The first 15 years of Whatsonstagecom
Created by whatsonstage on 10/04/2012
Last updated: 16/04/12 at 11:25
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Time Out buys Whatsonstage.com as part of its rapid development into a digital media group Thewebsite and business continues to run as a separate but complementary brand within the Time Out Group. Terri Paddock, Whatsonstage.com’s managing and editorial director, who has been with the business since its launch in 1996, continues at the helm
Since joiningTwitter Whatsonstage.com has broadcast more than 12,000 Tweets and accumulated more than 24,000 followers.
The editor is Simon Thomas, formerly of online culture magazine musicOMH.com, the new section provides news, reviews and features from the world of opera, as well as linking to the comprehensive and continually updated Whatsonstage.com listings database.
The first Awards Concert and ceremony was introduced for the 2008 Awards and was held at the 960-seat Lyric Theatre. The Concert was co-hosted by James Corden and Sheridan Smith and winners collecting trophies included Daniel Radcliffe (who famously shared an onstage snog with Corden), Michael Ball, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Peter Hall.
Originally called "Whatsonstage.com Manchester", our first regional microsite is launched under the editorship of Glen Meades. There are now seven regional sites and the original Manchester site is broadened to cover the whole of the north-west of England at whatsonstage.com/northwest
Michael Coveney joins Whatsonstage.com as chief critic. His first review is of a transfer of an RSC production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible at the Gielgud Theatre.
The UK’s two leading titles devoted specifically to theatre – Theatregoer and Whatsonstage.com – are merged under one umbrella to create a theatrical media company with unparalleled reach both in print and online. The first cover story is David Schwimmer's appearance in Neil LaBute's Some Girls.
Developed out of the theatre outings, the Theatregoers Clubs (as it was first called) is introduced and quickly develops a wide range of benefits including priority booking for Whatsonstage.com outings, preferential rates to top shows and free tickets to a range of off-West End shows.
In 2002, we held our first Launch Party to announce the shortlists for the Whatsonstage.com Awards 2003 to about 200 industry guests. The inaugural Launch Party was held at The Venue but later moved to the Dominion Theatre in 2004, Planet Hollywood in 2005 and 2006, and Café de Paris, where it has been every year since. The only exception was 2009 when the Launch Party was held at the London Hippodrome as part of our campaign to save the venue as a performance space.
The first ever Whatsonstage.com theatre outing - involving a grand total of 12 theatregoers - to a matinee of Chicago. Later the outings were to become the Whatsonstage.com Club. Since then there have been hundreds of outings to shows in the West End and beyond, with lively post-shows with everyone from Boy George to Alan Rickman, Derek Jacobi, Julia Stiles and Jim Broadbent.
The Whatsonstage.com Awards, the “theatregoers’ choice” prizes, started almost by accident. In early 2001, we published the shortlists for that year’s Laurence Olivier Awards, covering the 2000 theatregoing year, and invited site visitors to vote online for who they thought should win in the various Olivier categories. In a fortnight, 5,000 people took part – and their results differed wildly from the Olivier judges.
Whatsonstage.com discussion forum launched spawning hundreds of thousands of postings and creating a vibrant online community of theatre fans
Terri Paddock posts the first news story on Whatsonstage.com - Ian Rickson's appointment as artistic director of the Royal Court.
Terri Paddock posts a review of Ben Elton's Popcorn.... "I hated Natural Born Killers and had no real desire to see Ben Elton's comedy Popcorn. A violent satire of a violent satire of screen violence? No thank you! So I was quite surprised when I found myself thoroughly enjoying a night at the Apollo recently... The play ends with a cleverly tense, if rather contrived, climax and epilogue which give the audience plenty of fuel to continue the debate in the pub after the curtain call. "
Terri Paddock becomes the first employee of Whatsonstage.com. The freelance journalist and novelist is appointed part-time editor, working two days a week to turn the listings website recently launched by media conglomerate EMAP into something more. Two and a half years later in 2000, Terri and her partner David Dobson, with private financial backing, purchase the website to run independently. Terri is still with the company, now as managing and editorial director.