An idiot's guide to the Royal Variety Performance

All you need to know about this year’s Royal Variety Performance

There will be previews of An American in Paris, Dreamgirls and Gary Barlow's The Girls
There will be previews of An American in Paris, Dreamgirls and Gary Barlow's The Girls
WHEN: Tuesday 13 December
TIME: 7.30pm to 10.05pm

What on earth is the Royal Variety Performance?

The Royal Variety Performance is an annual show which is performed on stage (this year it happened on Hammersmith Apollo on 7 December), filmed and then broadcast on TV to raise money for the Royal Variety Charity. The charity supports people who have worked in the entertainment industry and find themselves impoverished or elderly.

How long has it been going?

Since 1912. A long tradition. It's the longest running entertainment show ever. King George V and Queen Mary attended the first one at the Palace Theatre. It was hosted by founder Oswald Stoll, and saw performances by comedian Harry Tate and singer Cecilia Loftus.

David Walliams will present the show
David Walliams will present the show
(© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage)

Who will be there?

All the royals! Well, not all of them. This year the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were in attendance, and after the show, all the acts line up on the stage and get to shake their hands as a well done for a jolly good show.

Who is hosting?

That great comedian David Walliams. He's also a writer, don't you know, with play adaptations to his name. Gangsta Granny and The First Hippo on the Moon are both coming to a theatre near you very soon.

OK but will there be musicals?

Dreamgirls! Yes, Amber Riley performed at the event the other day (buy tickets to the real thing here). Along with Gary Barlow's The Girls (buy tickets to the real thing here), and An American in Paris(buy tickets to the real thing here), all shows that are due to come to the West End in the not too distant future. YAY.

Who else is performing?

Among the non-theatre performances, there will be Lady Gaga, Robbie Williams, Emeli Sandé, Gary Barlow, Barry Gibb and Sting. Oh, and comedy from Joe Lycett, Alan Davies and Rob Beckett, as well as magic from BGT winner Richard Jones. Jones was threatening to use a royal in his line-up. Let's hope it wasn't the sawing in half trick.

Donate to the Royal Variety Charity here

Buy tickets for Dreamgirls here

Buy tickets for The Girls here

Buy tickets to An American in Paris here