Off West End
Off West End is a term used to loosely define non-mainstream theatres in London. The term does not reflect their location- many, are very central- but the fact that they represent new writing and alternative performances of the highest standard. Normally, up and coming shows, actors, directors, etc. will have their first big break in Off West End before being transferred to one of the big West End theatres in London or, sometimes, Broadway in New York.
Until recently, Off West End theatre did not have much of a reputation, particularly because of a lack of public understanding of what it really was. Off Broadway, in New York, however, has enjoyed huge successes over the past years and is seen as the place to see tomorrows next big stars. Off West End theatre in London is the same standard as Off Broadway and is finally becoming recognised.
Some popular Off West End theatres are: The Almeida, The Donmar, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Greenwich Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, the Young Vic, the Royal Court, Theatre 503, Battersea Arts Centre, Chickenshed, artsdepot, Hackney Empire, the Roundhouse, the Globe, Tricycle, the National Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, The Bush Theatre, Finborough Theatre, The Old Red Lion, the Oval House, and The King's Head.
Nearly all of Britain's famous actors, and actresses began their careers in these theatres and many continue to support them very actively.