April 15, 2024

West End or Broadway?

Step into the world of theatre with Theatretrain Artistic Director, Kevin Dowsett, as he explores the age-old debate: West End or Broadway? From the rich history of London's 241 theatres to the allure of New York's Broadway, join the discussion on the global capitals of theatre and the challenges facing accessibility today.

These two cities have long vied to be the world’s capital city for theatre. London has 241 theatres – and probably a lot of rooms above pubs adding to that total. New York has 41 theatres on Broadway but more in the wider area.

London has a longer history of theatre, going back two thousand years to the Romans while in the Middle Ages, we know the theatres of Shakespeare’s times were also well attended. London boasts the longest-running play – The Mousetrap by Agatha Christies (over 70 years) as well as the longest-running musical Les Misérables (at a humbler 38 – nearly 39 years). I was fortunate enough to see the original production before it opened and it still stands up as an amazing piece of theatre and makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

Over the past 20 years, tickets at many major theatres have included a levy for restoration and some of them now look fabulous. For instance, if you are lucky enough to go to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane – one of the oldest theatres in the country – the upgrade has been fantastic. My only complaint is that we all paid the restoration fund but the result is that those magnificent theatres are now unavailable to companies such as Theatretrain – they have priced themselves into an unattainable bracket – which is a shame because it was a great way to introduce young people to West End theatres.

The range of productions is varied as well with productions at the National and Royal Shakespeare Theatre rubbing shoulders with the commercial theatre. Then there is the fringe and the smaller theatres – often just as exciting and brilliant as the major venues. At the moment crowd-pleasers like Mrs Doubtfire and Back to the Future are going down a storm and are packed out.

Theatretrain, a nationwide provider of weekend theatre schools for young people aged 4-18, specialises in weekly classes in acting, singing, and dancing. An emphasis is placed on learning valuable life skills such as confidence, empathy, courage, and resilience. If you know a child who loves to dance, act and sing or could do with a little confidence boost why not visit to find out what our performing arts classes can offer your child at one of our 80 locations across the UK.

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