Whatsonstage.com today (Tuesday 10 June 2008) officially launches Whatsonstage.com Off-West End, a new online publication specifically dedicated to promoting the broad spectrum of cutting-edge performance available in smaller venues across London.

The new site – accessible via the main Whatsonstage.com website or directly through www.whatsonstage.com/offwestend – is part of the ongoing expansion of a portfolio of “Whatsonstage.com Local” sites, which provide targeted, in-depth coverage for theatregoers in Manchester, the Midlands, Liverpool and the North East, as an adjunct to listings, venue and other information already available on the main site. New Local sites for Scotland, including an Edinburgh Festival diary and blog, Yorkshire and East Anglia are imminent. A Whatsonstage.com Broadway site, aimed at keeping interested UK audiences abreast of what’s happening in New York, is due later this year.

In the meantime, Whatsonstage.com Off-West End aims to support the challenging and experimental work of London's vibrant Off-West End and Fringe theatre scene, by providing the latest news, reviews, interviews and opinion pieces from small to medium-sized venues across the capital, as well as regular competitions and ticket offers. Cost-effective advertising packages on the Off-West End site will be geared towards the needs of theatres and production companies on more limited budgets.

Terri Paddock, editorial director of Whatsonstage.com, said: “We’ve always carried listings, user reviews and, where possible, news and official reviews of Off-West End and Fringe productions on Whatsonstage.com. However, we recognise that our coverage of these shows, particularly those with shorter runs at smaller venues, can be overshadowed by the attention afforded bigger openings at the commercial West End and major subsidised houses. We hope that, with Whatsonstage.com Off-West End, we can provide a better showcase for smaller productions and encourage audiences to broaden their theatregoing catchment area as well.”

Whatsonstage.com Off-West End is edited by Kate Jackson and Theo Bosanquet. Press materials for upcoming productions should be sent to offwestend@whatsonstage.com. Off-West End and Fringe advertisers, should contact commercial director Richard Gresham on 020 7907 7009 or email richard@whatsonstage.com.

Response from the industry to our latest Local site has already been positive. Tim Roseman and Paul Robinson, artistic directors of Theatre503 in Battersea, commented: "The launch of Whatsonstage.com Off-West End is a really exciting venture by the UK's leading theatre website, one which is welcomed by Theatre503 as an extraordinarily positive move to highlight and recognise the value that Off West End and Fringe theatre brings to London. The city is consistently hailed as the theatre capital of the world and the Fringe continues its important work to contribute to that international acclaim, attracting an array of outstanding actors, directors and designers from all over the world. It's fantastic that theatre outside of the West End is being supported in such a major way as this."

Amongst the launch material now available on Whatsonstage.com Off-West End is a feature by Michael Coveney who gets to grips with the definitions of West End, Off-West End and Fringe, a review of The Country at the Tabard Theatre, a two-for-one ticket offer for Colourings at the Old Red Lion, a competition for The Ugly One at the Royal Court and an overview of production highlights in June. Visit www.whatsonstage.com/offwestend for more information.


If you’re interested in becoming a voluntary contributor to our new Off-West End site, please email offwestend@whatsonstage.com. We’re also recruiting editors and contributors for other planned Local sites. If you think you can play a part in any of the sites listed in the article above – or would like to launch one for your area –
please email editorial@whatsonstage.com.