By Kath Dawson
There is nothing strange about a tourist seeking mementos. It is only natural to want a reminder of a journey made, which is why photographs are taken, postcards are struck on refrigerator doors, and why ticket stubs are kept in boxes for decades. For visitors to London, west end theatre tickets are amongst the most favoured mementos, and it is not hard to understand why.
Even for those who are not very committed theatre goers, the west end is recognised as a place synonymous with the highest quality in entertainment through what is one of the oldest traditions in London. So, whether it is a production of the lion king musical that a touring family from Australia attends, or a night out for a group of lady friends thanks to a bunch of mamma mia tickets secured online, the west end is a location that is known to enhance the London experience.
While each tourist may have their own reasons for visiting the area, there are a few reasons that offer a sound explanation. They include a sense of history, the sense of accomplishment and recognition of the cultural significance.
The fact is that the west end of London is one of the most historical areas of the English capital, boasting some of the grandest architecture as well as the most recognisable sights and famous streets. The Houses of Parliament in Westminster, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus are all located in the West End. Baker Street, home to Sherlock Holmes, the shopping hubs of Covent Garden and Oxford Street, and the contrasting districts of upper class Mayfair and nightclub famed Soho, are also located within the area.
It means that a tourist to London is likely to spend most of their time in the west end. Since theatre in that area of the English capital dates back some 350 years, with the Theatre Royal opening its doors in 1663, and is home to some 40 different venues, going to see a show is a natural inclusion on a things to do list.
Understandably, the whole area is impossible to ignore because of its significance historically and culturally, and as a place of such significance, getting something as a reminder of a visit is often top of the list for a visitor. Photographs are always popular, but other items, most especially the ticket stub of a show, is preferred. Perhaps this is because it not only helps to recall the memory but also acts as physical proof that the person attended the show. In fact, it has been calculated that more than 13 million people have attended a west end show.
Some of the most famous shows in the world began life in the west end, such as the phantom of the opera, for example, or the longest running stage play in history, the mousetrap, which opened in 1952. Attending a production of a show in Melbourne, or Moscow or New York might very well be enjoyable and memorable, but attending one at its home venue can be considered extra special and even personally historic.
The cultural significance is a major factor too, drawing many of those who have little interest in either history or theatre into an auditorium. It can be explained best, perhaps, by the old adage that when in Rome do as the Romans do. When in Dublin, for example, it is considered essential to visit a traditional Irish pub to get a true sense of culture, or when in New York to go to the top of the Empire State Building. So, if one is in London, even for short stay, catching a west end show is a must do since it cannot be done anywhere else.
This idea that it cannot be accomplished anywhere else has a great influence over tourists. Even if Mamma Mia tickets are easy to get in their home country, seeing the show in the west end is something to talk about. And although the lion king musical is a stage version of a film that few missed in 1994, it is still a spectacle for anyone to enjoy, even if there is a language barrier.
All a tourist has to do to ensure a more memorable visit to London is to get their hands on some West End theatre tickets. The fact that booking can be secured online, long before arriving in the city, makes the whole idea more easily attainable.
Kathryn Dawson writes articles about finding West End theatre tickets online. Beat the queues and purchase your London musical tickets online, as good seats for popular shows such as the lion king musical are quickly sold out. One of the leading ticketing agent London Tickets offers only the very best seats at great prices, so the next time you are looking for dirty dancing, Billy Elliot, Love Never Dies, Phantom of the Opera or even Mamma Mia tickets, book with them instead.