Theatre News

West End Live Takes Over Leicester Square in Jun

More than 15 top West End musicals have so far signed up to perform at this year’s West End Live, the world’s largest free theatre festival which, now in its fifth year, takes place in Leicester Square on Saturday 20 June and Sunday 21 June 2009.

Highlights will include turns from talk-show host Jerry Springer, making his West End debut as razzmatazz lawyer Billy Flynn in Chicago in June, and the BBC’s I’d Do Anything winner-turned-Oliver! star Jodie Prenger.

They’ll share the giant open-air stage with performers from Hairspray, La Cage aux Folles, Carousel, Avenue Q, Dirty Dancing, Jersey Boys, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Sister Act, Thriller – Live, We Will Rock You, Wicked, Stomp and other productions, all cheered on by more than 150,000 visitors expected to attend the festivities.

The event is organised by Westminster City Council and supported by the Society of London Theatre, whose president Nica Burns said: “London has the best theatre in the world. No city can rival the breadth and variety of outstanding entertainment that can be enjoyed daily in London. West End Live gives everyone the chance to enjoy a weekend of fantastic free entertainment showcasing just some of our fabulous shows … Beat the recession blues by joining us in celebrating the success of an industry we can all be proud of – and which contributes £1.8 billion to the capital’s economy whilst bringing untold pleasure to millions of people.”

The two-day event also features street entertainment (pictured), live broadcasts, arts workshops and interactive exhibitions from some of London’s top museums and tourist attractions, and additional performances from So Jest End, the Players’ Theatre, the Sylvia Young Theatre School, London Gay Men’s Chorus, Tom Tom Crew and many others.

West End Live takes place in Leicester Square from 11am to 6pm on Saturday 20 June and from noon to 6pm on Sunday 21 June. For more information, visit

The team will be alive and kicking in Leicester Square on both days of the event – running a theatre prize draw and manning our stand at the north-west corner with the help of a team of theatregoer volunteers. If you’d like to help out, please contact Laura Norman on or call her on 020 7317 9100.

– by Terri Paddock