The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Kerry Ellis Headshot

An Olympic Boost for Theatreland

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

Theatre is part of the city's lifeblood and I know I'm not alone when I say that the Olympic Games this summer is a wonderful opportunity to introduce many of the fantastic shows currently being performed in the capital to the thousands of people visiting the city in July, most for the first time.

If you're making a special trip to London in the summer then there's bound to be spare time for other activities amid all the Olympic excitement and taking the time to see a show while you're here is the natural next step. The idea of visiting London and not going to the theatre seems unthinkable!.

The Society Of London Theatre's plans to offer cheaper tickets to London's commuters during the games to ease pressure on the transport network is just one of the great schemes being put in place to make the theatre more accessible to people. This is so great and opens shows up to everyone. Hopefully we will see these initiatives grow as we get closer to the Olympics - perhaps to include free child places, or favourable rates for on-the-day ticket purchases.

Despite the recession, theatre is thriving. In tough times people still need something to look forward to, a special night out or a family event, and theatre is just that. You could say it's three hours of escapism and a whole evening of excitement. The thought of a downturn in bookings forcing the theatres to go dark over the Olympic period saddens me. Hopefully we don't get to a point where this has to happen.

Theatre has been a huge part of my life and throughout the years I have learnt how much it affects people. There will be so many tourists who have never seen a show before and this is the perfect time for them to give one a go.

When I was performing Anthems in April 2011 at the Royal Albert Hall, there was a surge in bookings - a lot of which were down to the influx of people in London for the Royal Wedding. Most were planned in advance when they were booking travel and sorting out their trip itinerary. The Diamond Jubilee and Olympic Games this summer are sure to see similar patterns of behaviour.

Special deals in the West End are just one way we can draw attention to all the great shows out there. Initiatives like West End Live and Kids Week are another excellent way to highlight the performing and writing talent on display in the West End. What better way to drum up a bit of buzz for a show than seeing the cast perform an excerpt? Or, even better, get the musicals involved in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Games themselves and bring the theatre into the very heart of the action.

Now there's one hell of a platform for us Brits to celebrate our theatrical talent!