West End Theatre History

London theatre is steeped in history, from Shakespeare’s London theatres in the Elizabeth era, to Jacobean, Regency, the roaring Twenties, post War and beyond. This guide explores the history of the theatres themselves, and the practitioners who created London’s theatre and the shows they staged.

Top Ten West End Shows

Top 10 longest-running West End Shows

A list of the top 10 longest-running shows in the West End, including the Top 10 longest-running shows currently playing in the West End and the Top 20 longest-running London Theatre shows ever.

London's Haunted Theatres

London’s most Haunted Theatres

Discover London’s most haunted theatres as we go on a ghost hunt around the West End’s spookiest venues.

London Backstage Tours

London’s top Backstage Tours

Going behind the curtain can be an eye-opening experience. The sheer scale of West End theatres such as Drury Lane, the National or the Royal Opera House is hugely impressive and a backstage tour is a great opportunity to see the hidden world of costume departments, scene-building and technical magic.

London Walking Tours

London’s top Walking Tours

London is a compact city that can only really be discovered by walking its streets. Experience the incredible history of London by taking a guided walking tour of the city, including Theatreland Walking Tours.

London's Blue Plaques

Blue Plaques: Theatre People in London

London’s Blue Plaques are an institution and none more so than for theatre people. Here we take a celebratory tour of theatre blue plaques in London including Oscar Wilde, Noel Coward, David Garrick, Edith Evans and many more.

Free Plays and Drama eBooks on Amazon Kindle

There are literally hundreds of free books available to download in Amazon’s Kindle book store, including a wealth of classic drama and plays.

The Day I Met… Noël Coward

Journalist and author Clive Hirschhorn remembers a meeting with the ‘Master’ Noel Coward in the 1960’s, an immodest encounter in which the man offered an opinion on just about everything.

Women Playwrights in the West End

Maggie B Gale’s excellent book West End Women: Women and the London stage 1918 – 1962 reveals the vital place of women playwrights within West End theatre history.

Applause Magazine – October 1996

Applause Magazine – October 1996: Disney’s Beauty And The Beast, Heathcliff, Cliff Richard, Ned Sherrin, Gene Wilder, Globe Theatre, Alan Ayckbourn, Kurt Weill, Lotte Lenya, Ken Livingstone

Applause Magazine – March 1997

Applause Magazine – March 1997: Maria Friedman, Lady In The Dark, Christopher Biggins, Ned Sherrin, Bill Kenwright, Richard Nelson, Constance Cummings, Neil Simon, Ruaidhri Conroy, The Cripple Of Inishmaan, Gerald Kaufman

Applause Magazine – May 1997

Applause Magazine – May 1997: Disney’s Beauty And The Beast, Julie-Alanah Brighten, John Barrowman, Simon McBurney, Theatre De Complicite, Christopher Biggins, Terrence Mcnally, Master Class, Beach Blanket Babylon, Ibsen, Peggy Ashcroft, John Napier and Roy Hattersley

Applause Magazine – August 1997

Applause Magazine – August 1997: Dominic West, Ned Sherrin, Thelma Holt, Clare Rayner, Kathleen Turner, Jubilee, Julie Wilson, Alan Bates, Martin McDonagh

Applause Magazine – September 1997

Applause Magazine – September 1997: Zoe Wanamaker, Simon Russell Beale, Noel Coward, Andre Lewis of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Adam Long

Applause Magazine – July 1996

Applause Magazine – July 1996: Margarita Pracatan, Ned Sherrin, Kevin Whately, English National Ballet, Alice In Wonderland, Larry Adler, Christopher Lloyd, Lyceum Theatre, Googie Withers, Hannah Gordon

The West End stage in September 1994

A snapshot of what was playing in the West End in September 1994, including Sunset Boulevard, Crazy for You, Copacabana, Design for Living starring Clive Owen, Imogen Stubbs in Saint Joan and Ruthie Henshall in She Loves Me

Binkie Beaumont

Hugh Beaumont, famously known as Binkie Beaumont, was one of the most powerful West End theatre managers in his, or any other, generation.

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