Female-led West End shows to see for International Women's Day

Celebrate the joy of International Women's Day with West End shows that continue to challenge stereotypes and champion the power of difference in society.

Marianka Swain
Marianka Swain

International Women's Day is a celebration of women - from marking their achievements to raising awareness of campaigns for women's rights and fundraising for female-focussed charities. It's all about making a collective effort to foster gender equity through positive, impactful change.

International Women's Day was born out of the universal female suffrage movement and the social revolution of the early 20th century. In 1909, the Socialist Party of America organised a National Woman's Day, and the following year, the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen decided to hold such a day every year - with the first one taking place in 1911. International Women's Day became a national holiday in Soviet Russia in 1917 and subsequently in other communist countries, but it wasn't until 1977 that the United Nations recognised it as an official global holiday.

Celebrated on 8 March, International Women's Day has a different theme every year. The campaign theme for 2024 is #InspireInclusion, encouraging everyone to understand and value women's inclusion, empowering women to advocate for themselves, and forging a better world.

If you're looking for ways to celebrate International Women's Day, why not book tickets for a West End show? There are numerous fantastic productions that embody those campaign ideas, and the theatre community has a long history of challenging stereotypes and showing the power of difference.

Wicked - 750 - LT


If you're looking for an International Women's Day show that prioritises women and their journeys, then Wicked is a perfect choice. The long-running musical subverts the Wizard of Oz tale, where the Wicked Witch of the West is an irredeemable villain, and instead gives us a version where that witch, Elphaba, is a victim of misunderstanding and discrimination.

Elphaba's green skin immediately marks her as different, and, though she dreams of gaining the Wizard's approval so that she'll finally be accepted, she gradually learns that others see her power as threatening. In contrast, her friend from school Glinda is labelled "good" because she fulfils her expected female role and doesn't challenge the status quo.

Wicked is also radical because the show puts a friendship between two women at the heart of the show. Although there is romance, too, ultimately it's not as important as standing up for what's right, as well as learning from and supporting other women. "Defying Gravity" is the ultimate anthem for International Women's Day.

Book Wicked tickets on London Theatre.

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Six - 750 - LT


What better show to see for International Women's Day than one about six women reclaiming their version of "herstory"? That's what this original pop musical featuring the six wives of Henry VIII is all about. The infamous monarch is nowhere to be seen in this version. Instead, the queens take their rightful place centre stage and sing about what the king put them through and why they deserve their rightful places in the history books.

While at the outset, the musical appears to be about which queen had it the hardest, the overall message is perfect for International Women's Day: there's room for everyone and we're all more powerful when we come together. Plus, you'll get to enjoy some of the catchiest earworms in the West End, with dance numbers, ballads, and hits inspired by modern pop queens like Beyonce, Adele, Lily Allen, Ariana Grande, Alicia Keys, and more.

So discover your inner queen, and get tickets to see this empowering pop musical for International Women's Day.

Book Six tickets on London Theatre.

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Frozen - 750 - LT

Frozen the Musical

Let it go this International Women's Day and take a trip to Arendelle where the story of sisterhood and embracing your own power will have you want to sing in your own ice castle. Disney's blockbuster hit has become an enrapturing stage musical, complete with magical effects and the same heartwarming story about sisters Anna and Elsa.

Elsa must learn to embrace her control over ice and snow, while Anna goes on a quest to reconnect with her sister and form the most powerful bond of all: sisterhood. Whether you're seeing the show with your girlfriends, your sisters, or even on your own, Frozen offers an empowering message for everyone about individuality, family, and friendship over romance.

So what are you waiting for? Venture through the open door at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and see a show that will make everyone realise their own power on International Women's day.

Book Frozen tickets on London Theatre.

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Tina the Musical - LT - 750

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Another woman who seized control of her destiny, musical icon Tina Turner fought to liberate herself from an abusive marriage and started her career from scratch, becoming a rock ‘n’ roll legend at an age when many women (especially women of colour) were being written off by the industry. Turner changed that narrative, and in serious style: no wonder she’s still considered simply the best.

This compelling musical tells her story, from humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, through her time with Ike Turner, and then her new chapter as a solo artist. Along the way, you get to enjoy all of those amazing hits: “River Deep Mountain High”, “Proud Mary”, “Private Dancer”, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” and more. It’s an inspiring story of one woman overcoming countless barriers: perfect for getting you fired up on International Women’s Day, and being inspired to fight on.

Book Tina: The Tina Turner Musical tickets on London Theatre.

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The Merchant of Venice - LT - 1200

The Merchant of Venice 1936

With Tracy-Ann Oberman at the heart of this new adaptation of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, which moves the action from 16th-century Italy to London's East End, you can't go wrong. She has been a part of this production since its beginning, embarking on a UK tour in 2023, and plays a female version of the Jewish moneylender Shylock.

Oberman has based her portrayal on the strong women within her own family, and said in an interview with London Theatre: "Taking on the role of Shylock means everything to me. It is the part and project of my life. I have based it on my great grandmother Annie, who came to England aged 15 all on her own as an immigrant running away from the pogroms in Belarus. She ended up a widow in the East End of London, tough and strong, bringing up her family all on her own." Is there anything more inspirational for International Women's Day?

Book The Merchant of Venice 1936 tickets on London Theatre.

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Dorian Gray LT 1200 3

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Succession's Sarah Snook gives a tour-de-force performance in Kip Williams’s adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray, where she plays not one character but 26. Oscar Wilde's tale about vanity, depravity, and ego is focused on the spiritual downfall of Dorian, who has his portrait painted as a young man, and the portrait takes on his sins and signs of ageing, while he remains eternally young. This may seem an odd choice for International Women's Day, but Snook's drag king-style take on this literary figure is so ground-breaking and innovative, it would be remiss not to include her. It is a one-woman show like no other.

Check back for The Picture of Dorian Gray tickets on London Theatre.

Originally published on

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