Theatrical tradition in Britain was introduced by Romans. During the medieval period, Mystery plays and Miracle plays were the two popular forms and both are solely focused on Biblical stories and legends on saints. This medieval theatrical tradition was stretched from 10th century to 16th century reaching the height of popularity in the 15th century. After 16th century the medieval theatrical tradition was marred by the rise of professional theatres.
During the reign of Elizabeth I, British theatres had seen a great revolution with revelation of playwrights like Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, and John Webster. Since then British theatres have changed a lot. British Theatrical Tradition has not been overshadowed under the growing influence of movie and television shows. This has been evident from the growing popularity of big late Victorian or Edwardian architecturally made theatre buildings and crowded evening roads at London’s main theatre district (located in the heart of the West End of the city centre.)Theatre lovers from all over the world are largely influenced by some of these largest and best maintained theatres.
Most of the theatres in West End run show for several weeks, although show running mostly depends on the popularity of the show and ticket selling. As per the tradition it has been found that musicals tend to have longer runs than dramas. Les Miserables is the longest ever running musicals in the West End history till date. ?It overtook Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, which closed in 2002 after running for 8,949 performances and 21 years, as the longest running West End musical of all time on 8 October 2006. Other long-runners include Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, still running after 21 years, and Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers, currently in its 20th year. However the non-musical Agatha Christie play The Mousetrap is the longest running show in the world, and has been showing since 1952 (Courtesy: ).? All the theatres in West Land are privately owned and they are considered as highly commercial theatres.
Theatre tourism policy has been a boom for West End London?s economic growth. Tourists from various parts of the world largely visit West End London just to have a feel of entertainment in theatres. Both theatre entertainment industry and tourism sector in West End London has created several opportunities for both locals as well as tourists to make the most out of West End London. For tourists although the name would suggest that the West End includes absolutely all of west London, it is actually a quite specific district lying to the west of The City. In its true definition, the area is quite small stretching from Tottenham Court Road in the east to Park Lane in the west.
Notes for Readers:
Of the 40 commercial theatres in London?s West End, 30 are in Westminster and the remainder are in Camden. Overall the theatres contribute ?1.5billion a year to London?s economy and more than half of all overseas visitors cite the prospect of going to the theatre as one of the deciding factors in coming to London.
Westminster City Council launched the Theatreland Initiative in 2005 to strengthen the identity of the theatre district.
The Theatreland district incorporates Shaftesbury Avenue, St Martin?s Lane/St Martin?s Cross, Charing Cross Road, Covent Garden and the Strand in Westminster as well as Seven Dials in the London Borough of Camden. (Courtesy: )