Celebrate 100 years of London’s Theatreland

Published April 17, 2008

Champagne corks should be popping all over the West End today as Theatreland celebrates a century of existence in the form that we now know it.

Exactly 100 years ago today, on 20 February 1908, a group of prominent actor-managers, led by Sir Charles Wyndham, gathered together at the Hyde Park Hotel to form a new association, the Society of West End Theatre (SWET), which effectively meant the birth of London’s Theatreland as a distinct entity.

Throughout the last century SWET, which later changed its name to the more pleasing SOLT (The Society of London Theatre), has represented the interests of producers, theatre managers and owners in London, supporting and promoting theatre in the capital.

Of course, an awful lot has happened in that time – new theatres have been built, prominent actors have lived and died, iconic productions have gone down in history – and we at Theatreland’s number one website, Official London Theatre, want to share all of that with you.

We have been working our fingers to the bone of late to prepare a whole new, terrifically exciting section of our website dedicated to celebrating Theatreland’s 100th birthday. Appropriately titled Theatreland At 100, this section includes a decade-by-decade breakdown of all the major goings-on in London theatre over the last 100 years, profiles of some of the most important people in Theatreland’s history to date, and a timeline of significant events in SOLT’s history. We have also created a forum in which prominent industry figures share their memories and thoughts about Theatreland. You can join in by submitting your memories too – each month we will ask a different question which you can respond to by posting on an online form.

As the year progresses, Theatreland At 100 will expand, with more profiles of West End VIPs, more discussion and more interesting news items about London theatre. We are also creating a photo archive of Theatreland through the ages, which you can contribute to – send all your interesting photos (in digital format only), to editorial@officiallondontheatre.co.uk and see them posted on the site.

If that wasn’t enough, special events and promotions will be taking place throughout the year. Keep visiting us regularly to catch all the latest news and revel in this unique celebration of Theatreland.

We hope you enjoy it, we really do. If you would like make a comment or suggestion, share your Theatreland memories, views and photos, or even just say hello, please do email us on editorial@officiallondontheatre.co.uk. Please get involved and help us to celebrate, we would love to hear from you.

CB