Things to do in June
Flaming June comes around just after Spring has well and truly sprung, but before the main Summer holidays, which is in some ways ideal for theatre breaks with outdoor things to do in London. The river trips and topless bus tours come into their own at this time of year, as do the green spaces and parks.
West End Live
For the West End, there’s one special event which comes around each year usually around the third week and that’s West End Live. It’s a free entertainment festival put on in central London’s Leicester Square, right in the heart of theatreland, which serves to promote individual shows which take part and the West End as a whole. Participation varies, for example with Hairspray sending a full cast in costume to perform one number to kick of the show in 2009, and others such as Oliver and Wicked sending along one star to do a big number solo.
West End Live takes place over one weekend towards the end of June and I’m not suggesting anybody hangs around for the whole thing from start to finish, especially if your time in London is limited. Standing up for that length of time is exhausting enough and there’s a certain amount of waiting about between acts. It’s not really worth arriving early and queuing up to get inside the square for the start either, as the queues do build up to quite a length with people wanting to bag a place near the front but it definitely is worth dropping in for an hour or as proceedings get going and the crowds stabilise , and catching any shows you particularly want to see by keeping an eye on the programme of events. This will be found each year on the London Theatre Breaks blog in the West End Live section and they do stick very closely to the times stated because the singers and dancers need to know exactly when they will be on so they can schedule it in amongst rehearsals and even matinee performances on the Saturday.
To give a sample of the happy atmosphere and the kind of performances to expect live in the square here are a few crowd videos from theatre breaks youTube.
Alexia Khadime from Wicked sings The Wizard and I.
Priscilla Queen of The Desert
All singing All dancing All camp Priscilla
We Will Rock You
Every year the cast from We Will Rock You put on a big show with a full cast in costume doing several numbers
Jodie Prenger from Oliver sings As Long as He Needs Me
In 2009 the cast of Chicago included none other than Jerry Springer
Other Things to do in June
Long light evenings are conducive to wandering about outdoors and pavement cafe meals in interesting side streets. Hyde Park and Regents Park are best known but the smaller St James Park is close by Victoria and Westminster and features a bandstand with live music sometimes, an airy Inn The Park with beautiful roof terrace, and a lake with exotic ducks geese and pelicans.