18 April 2024

10 Facts About London’s Theatreland

Exciting, entertaining and starring some of the world’s best performers, West End theatre shows attract audiences from across the globe. But what do you need to know about London’s Theatreland? Here are 10 facts that are sure to pique your interest.

1. There’s something for everyone 

The West End is highly inclusive, offering a wide range of shows for different audiences. From dramatic and suspenseful West End theatre plays such as 2:22 A Ghost Story to family-friendly musicals such as Shrek The Musical, there is something to suit every taste. 

2. TV Shows Come to the Big Stage 

Did you know that much-loved TV shows come to the big stage? Tickets for Only Fools and Horses The Hit Musical, for example, are now on sale for Christmas 2024 - so stick a pony in your pocket and join in the fun.

3. The West End is Flooded with Celebs 

Hit shows attract top celebs. From Casualty actor George Rainsford in 2:22 A Ghost Story to Strictly’s Joanne Clifton in Shrek The Musical, you can expect to see familiar faces. Look out for celebs in the audience too, coming to support their fellow performers.

4. Theatreland is a Top Day Out 

From dazzling lights to fabulous eateries, theatreland makes for a top day out. Many people find their location then book a pre-theatre meal before the show starts.

5. Close to Iconic Attractions 

London’s Theatreland is close to many top attractions. From Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament to Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square, you can tour London’s hot spots before catching your chosen show.

6. West End Theatres are Historic

The West End is home to historic buildings, with the oldest theatre being the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. This dates back to 1663 and has been a royal favourite ever since. It’s the first place people heard both the National Anthem and Rule Britannia. It was even frequented by the Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick. 

7. West End set to reach £10 Billion Turnover

London’s West End is forecast to achieve £10 billion turnover by 2025. Attendance was up 7.1% to 16.4 million, from 15.3 million in 2019 showing a post-Covid boost.

8. Actors Consider the Word ‘Macbeth’ to be Cursed

The mention by name of William Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, is believed to bring bad luck to those in the West End. Performers will refer to it only as The Scottish Play to avoid any kind of curse. If the word ‘Macbeth’ is uttered, the actor must leave the theatre, spin around three times, spit, curse and then knock to be allowed back in. 

9. Menier Chocolate Factory Has an Interesting Past

If you thought the Menier Chocolate Factory, currently home to Paul Grellong’s Power of Sail, had a strange name, you’d be right. It was originally a chocolate factory producing Menier chocolate bars which were sold across the world. It was only converted into a theatre back in 2004.

10. The Criterion Theatre has an Interesting Past 

The Criterion Theatre, currently showing Two Strangers (Carry A Cake Across New York) also has an interesting past. It was built on the site of a 17th century posting inn called The White Bear. A competition was held for the design of a new concert hall. Thomas Verity won out of 15 entries, eventually changing the concert hall into a theatre.

There’s something wonderfully enchanting about West End shows. What’s on changes, so be sure to check the schedule and book your favourite production.