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Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Queen Elizabeth Theatre

The Queen Elizabeth Theatre is a performance venue in downtown Vancouver that hosts plays, concerts and other performing arts productions.


The Queen E. Theatre

Located at 630 Hamilton Street in downtown Vancouver, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre was built in 1959 and named after the current monarch of both Canada and the UK. It was created as part of an international design competition and it became a model for many theatre houses across North America.

Since its start, the venue has hosted numerous symphony and opera performances. Today it is the home to Ballet British Columbia, Vancouver Ballet, Broadway Across Canada’s Vancouver touring productions, and many other larger shows.


Vancouver Civic Theatres

As well as the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, there are three other venues included in the Vancouver Civic Theatres group of locations. The Annex is a cabaret-style theatre, the Orpheum is an elegant 90-year-old venue, and the Vancouver Playhouse is a cozy smaller theatre. The City of Vancouver owns and manages all of these venues.


Interior of Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Inside the Queen E. Theatre


Queen Elizabeth Theatre’s Interior

Inside the Queen Elizabeth people are often impressed with the majestically high ceiling, the comfy looking chairs, and the large balconies and stage. The place isn’t as fancy as the Orpheum, but it’s still pretty nice.

In the theatre there are four types of sections you can sit in. These include the orchestra which is the closest you can get to the stage. The mezzanine is still on the main floor but a little farther from the front. Third, there is the dress circle which is the overhang of the balcony that can also be quite close to the stage. And fourth, the balcony is the higher level that is fairly far from the stage, but still with reasonably good views.

As the theatre is pretty large, with over 2900 seats in it, sitting at the back of the balcony can make it challenging to see in detail what’s happening on stage. As they say though, there aren’t any really bad seats as there are no posts or other obstructions. Compared to some other large theatre venues around the world, balcony seats at the Queen E. are pretty good.


Exterior of Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Outside the Queen E. Plaza


Queen Elizabeth Plaza

The plaza outside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre is sometime used for community events

Over the years the outdoor area has been home to the Downtown Farmers Market, Harvest Haus Octoberfest event and the Vancouver Christmas Market. None of those events happen in the plaza any more, but other events sometimes still do. Sunset Cinema, for example, is a series of free outdoor movies that happens in the summer.


Theatre Advice

Below are some tips and things that are helpful to know before attending a performance at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

TIP #1: It is required that everyone, including children and babies, have their own ticket and seat to an event.

TIP #2: Accessible seating is available throughout the orchestra and mezzanine. There are wheelchair-accessible washrooms on these levels as well. There are also specific parking spots that can be reserved ahead of time.

TIP #3: If you love musical theatre, consider signing up for Broadway Across Canada. With this subscription you are guaranteed seats to all of the amazing shows that tour across the country and stop in Vancouver. The 2020-2021 season was going to include Hamilton, Anastasia, Chicago and Jesus Christ Superstar (until COVID-19 cancelled the tours).

TIP #4: If you like live theatre, local theatre groups you might like include those listed below. They don’t perform at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. They do though put on great shows at other nice venues.


Other Information

For more information about this venue and what’s coming to it, see the Queen Elizabeth Theatre website.

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