Since that time, a flood of West End shows have picked up the idea, replacing Monday evening performances with Sunday matinees (usually at 3pm). One of the trailblazers was the Theatre Royal Haymarket's production of Treasure Island last Christmas, which made the change in order to accommodate more family audiences (See Photos, 18 Nov 2009).
Sunday has long been one of the busiest days on Broadway, but it's taken the West End some time to catch up. This year however, shows including The Lion King, Stomp and Hairspray, which had its first Sunday performance last week (8 November), have all introduced performances on a day that has traditionally been a rest day in Theatreland.
In line with the change, the tkts ticket booth in Leicester Square, which is run by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), has announced that it will now open on Sundays for both advance and 'on-the-day' tickets.
Richard Pulford, Chief Executive of SOLT, said: “People already flock to London’s shops and restaurants on a Sunday. Now, more and more of them are enjoying a trip to the theatre too - and many of them make straight to tkts for their tickets.”
Other current West End shows with Sunday matinees include: Inherit The Wind (Old Vic), The Shawshank Redemption (Wyndham's), Prick Up Your Ears (Comedy), Arturo Brachetti – Change (Garrick), Morecombe (Duchess), Marilyn: Forever Blond (Leicester Square Theatre) and Jump (Peacock); and from the end of November, Handel’s Messiah (Coliseum) and Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake (Sadler’s Wells). On 17 January 2010, West End long-runner Jersey Boys will also have its first Sunday performance.
Christmas family shows The Gruffalo, A Christmas Carol and The Snowman will have Sunday performances over the coming months, while key Off-West End venues such as The King’s Head, Menier Chocolate Factory and Theatre503 have long been champions of the Sunday matinee.