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WEST END SHOWS
International theater connoisseurs are bound to be familiar with West End shows. West End theater is to London as Broadway theater is to New York City. In other words, in addition to a vibrant fashion industry, boutique shops, unique restaurants, and pubs and bars, some of the biggest and best theater productions in Europe can be found in West End. For people living in or traveling to the United Kingdom, West End theater is a world class experience.
The roots of theater in London can be traced back to 1576 when city’s first playhouse in Shoreditch called “The Theater” was opened. This was monumental, because in years prior, theater was performed in courtyards and Inn yards. It took nearly 100 years—in 1663—for the first theater to be built in the West End district. Although it burned down a decade after opening, it created a foundation for excellence in the arts, pulling in the best theater stars of the day.
Luckily, quality theater is now more accessible than it was when it first debuted in the West End. It is no longer exclusive to the aristocracy. There are more venues than ever. In fact, relatively new venues, such as The Globe, have appeared in recent years in order to meet the high demand. And, very importantly, ticket prices allow a range of people working with different budgets to enjoy the theater arts. In a single year, West End theaters are estimated to pull in over 12 million tourists, and the number is consistently on the rise.
Although the shows in West End theaters’ lineups are in constant rotation, there are a handful that seem to make regular appearances and woo audiences. For example, Les Misérables has run for over 20 years, and some plays by Shakespeare—which usually include Macbeth—are likely to be available to the public. In addition to classics, West End theater shows cater to Avant Garde and contemporary/pop productions, such as Lord of the Rings and & Juliet. Some popular theaters in West End include Apollo Theatre, Lyric Theater, Trafalgar Studios, Theatre Royal (Drury Lane), London Palladium, and Vaudeville Theatre.
If you are interested in exploring the West End and its art offerings, be sure to purchase your show tickets in advance. Not only will you be able to find the best ticket prices, you will be able to plan your trip to London in full. Venture around to shops, restaurants, pubs and clubs. See what life is like in this section of the city.