National Theatre Stage Door, August 2020 by Jonny Brown, @jonnymarkbrown

Welcome to NotOnThe WestEnd! What you will find here is a curated directory of small businesses. Every one of them is helmed by someone who usually makes their living from working in UK theatre, but has been forced to use their talents in other ways whilst theatres are closed because of the pandemic. 

On Monday 16th March all theatres across the UK closed.

 

In the months following I saw my friends and colleagues across theatre adapt and work and hustle, all while campaigning for freelancers’ support and arts funding rescue packages. It is a testament to our industry's spirit and sensibilities that we didn't all just hide under our duvets.​

The people and products are not from a single theatre or show, and are not from a single department. We are a whole community of people who keep going, whether it is through the evening performance of a three-show day of panto, or the third week of tech rehearsals, or the fourth act of a six-hour opera. Or our industry disappearing before our eyes. 

Every day here and on Instagram we’re sharing a different theatre professional. This will create a directory of businesses where if you need to buy a birthday present or treat yourself you can find something great from within our own community, rather than lining the pockets of billionaires. Please look through the gallery and the featured pages and support the UK theatre community, not only with your likes and comments but also with your wallets.

A taste of what we have ready to show you so far, we have costume makers, stage managers, actors, scenic artists, automation technicians, opera singers, wigs assistants and office staff, from shows like Pretty Woman, Hamilton, Prince of Egypt, and Les Mis – although the name says West End we have theatre professionals from across the UK involved, from tours, regional venues and freelancers.

 

They’re creating art, jewellery, clothing, home décor, bespoke gifts – we have two engravers! There’s crochet and macramé, graphic design and photography, businesses with a focus on ethical production and ones that highlight body positivity.

The breadth of talent on display is amazing, but so many of the people I’ve spoken with in the process of starting this up have been struggling to get eyes on what they’re doing or turning that into sales.

Vaudeville Theatre Stage Door, August 2020 by Jonny Brown, @jonnymarkbrown

This page does not sell their products, but rather directs you to their instagram pages, etsy stores or personal websites, and does not take a cut of any sales or require a fee for being featured.

If you would like to contribute to the upkeep of this website you can support via ko-fi.com/notonthewestend

This statement was written by me, Anna Saunders, the founder of NotOnThe WestEnd, and before that I was the Wardrobe Deputy at 9 to 5: The Musical. It was my dream job. We did our last performance five months ago today. I miss it. 

          - Anna Saunders, Friday 14th August 2020

Contact me by email at NotOnTheWestEnd@gmail.com or via @NotOnTheWestEnd on Instagram. 

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With thanks to Mike and Judie Saunders for their financial support of this project.