Saturday 21st May 2022 saw the long awaited return of West End Flea Market at St Pauls Church in Covent Garden. Returning for the first time since 2019, the day saw West End shows and performers unite with fans to sell unique merchandise all in the name of charity - raising money for Acting For Others.
I went along to check it out and met a lot of lovely people while I was there. If you weren't able to come, here's a look at what went down in one of the most fun mornings I've ever had:
Before it opened to the public at 10.45, judges Michael Ball, Christopher Biggins and Golda Rosheuvel went around each stall judging on their presentation - this included who had decorated it the best and how they presented it to the judges. Some shows put on a performance with The Play That Goes Wrong doing a whole sketch for them.
This was Michael Ball and Christopher Biggins welcoming people to the opening of the show and announcing the winner:
And here is that winning performance from the cast of Only Fools and Horses. Definitely deserving winners. I could not stop smiling watching them.
Here are the judges opening the flea market to the public and an encore performance from the winning show:
Here's what was on offer at the event:
The stalls boasted a variety of exclusive merchandise, most of which was signed by cast members. You could get loaves of bread at Les Mis, casts signed by the cast at Dear Evan Hansen and even chokers at Six. Here are just some of the stalls:
There were members from various casts on hand to meet people at their stalls. This included cast members from Mamma Mia in very distracting outfits (Think 'Lay All Your Love On Me' and the always fabulous Oscar Conlon-Morrey with some of his Only Fools and Horses cast mates:
Sam Tutty signing merchandise ahead of opening. He stuck around for the whole event, meeting everyone who bought anything from the Dear Evan Hansen stand.
Jean Val Jean himself, Jon Robyns, was happy to meet anyone who bought items from Les Miserables. Here's Mickey Jo reuniting him with his yellow ticket of leave:
And the Queens from Six were happy to meet anyone who donated for a picture:
There were stalls selling signed posters of new and old shows including some sought after Come From Away posters. You could also get old programmes, playbills and show memorabilia.
If you bought any of the exclusive new "The Show Must Go On" merchandise from the Theatre Support+ stall, you were granted access to the autograph tent where you could meet performers including Alice Fearn, Miriam Teak-Lee and Jordan Luke Gage.
Biggins hosted an auction where you could bid for items from Hamilton and Wicked with a can of hairspray signed by Michael Ball going for £200.
As the event neared its close, it all became a bit like a street market with performers taking to the middle shouting at people to buy whatever they had left. Only Fools had a lot of fun with this, trying to flog their "Peckham Spring" water, with some competition from The Book of Mormon.
Earlier I asked people to send me pictures of their best buys from the flea market and here were some of the ones I got:
I missed out on 2019's Flea Market but I wouldn't have missed this for the world. Apart from the chance to buy some exclusive merchandise and support an incredible charity, the sense of community was wonderful. I always like being around like-minded people and theatregoers are the best for that. A bit like West End LIVE, having so many people together celebrating their love for all things theatre was beautiful and gave me one of my favourite days of the year so far. Here's a few of us at the event yesterday:
There was a huge demand for the event meaning people outside were queuing for quite a while to get in. I hope when it comes back, they are able to take it to a bigger space so more people can enjoy it and ultimately more money can be raised!
Bring on West End Flea Market 2023 - I'm counting down the days already!
If you would like to donate to Acting For Others, please go to https://www.actingforothers.co.uk/