West End Musicals

West End Plays

A-Z of London
West End Stage Shows

West End Plays

Tickets To West End Plays

West end plays have always been a popular draw in London nightlife.  We have cheap and discount tickets to west end plays including top productions like War Horse, The Woman In Black, and The Mousetrap.  New special offers are added on a daily basis so please check this page on a regular basis.

Tickets to west end plays are as popular now as ever with both lavish stage productions such as War Horse and timeless classic plays like the evergreen and ever popular Mousetrap still packing in the punters night after night quenching the London theatre going public's seemingly never ending thirst to see live performances on stage in the west end.

Actors from both Television and the big screen flock to the west end theatre taking huge pay cuts simply to add a west end production to their CV's and prove that they can cut the mustard in a live environment and in front of a live audience with no retakes. It wasn't always like this though and as the theatre scene in London has evolved over almost 500 years from very humble beginnings into what has become the huge £600 million pound a year industry that we know and love today.

Plays in the theatre in London first started to flourish after the English Reformation period.. The first permanent public venue that showcased plays was simply known as 'The Theatre', and was constructed in 1576 in Shoreditch, in east London by James Burbage. The Theatre was soon joined by another venue which was known as 'The Curtain, and.both these venues are known to have been used by William Shakespeare's company. In1599, they took all the timber from The Theatre and moved it south of the Thames to Southwark, where it was used to build the original Globe Theatre in what was now a new theatre district formed beyond the control of the City corporation. These theatres were all closed in 1642 during what was known as the interregnum

The first West End theatre was the Theatre Royal in Bridges Street, designed by Thomas Killigrew and built on the site of what is now the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. . The Theatre Royal opened on May 7th 1663 but was unfortunately destroyed by fire 9 years later. It was replaced shortly after by a new structure designed by Sir Christopher Wren and renamed the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

Outside the West End, the Saddlers Wells Theatre opened in Islington on June 3rd 1683. Taking its name from its founder Richard Saddler and the monastic springs that were discovered on the site. It operated as what was then known as a 'Musick House,' featured live performances of opera; as it was not licensed to stage plays. In what is now known as the West End, the Haymarket Theatre opened its doors on December 29th 1720 on a site slightly north of its current location, and the Theatre Royal Covent Garden opened to the public on December 7th 1732.

The Patent Theatre companies retained their duopoly on plays and drama productions in London well into the 19th century, as all other theatres could only perform musical entertainment, but by the early 19th century, however stage shows known as 'music hall' became very popular, and presenters found a loophole in the restrictions on non-patent theatres in the genre of melodrama.. Melodrama was then accompanied by music and as such did not break the Patent Acts, Initially, these shows were presented in large halls, usuallyt attached to public houses, but after a while purpose-built theatres began to be establish themselves in the East End in both the Shoreditch and Whitechapel areas.

What has now become the West End theatre district first became established with the opening of many small venues, including the Adelphi Theatre in the Strand on 17th November 1806. South of the Thames, the Old Vic Theatre, opened on 11th May 1818, and the expansion of the West End theatre district began to gain momentum with the what was known as Theatre's Act in 1843 which relaxed the conditions for the performance of plays. The Strand gained an additional new venue when the Vaudeville Theatre opened on 16th April 1870 and the next few decades saw the opening of lots of new theatres in the West End. The Criterion Theatre opened in Piccadilly Circus on 21th March 1874, and then in 1881, two more new venues also appeared: the Savoy Theatre in The Strand, which opened on October 10th and was built specifically to showcase the comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan and was on Panton Street but three years later later abbreviated its name to its current form Thee first theatre to be lit by cooler, cleaner electric lights, and just five days later the Comedy Theatre opened as the then Royal Comedy Theatre. The west end theatre building boom continued until about the first World War.

Many of the current west end theatres are of late Victorian or Edwardian construction and are still privately owned. The majority of the venues have great character, and the largest and best maintained theatres feature grand neo-classical, Romanesque, or Victorian façades and luxurious, detailed interior decoration and design. On the other hand, the leg room in these old venues can often be a little cramped, and audience facilities such as bars and toilets are often much smaller than in modern theatres. The protected listed status of many of the buildings and their confined urban locations, combined with some ongoing financial constraints, meens it is very difficult to make substantial improvements to the level of comfort offered to their patrons. In 2004, it was estimated an investment of £250 million would be required for the modernisation of west end theatres and the theatre owners unsuccessfully requested government tax concessions to help them meet the cost of the operation.

During the 1950s and 1960s, a lot of plays were produced in smaller theatre clubs to evade censorship that was then exercised by the government office of Lord Chamberlain, and.the theatre's act in 1968 finally abolished censorship of the stage accross the whole of the country which has led to west end shows and the selling of theatre tickets in London becoming the huge multi million pound industry that we know and love today.

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