The West End – Attractions & History of London’s Theater District


Hey there, today I’m gonna talk to you
about London’s West End Theatre District Show you some of the sights and sounds
of the theatre area and a little bit about the history of London’s West End
Theatre… after the bump! Hey there peeps I’m Doug Fahl, your
augmented actor. If you would like to augment your acting career with tips
tactics and tech, hit that subscribe button and you’ll be ready to go. Today
I’m gonna take a look at London’s West End theatre district and show you a
little bit about the history of how it all got started.
Let’s get started. Alongside Broadway, in New York City, London’s West End theatre
district is considered the highest level of commercial theatre in the
English-speaking world. It is comprised of about 40 theaters, all featuring
popular musicals, as well as classic and contemporary plays. The West End area
is more spread out than the Broadway theatre district,
bordered on the west by Regent Street, on the east by King’s Way, up north by
Oxford Street and as far south as Westminster. Included in the general area
are several famous sites including Piccadilly Circus, where pretty much all
you get to see is a giant billboard; Leicester Square, which has lots of
commercial shops and restaurants; St. James Park, full of water and birds; Trafalgar Square; and Covent Gardens. The area also includes many prestigious
shopping areas and open apple market in Covent Gardens. The new M&M store, featuring the largest
wall of chocolate in the world and across the street is the Lego store, featuring a life-size Lego Shakespeare.
And a bit further north on Regent Street you will find Hamley’s– the world’s
largest toy store, featuring eight stories of toys– from Barbie to Harry
Potter to Star Wars. You’ll also find a variety of pubs, bars, and night clubs
featuring boisterous Londoners; alongside great food and dining; amazing art
galleries and museums; as well as a variety of street performers on nearly
every street corner. If you like this video so far, click that thumbs up. Now you’re
here for the theatre. Let’s get back to the theatre. The first two theatres in
London date back to the 16th century. They were named simply The Theater and
The Curtain. With Puritanism on the rise these theatres were soon closed and
their timber was used to build the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre across the
River Thames, outside the control of the city corporation. Now after the
restoration in 1660 only the King’s Company and the Duke’s Company were
licensed to perform theater. The first West End theatre was built for the King’s
Company and it was called the Theatre Royal. It burnt down nine years later and
was rebuilt. It is now the site of the Royal Opera House in Covent Gardens.
Through most of the 18th century only a few theatre companies called
patent theatre companies were allowed to perform serious drama plays. All other
theaters could only perform musicals. Now in the early 1800s several theaters
sprung up all over the West End district providing musical and comedic
entertainments. So I got a question for you… What is your
favorite musical of all time? Put your answer down in the comments
below. In 1843 these Patent theaters finally lost their monopoly on serious
plays, but it wasn’t until the Theaters Act of 1968 that censorship in theaters
was finally abolished, allowing the theater scene to thrive. Since most of
the West End theatres were built during the Victorian and Edwardian times, they
have lavish structures with vast columns and luxurious facades and beautiful
interior design. However, owing to their age, leg room in the seats is often
cramped and the facilities such as bathrooms and bars and concessions are
much smaller than in modern theaters. Most of the West End theatres are
privately owned and protected so they can’t be easily or cheaply retrofitted
and improved. Some of these theaters have started to collapse and crumble… ceiling
tiles falling off… most famously the Apollo Theater. In 2013, during a
production of a “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”, the entire ceiling
of the Apollo Theater collapsed, injuring 76 people. Now the longest-running
musical on the West End is “Les Miserables”, which overtook “CATS” in 2006. Now since
that time, “Phantom of the Opera”, “Lion King,” and “Blood Brothers” have all surpassed
“CATS” as well. But the longest-running play in West End history is Agatha
Christie’s “The Mousetrap” playing at the St. Martin’s Theatre since 1952. So
whether you’re just enjoying one of the popular musicals like “Wicked” or
“Hamilton” or you’re shopping and dining in the area or you’re just soaking up
the rich history of London’s theatre scene, the West End is a great place to
visit you’ll find something for you there and I highly
recommend it if you get the chance to go visit. Hey, you want to watch something
else fun? I suggest this video and YouTube suggests that one. Click on one
of them!

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