While you can do this tour on site or virtually, from home, the theatres themselves are currently closed following official government advice to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
Many theatres will struggle to survive this time, even with measures to support their workforce. Lots of theatre organisations are charities and trusts, with low reserves. If you are in a position to help by donating or supporting by purchasing Theatre Tokens to redeem when theatres reopen, please go to bit.ly/helptheatres.
Play the starring role in a tour of London’s historic West End with the help of British acting icon Ian McKellen.
This tour takes you from theatre to theatre on a route from Leicester Square through to Covent Garden, Embankment and The Strand. Along the way, Ian will whisper secrets of the stage and tell the story of some of the capital’s most fascinating buildings.
You’ll travel back in time to experience Theatreland as it was for actors and audiences 300 years ago, before electric lights and moving sets, when audiences showed their disapproval by throwing fruit at the stage. You’ll also learn the stories of the actors, architects and managers who shaped this unique part of London, turning it from one of the city’s most disreputable slums into the glittering heart of British theatre.
As you wind your way through the backstreets and alleyways of the West End, you’ll discover a theatre that started out as a public toilet, and another that began a banana-ripening depot. You’ll visit the sites of the murders and arrests that shocked the theatre world, as well as the favourite haunts of actors past and present.
Ian will also recount fascinating stories from his illustrious career on the stage as you walk – his favourite venues, his least favourite performances and where he made his professional acting debut.
A must for thespians and history lovers alike, this tour recounts the captivating story of London theatre and reveals the secrets of one of city’s most iconic districts.