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Huge crowds expected to enjoy West End Live

Crowds gather at the annual West End Live in Trafalgar Square in 2014. Credit: John Stillwell / PA Archive/Press Association Images

More than half a million people are expected to enjoy London's annual free musical theatre festival this weekend.

West End Live, returning for its 11th year, will take place in Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square.

Crowds will be able to enjoy highlights from shows including American Idiot, Beautiful (The Carole King Musical), The Dreamers, Gypsy, Memphis The Musical, Sunny Afternoon and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.

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Reading by Damian Lewis for Shakespeare's 450th birthday

Hollywood star Damian Lewis has returned to the London’s Guildhall, where he was a drama student, for a celebration of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday.

The Homeland actor, 43, recited the first five sonnets in the Guildhall Library to an audience. Below he reads Sonnet 1 by William Shakespeare:

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Globe Theatre to mark Shakespeare's birthday with world tour

The Globe Theatre London will today open a two year world tour of the production of Hamlet in honor of the Bard's 450th birthday. The production of one of William Shakespeare's most famous plays will visit every single country on earth

The actor Damien Lewis will also begin a reading of every single Shakespeare sonnet at the Guildhall, London to also mark the historic event.

The Apollo theatre is set to reopen

The Apollo Theatre will reopen today three months after a ceiling collapse injured 76 people. A chunk of plaster crashed in the audience during violent thunder storms in December 2013. The theatre has been closed since the incident.

Originally home to the production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, the Apollo will now show romantic horror Let the Right One In. The opening today will be the debut of a production by the National Theatre of Scotland

West End stars come together for festive charity concert

Stars of the London stage will come together this afternoon for carol singing and festive merry-making in support of this year's Lord Mayor of Westminster's charity, the Sir Simon Milton Foundation.

The carol singing will be led by the West End Gospel Choir, a collective of musical theatre singers who will perform a selection of festive songs.

There will be a live performance from the cast of hit musical Let It Be as well as special appearances from family shows The Snowman and Dinosaur Zoo.

The show kicks off in Leicester Square at 4pm.

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Helen Mirren goes head-to-head with Billie Piper at The Evening Standard Theatre Awards

Helen Mirren at the premiere of Red 2. Credit: PA

Helen Mirren and Billie Piper are both up for the Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress at tonight's Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

Helen, who has already won an Oscar for playing the Queen, competes for her role as the monarch in The Audience.

Billie, shortlisted before in 2007, makes the final five this year for her role in The Effect, as a troubled young woman participating in a clinical drugs trial.

Kristin Scott Thomas, Lesley Manville and Linda Bassett are also up for the gong.

Damien Lewis will host the event at the Savoy Hotel tonight.

Billie Piper with her husband Laurence Fox. Credit: PA
Damien Lewis will be hosting the event. Here he is pictured with his wife Helen McCrory. Credit: PA
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