By Caitlin Hornik
Your London trip is all planned, hotels reserved, and tours booked! You have a few free nights in your itinerary to fill and are considering a handful of options. Why not see a show on London’s West End?! From musicals to farces to Shakespeare and everything in between, there is a show for everyone to enjoy. Read on for helpful information when considering a visit to the West End.
If you’re thinking about seeing a show on the West End, you may want to learn more about the types of shows available to you!
Musicals are a great starting point. There are family-friendly musicals, which appeal to a wide variety of travelers. Musicals can also be comedies or dramas, giving you a handful of appealing options! Some are based on books and films, and some are completely original.
Classic plays, or shows without music, are another option for those interested in a different style of show. These can also be comedies or dramas. Some offer slapstick-style comedy, others are true tear-jerkers, and there is so much in between! A similar style that’s especially popular around the holidays is the Panto. A tradition dating back to the 1700s, Pantos are generally comedies and feature songs, dances, jokes, and plenty of audience participation!
The West End is home to around 40 theaters that host all of the different genres. Some, like the Piccadilly Theater and Palace Theater, are known for hosting musicals. The Harold Pinter Theatre and Duke of York’s Theatre are generally home to classic plays. Of course, the Globe Theater produces primarily Shakespearean productions, with some other events added in throughout the year.
The theaters themselves contribute greatly to the city of London. Featuring spectacular architecture and rich history, the structures make London shine a little bit brighter.
Common sense tells you that the theater is a shared space, right?! Everyone in attendance is looking to watch the performance without distraction. As such, it’s important to turn off your cellphone once you have taken your seat! It is incredibly disruptive to performers and other audience members to listen to the incessant beeping or vibrating of a cellphone during a performance.
It is also important to note that the use of photography and videography is illegal during a live stage performance. In some theaters, you won’t be permitted to take selfies with your travel companion, of the stage, or of your program. However, you’re more than welcome to snap as many photos as you’d like outside the theater!
The magic of live theater is perhaps unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. When the lights dim and the overture starts to play or the first line is spoken, there is a rush of adrenaline and excitement. For the next 2-3 hours, you’ll be taken on a journey that may make you laugh, cry, smile, and more! There are dozens of people, both onstage and off, who have put in an incredible amount of work to bring you the show you’re going to watch. From the actors, to the designers, to the creative teams, to the crew members, to the theater staff and beyond, there is so much that happens behind-the-scenes that the audience doesn’t get to see! Theater folks are some of the hardest working people in the world.
There is truly nothing else in the world like a live theater performance. Consider how lucky you are to be seeing a show in one of the greatest cities in the world featuring some of the best talent in the world!