Each year since about 2008 I’ve ventured up to London (in those days it was Leicester Square) to sing and cheer along with the stars of the West End stage for West End Live. The event has grown year by year and is now almost unrecognisable from the relatively small crowd that once gathered in central London.
If you don’t know, West End Live, is a weekend (normally the third weekend in June) where the biggest West End shows, and some of the local shops and attractions show off their wares in Trafalgar Square. Long running musicals perform some of their greatest hits, whilst new shows give audiences a taste of what they can do! Each show performs for ten to fifteen minutes, and the day is filled with jaw dropping performances from adults and children alike.
So what are my hard and fast rules for attending West End Live?
– Arrive Early – The event starts at around 11am, so getting there well beforehand is advised to ensure you grab your perfect spot in Trafalgar Square.
– Bring Food. – Getting hold of any food during the day will normally mean leaving the confines of Trafalgar Square and you just know you’ll never find your friends again!
– Rain Coats, NOT Umbrellas! – There’s nothing worse than your entire view of the stage being blocked by big Sports Direct umbrella. It’s bound to rain, it’s England in June after all, but think about the people behind you and pack a rain mac instead!
If you’re late and can’t get near the front, or simply lose patience with the crowds around you (totally understandable) then loitering around the edge has its perks, as the casts often dash off to their matinee performances past you! Some will happily pause for photos but others need to get back for the impending ‘beginners act one’ call.
Even though you’ll find yourself standing still all day (and occasionally dancing along with the Jersey Boys) West End Live can be pretty exhausting, so keep your energy up!
The 2015 West End Live was full of iconic performances, the stand out ones coming from Miss Saigon and of course the cast of Les Miserables who constantly prove that where Les Mis is concerned, bigger is always better. The crowd roared when popular cast member Carrie Hope Fletcher took to the stage, and the woman in front of me found herself a little overcome by Bring Him Home. Sure, the Pontins style commentary from Heart DJs can be a little annoying, and the weather is rarely on your side, but it’s a great opportunity to see some of the stars of the West End stage performing in a huge arena style set up. My personal favourites are always Jersey Boys, as I just can’t resist the synchronised man dancing.