West End Live 2024: Free Musical Theatre Celebration Returns To Trafalgar Square This June

Last Updated 03 June 2024

West End Live 2024: Free Musical Theatre Celebration Returns To Trafalgar Square This June
West End Live is a free musicals festival in Trafalgar Square. Photo: Pamela Raith

Free musical theatre festival West End Live returns to Trafalgar Square in June 2024.

The annual event brings together stars from several West End musicals for free performances on a stage in Trafalgar Square. Cast members from Back to the Future, The Book of Mormon, The Choir of Man, Disney's Frozen, Hamilton, The Lion King, Magic Mike Live, Mamma Mia!, Mrs Doubtfire, Sister Act, Six, and many, many more shows are taking part this year, offering up bitesized chunks of their productions performed in the open air.

Never been before? Take a look at this clip from last year for an idea of what to expect:

While many of the performers are usually cast members of long-running West End shows — some dashing over to Trafalgar Square between their Saturday matinee and evening performances — it's a chance to get a look at upcoming or very recently opened musical theatre treats. This year, Mean Girls, Marie Curie and Kiss Me, Kate are all taking part, having only opened in the West End in June 2024.

The fast-paced scheduling means the snappy sets are brief enough to maintain the attention of even the youngest audience members, and the schedule means you can drop by to catch your favourite shows — but it gets busy, and once you've given up your front row space, there's no getting it back.

West End Live 2024: A cast member from Wicked on stage in witch costume and green face paint at a previous West End Live.
The casts of famous West End musicals perform for free. Photo: Pamela Raith

We'll repeat that: the event gets very busy. So busy, in fact, that there were reports of people starting to queue at 6am last year, ahead of the gates opening at 10am, with queues reaching all the way to Holborn, resulting in thespian blog Theatre & Tonic questioning whether the event has now grown too big to be enjoyable. By 12.36pm on the Saturday, the official West End Live Twitter account said that anyone not in the queue at that point would unlikely make it inside, as a one-in, one-out policy operates when the square reaches capacity. So. Get there early and be prepared to queue.

As a result of these issues, there have been calls to make the event ticketed in future, but at time of writing, there are no plans to introduce such a system for 2024. However, new for this year is an additional viewing area on Pall Mall East, where the event will be livestreamed on a large screen.

West End Live 2024: a cast member if Tina wearing gold and singing on stage
You will need to arrive EARLY. Photo: Pamela Raith

There is an accessible viewing area for wheelchairs users and people with other accessibility requirements. It's located along the North Terrace of Trafalgar Square, offering a view of the stage and BSL interpreters. As with the rest of the event, it's managed by stewards and operates on a first come, first served basis — places cannot be reserved, and there's no guarantee you'll get in.

Keep an eye on the West End Live website and social media for updates. If you can't make it in-person (or can't face the queue), highlights will be shared on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube throughout the weekend.

West End Live 2024 takes place 11am-5pm on Saturday 22 June and 12pm-5pm on Sunday 23 June. It's free to attend, and there's no need to book tickets. The full schedule will be available on the website. If the event gets your toes a-tapping, browse offers for tickets to current and upcoming musicals in London.