Top 10 World Records in Theatre

Updated on 5 July 2019

With many of the West End’s hottest shows and highly anticipated seasons just around the corner, including the ENO 2018/19 season, the Pinter at the Pinter season, and the new 2018/19 Old Vic Theatre season, we have compiled a list for the top 10 world theatre records, many of which can be found in the Guinness Book of World Records.

World’s Longest Running Play
Holding the record for the world’s longest running play is The Mousetrap, a murder mystery play penned by Agatha Christie and based on a short story of hers, which, after all these years, has never been published in the UK. The story only appeared in a 1950 collection in the United States that was entitled Three Blind Mice and Other Stories. This West End whodunit play has been running at the St Martins Theatre for an astonishing 66 consecutive years and with over 27,000 performances.

Longest Theatre Performance
This record was broken in July 1987 by Adrian Hilton, who recited the complete works of Shakespeare, lasting four and half days (110 hours, 46 minutes). The performance took place on London’s South Bank at the original Globe Theatre. Hilton currently works for the Department of Education at Oxford University.

Most Olivier Awards Ever Received by a Musical
This record is currently tied between Roald Dahl’s Matilda: The Musical in 2012, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in 2013 and Hamilton in 2018, all of which garnered 7 Olivier Awards.

Most Olivier Awards Ever Received by a Play
You’re a winner, Harry! The current play to hold this record is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in 2017, with nine awards in total, including Best New Play.

First Theatre to be Named After an Actor Garrick Theatre in 1889, named after David Garrick who is widely considered to be the most influential Shakespearean actor of all time.

Most Costume Changes Demanded for a Lead Theatrical Role
Michael Jibson holds this record with 29 costume changes for Our House at the Cambridge Theatre. The quickest costume change for the show was done in just 4 seconds. The costumes were designed by Paul Kieve.

Fastest Theatrical Production
Sharpe Academy of Theatre and Arts in Rickmansworth holds this record. The group opened a sealed envelope at 6am on the day of the show revealing a script for Annie. They were required to learn all the songs, the script and put together costumes and props in just 15 hours before the show started.

Smallest Theatre in Operation
This record is held by the Kremlhoftheater in Austria with just 8 seats and a 1.3 metre x 1.3 metre stage. The minute theatre, which is reminiscent of a garden shed, opened in 2008 and has been performing regularly scheduled shows since 2010.

Longest Marathon Theatre Performance (Team)
This record has been held by Lamb’s Players Theater in the USA since 2014 for their performance of over 50 plays and musicals during their 100 Hours of Stories marathon, which featured An Inspector Calls and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat among many other shows. The record stands at 76 hours, 18 minutes and 25 seconds and they were required to have at least 20 audience members registered at any given time.

Largest Simultaneous Performance of One Show in Multiple Locations
This record is held by Stagecoach Theatre Arts with 66 performances of Glad Rags playing across the UK, US and Germany.

BONUS: Fastest-selling Broadway cast album in iTunes history
In 2010, the Broadway production of The Book of Mormon broke records on iTunes in 2011 when it became the fastest-selling original cast recording in the music retailer's history, charting at #2 on the Billboard Top 200. It made the Top 5 on the Billboard Top 200 charts once more when the show won many Tony Awards in 2011.

Read our list for Another Top 10 World Records in Theatre here.

🎫 Purchase tickets for Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap play in London's West End.

🎫 Purchase tickets for Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre in London.

🎫 Purchase tickets for the London run of The Book of Mormon musical. 

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Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

Ephram is a jack of all trades and enjoys attending theatre, classical music concerts and the opera.