Dancing in the square – West End LIVE 2017 rocks Trafalgar Square

An annual summer #makeheritagefun event was held across the globe on Sunday June 25. One of the London sites for this #makeheritagefun event was Trafalgar Square, a famous #publicspace which is a setting for a variety of public events throughout the year.

Over the weekend of June 24-25, West End Live 2017 took place, providing an excellent opportunity to explore, document, share and have fun both with the tangible public heritage of Trafalgar Square and the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the event (the monthly theme was ‘the Oral Tradition and History’, which includes such performing arts).

Performing arts, including staged, theatrical performance of plays and musicals in England dates back centuries. The first permanent public playhouse was constructed in 1576. Theatre companies were first licensed to perform in 1660, and early performances were often held in converted buildings rather than purpose-built theatres. Theatres around the West End of London (central London), near Trafalgar Square, began to open as small theatres from 1806 onwards. Some plays and musicals have been running for over 20 years, including The Mousetrap (64 years), Les Misérables (31 years) and The Phantom of the Opera (30 years).

Below are some snapshots of live performances and scenes documented and shared during the event.

Scenes of the event in the square / Photo credit: mmdowsing (2017)
Live performances of theatre plays and musicals of (Left): Disney’s The Lion King, Right top: Five Guys Named Moe, (Right bottom): Matilda — The Musical / Photo credit: mmdowsing (2017)

In addition, there are a number of #builtheritage areas such as ‘theatreland’ or the theatre district, where various plays and musicals are staged in venues around Trafalgar Square. Such #builtheritage sites that can be seen around the area include the Vaudeville Theatre, the Adelphi Theatre, Trafalgar Studios, the Royal Opera House and many others.

Nearby venues to the square , clockwise from top left: The Vaudeville Theatre, The Adelphi Theatre, Trafalgar Studios (formally the Whitehall Theatre), Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the Royal Opera House and Her Majesty’s Theatre / Photo credit: mmdowsing (2017)

Another article provides additional insight into such #builtheritage sites through a photo-walk which was organised earlier this year by a fellow intern, Ms Shojaee, entitled ‘A Photo Walk through the Historical Theatres in London’.

After seeing sneak previews of many of the current plays and musicals, it is time to decide which ones to actually see in one of these theatres — not an easy choice!



Innes, C (1998). “West End” in The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1194–1195.

London Theatre Direct Limited (2017). Accessed 24 June 2017: [https://www.londontheatredirect.com/news/1326/the-top-20-longest-running-musicals-in-west-end-history-topmusicals.aspx]

Media4e Limited (2017). WestEndTheatre.com. Accessed 24 June 2017: [http://www.westendtheatre.com/27702/west-end-theatre-history/top-10-longest-running-west-end-shows/]

Society of London Theatre (n.d.). Accessed 24 June 2017: [http://solt.co.uk/what-we-do/major-events/west-end-live/]

WestEndLive (2017). Accessed 24 June 2017:  [http://www.westendlive.co.uk/] heritage site and intangible cultural heritage asset

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