Tourists arrive into London and often head to Buckingham Palace, the West End, Hyde Park and a variety of museums. You can see why, as London is a vibrant and interesting city to visit. Recently, I was in Salford Quays and I heard a variety of American accents, as groups of tourists were headed for a tour of the BBC and then to a performance of Hairspray at the Lowry.

It dawned on me five - 5* reviews later - that we have got West End magic here in the North West on a weekly basis. The aforementioned Hairspray opened its tour here recently, Priscilla was showing at the same time, as was The Lion King. Wicked is on the way, One Man Two Guvnors opened its latest tour in Blackpool and The Ladykillers and Soul Sister are both coming soon.

It's not just these big hitters though, packing people in. To Kill a Mockingbird is currently a huge hit at the Royal Exchange with people queuing up for the popular banquette seats and many matinees are sold out, Mother Courage and Her Children has got people raving about Brecht by the Library Theatre and in Bolton, audiences are discovering and applauding the tale of a little known footballer - name of Tull.

Five different Whatsonstage Northwest reviewers awarded 5* reviews to five different productions. So, at the moment - I'm arguing - who needs the West End? With Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Sheila Hancock, The Book of Mormon all drawing crowds, I can see the appeal. I'm going myself a few times within the nest few months.

But right now, let's get back to celebrating theatre in the regions. Because, some of the finest productions are gracing local stages, right on your doorstep. So, if you haven't been for a while - nip to your local theatre as you will be surprised at the quality.

Bravo!