a historic structure and added to the Canadian Register of Historic Places (Wikipedia Article).

Theater Interior

In warm gold and red hues, the theater’s stylish appearance aptly reflects its rich history and royal name. This beautiful venue never fails to impress. Just being in the venue feels like a magical moment; witnessing a ballet performance take the stage, or being captured by the amazing acoustical sound coming from the orchestra pit is undoubtedly a feast for the senses. Practically every seat offers good site lines to the stage, making you feel up-close and personal and able to see the expressions of the actors or musicians. The dress circle is one of the best areas to sit since it offers a slightly better view of the stage. The theater's 2,781 seats are almost equally divided between the orchestra floor and mezzanine level. In the way Queen Elizabeth Theatre is designed, you even feel close to the stage performers while seated in the mezzanine. Regarding sound quality, the sound quality is excellent from any seat.

Modern Amenities

In many ways, the theater resembles a majestic, historical European concert house with all the amenities of a modern performing center. It is easy to access the elevator from the main lobby to the mezzanine level and the upper balcony. The venue is conveniently wheelchair accessible with designated areas for wheelchairs on the orchestra and mezzanine levels. Even the hearing and visually impaired can enjoy the performances with hearing assist units and binoculars available at the main lobby coat check.

Atrium Lobby

The foyer is beautifully decorated with a more contemporary vibe in comparison to the traditional theater interior. As you walk into the foyer, you are met with a beautiful, spacious atrium with high ceilings. On the walls you can enjoy a beautiful art exhibit curated by Emily Carr University featuring emerging Canadian artists. Arrive early to the show and enjoy a glass of wine or non-alcoholic drink and mingle with friends. The refreshment and snack kiosks are also available in the lobby during intermission. Even with a full house, the lobby feels roomy and elegant.

During the Holidays

The holiday season is the perfect time to enjoy the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. In November, the Vancouver Christmas Market frequently sets up a robust shopping area within the plaza. Without a doubt, Ballet British Columbia’s presentation of The Nutcracker is always a must-see during the holidays.

Downtown Location

This theater venue is ideally situated in the hustle and bustle of downtown Vancouver. Since their operating hours are Monday to Friday from nine to five, you can’t enjoy the theater for a late night date downtown. On the plus side, the theater is open during the most active time for public transit availability, and the public transit bus will drop you off right in front of the theater on Cambie Street. The SkyTrain stops are not far away. The Stadium-Chinatown SkyTrain station on Dunsmuir Street is only one block east of theater and the Vancouver City Centre Canada Line station on West Georgia Street is five blocks west of theater. Parking is available at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre parkade – the theater’s underground parking; arrive early as parking is limited. If you would like to walk to the theater after a day of sightseeing, the theater is within walking distance of Vancouver’s infamous Gastown (Wikipedia Article) and Chinatown.

Things to Keep in Mind

Visiting the theater is both a gratifying and enjoyable experience, yet there are a few things to keep in mind. The seating is packed very tightly, so you may feel very close to the stranger sitting to your left or right, and leg space may feel cramped depending on your height. The tight seating will make it difficult or nearly impossible for people to pass by you to sit on your row. In some of the front sections, your view can be obstructed by the heads in front of you because the rows are not tiered up enough. Another thing to remember is that children are required to have a ticket, no matter how young. During the fabulous show, it may be tempting to record with your phone or tablet, but beware of this. Because it is against theater policy, your devices may be confiscated by theater staff until the show ends. Fortunately, any inconvenience you may have at the theater is minimal.The Queen Elizabeth Theatre is one of the best venues in Vancouver for music and theater. Simply said, it is a beautiful theater in a beautiful city. While booking your travels to Vancouver, check out your schedule and grab some tickets. You won’t regret breaking away from the rigors of sightseeing throughout downtown Vancouver and sitting down for an hour to have an elegant theater experience that you’ll not soon forget!

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Author: resignn. Last updated: Jan 23, 2015

Pictures of Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Seats at Queen Elizabeth Theatre - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Seats at Queen Elizabeth Theatre - Photo by Steve Chou Photos

QUE Lobby 5 - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
QUE Lobby 5 - Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Photo by Eos Lightmedia


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