20 April 2018 ·

5 things you might not know about London's West End

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London's West End is home to a staggering 40 theatres, which attract a combined audience of millions every year.

Here are 5 fascinating facts about the district known as Theatreland.



Longest running performances

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap has been performed on the London stage every year since 1952, making it the longest running theatre production in the West End.

During its unbroken 66-year run, The Mousetrap has been performed over 27,000 times and is currently being staged at St Martin’s Theatre.

The longest running musical in the West End is Les Misérables, which has been playing to audiences for the past 28 years.

In contrast, The Intimate Revue holds the record for the shortest run in West End history, closing after just one performance in 1930.


The Garrick Theatre

The Garrick Theatre, located just off Leicester Square, was the first theatre in the world to be named after an actor.

Opened in 1889, The Garrick Theatre was named after David Garrick – a legendary actor, playwright and theatre manager who is buried in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey.


Ghost stories

Legend has it that many West End theatres are haunted by the spirits of actors, theatre managers and crew.

Until the sell-out success of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in 2016, the Palace Theatre had two seats permanently bolted open, so its ghosts in residence - the famous actor Ivor Novello and an unknown ballerina - had somewhere to sit.


Dracula and the Lyceum Theatre

Between 1878 and 1898 Bram Stoker worked as the business manager for the Lyceum Theatre, which was then owned by the renowned actor Sir Henry Irving.  

It was during this time that Stoker wrote his famous gothic novel, Dracula, which was performed on stage as a dramatic reading before being published 8 days later.


April is the easiest month to get tickets

If you’re looking for an impromptu trip to the West End, your best chance to find unreserved seats is in April.

According to research from The Stage, April is the worst performing month in terms of seat sales for the West End, making it easier to snap up a possible theatre bargain.

The Stage found that Tuesday was the worst performing day in terms of seat sales, while Friday was the best performing day of the week.


Do you know any interesting or unusual facts about the West End? Let us know on our Facebook page.