Mackintosh wins tourist award for London's starring role

Sir Cameron Mackintosh, the former stage-hand who went on to develop some of the most successful shows in the world, has been rewarded for his contribution to tourism.

The 59-year-old impresario was awarded the top prize in a major tourism award ceremony last night in recognition of his devotion to making London's West End theatres a top draw for visitors to Britain.

As the owner of several theatres in London, Sir Cameron, who is responsible for such major international hits as Cats, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon and The Phantom of the Opera, was presented with VisitBritain's outstanding contribution to tourism award, part of the Enjoy England Awards for Excellence.

"Theatre in London has a gigantic role to play in attracting visitors," said Sir Cameron, who is in New York where he is preparing for the opening of Mary Poppins on Broadway in November. "London and Broadway are unique in the world and are alive with creative synergy. London is on an upward spiral; great shows, great shopping and great attractions."

Hugh Taylor, England Marketing Advisory Board chairman, said Sir Cameron had played a vital role in bringing tourists back to the capital after the terrorist attacks of last summer. He said: "Theatreland took a bad knock after the 7 July bombings, but thanks to the resilience of London theatres and the unparalleled range of top quality productions that London has to offer, visitors quickly returned. In fact, a record 12.1 million visitors saw plays, musicals, comedy, opera and dance in London last year, making a considerable contribution to English tourism. The quality of that output certainly puts England on the world stage."

The son of a Scottish father and a French-Maltese mother, the London-born producer, who was knighted for services to the British theatre in 1996, first hit the big time in 1981 as the producer of Cats, which holds the record for longest-running musical both on the West End in London, and, until recently, on Broadway.

Sir Cameron, who is estimated to be worth £400m, has homes in London and New York, a 13,000-acre estate in the Scottish Highlands, a farm in Somerset, a vineyard in Provence and seven West End theatres.

In the past few years he has invested heavily in his theatrical properties, including the Prince Edward Theatre , Prince of Wales Theatre , Strand Theatre (now renamed the Novello), Queen's Theatre, Gielgud Theatre, Wyndham's Theatre and the Albery Theatre.

Once a critic of the tatty state of West End theatres, along with London's traffic congestion, poor public transport and the threat of street crime which he claimed put off many visitors, he was willing to put his money where his mouth was and invested more than £35m to restore his chain of London theatres to their former glory.

"As a private individual I'm doing what I can to make it better," he said a couple of years ago when he announced his plans to try to revamp theatreland. In the end, what puts bums on seats is a hit. But the West End itself needs to be a hit, and a great place to go for a show, a beer, a party or a club."

In taking the lead by investing his money at a time when the Government has been asked by the Theatres Trust for £250m of public funding to make London's stock of Victorian and Edwardian theatres fit for 21st-century audiences, Sir Cameron said he wanted to ensure the buildings were lovingly refurbished rather than risk them falling into such disrepair that the only option left would be demolition.

"I've made a great deal of money out of the West End and, quite frankly, I can't take it with me. I decided this was what I wanted to do. I want to leave them in a state where I can put my hand on my heart and say they will last for another 100 years," he said.

Previous winners of the tourism award include The Queen, the Harry Potter films, the presenter Judith Chalmers and in 2005, the Duchess of Northumberland in recognition of her work in transforming the gardens at Alnwick Castle.

The London Eye won the best tourism experience award, and the business tourism award was won by Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

The ultimate showman

Cats

Since opening in London in 1981 it has played in 20 countries and in 250 cities. Within 30 months of the opening there were productions in New York, Tokyo, Budapest and Vienna, and a touring one in the US.

Miss Saigon

Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's epic musical opened at London's Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1989. It has been performed in 18 countries in nine languages, been seen by 31 million and grossed £950m.

My Fair Lady

First performed at the Lyttelton Theatre in March 2000, it then transferred to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane where it ran for two years. It won a total of five Laurence Olivier Awards.

Les Miserables

The longest-running musical in the world has been seen by more than 53 million people in 38 countries since its first London performance in October 1985. It also notched up 6,680 performances on Broadway.

Phantom Of The Opera

The musical, which opened at Her Majesty's Theatre on 9 October 1986 with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman in the leading roles, has been seen by 52 million people and grossed £900m worldwide.

Arts and Entertainment
music

Arts and Entertainment
Creep show: Tim Cockerill in ‘Spider House’

TVEnough to make ardent arachnophobes think twice

Arts and Entertainment
Steven, Ella Jade and Sarah in the boardroom
tvThe Apprentice contestants take a battering from the business mogul
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Jewel in the crown: drawings from ‘The Letter for the King’, an adventure about a boy and his mission to save a medieval realm
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Juergen Wolf won the Young Masters Art Prize 2014 with his mixed media painting on wood, 'Untitled'
art
Arts and Entertainment
Iron Man and Captain America in a scene from
filmThe upcoming 'Black Panther' film will feature a solo black male lead, while a female superhero will take centre stage in 'Captain Marvel'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Imperial War Museum, pictured, has campaigned to display copyrighted works during the First World War centenary
art
Arts and Entertainment
American Horror Story veteran Sarah Paulson plays conjoined twins Dot and Bette Tattler
tvReview: Yes, it’s depraved for the most part but strangely enough it has heart to it
Arts and Entertainment
The mind behind Game of Thrones George R. R. Martin
books

Will explain back story to fictional kingdom Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Dorothy in Return to Oz

film Unintentionally terrifying children's movies to get you howling (in fear, tears or laughter)
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Robert James-Collier as under-butler Thomas

TVLady Edith and Thomas show sad signs of the time
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Dad's Army cast hit the big screen

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge

books
Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning?
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
music review
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

    "I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
    Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

    11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

    Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
    Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

    Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

    The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
    Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

    The school that means business

    Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
    10 best tablets

    The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

    They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
    Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

    Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

    The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
    Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

    Pete Jenson's a Different League

    Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
    John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
    The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

    The killer instinct

    Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
    Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

    Clothing the gap

    A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

    The Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain