Queen Visits Theatreland Thursday, 4 MarDate: 2 March 1999
The Queen and Prince Philip will spend the day in London's Theatreland this Thursday, 4 March 1999. It is the first royal visit of its kind and is an indication of the growing recognition of theatre's importance to the London and UK economy, as highlighted in last year's Wyndham report.
The itinerary for the day, organised by the Society of London Theatre, the marketing body for West End theatres, includes a star-studded luncheon at The Ivy restaurant. The exclusive guest list for the lunch, limited to just 40 attendees, includes producer Cameron Mackintosh, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Peter Hall and actors Rufus Sewell, Ewan McGregor, Maureen Lipman and Julia Mackenzie. In order to cut down on squabbling over invites, only select luminaries involved in productions currently playing in the West End were invited.
The Queen and Prince Philip will separate for much of the day, in order to visit more venues. Stops for the Queen include the fringe Almeida Theatre in Islington, north London, where she will sit in on rehearsals for Esther Vilar's drama about the Nazi architect Speer, starring Klaus Maria Brandauer. The Prince, meanwhile, will watch a mid-morning rehearsal of the Broadway transfer hit Chicago at the Adelphi Theatre. In the evening, the two will reunite to attend a performance of the Olivier Award-winning National Theatre production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! at the Lyceum Theatre.
London's Theatreland, dubbed 'The Other Square Mile', after the capital's financial district to the East, contains 51 major theatres which have a combined annual economic impact of over £1 billion. Newly released figures show 1998 attendance figures for the West End at a near record 11.8 million.