West End theatre

West End theatre is mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres in and near the West End of London.[1] Along with New York City's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world. Seeing a West End show is a common tourist activity in London.[1] Famous screen actors, British and international alike, frequently appear on the London stage.[2][3]

West End theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue in 2016
The London Palladium in Soho opened in 1910. While the Theatre has a resident show, it also has one-off performances such as concerts. Since 1930 it has hosted the Royal Variety Performance 43 times.

There are a total of 39 theatres in the West End, with the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, opened in May 1663, the oldest theatre in London.[4] The Savoy Theatre – built as a showcase for the popular series of comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan – was entirely lit by electricity in 1881.[5] Opening in October 2022, @sohoplace is the first new West End theatre in 50 years.[6]

The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) announced that 2018 was a record year for the capital's theatre industry with attendances topping 15.5 million for the first time since the organisation began collecting audience data in 1986. Box office revenues exceeded £765 million.[7] While attendance in 2019 was down 1.4% compared to the previous year, box office revenues reached a record £799 million.[8]

The majority of West End theatres are owned by the Ambassador Theatre Group, Delfont Mackintosh Theatres, Nimax Theatres, LW Theatres, and the Nederlander Organization.


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