Palace Theatre

Palace Theatre

Shaftesbury AvenueLondonW1D 5AY
Nearest Tube
Leicester Square/Tottenham Court Road
Nearest Train
Charing Cross

Seating Plan

Click seating plan to see full size version.Palace Theatre Seating Plan

Palace Theatre, London

The Palace Theatre London stands between Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road. The massive red-brick building's colour and structure make it easily distinguishable in the area. The Stalls, Dress Circle, Grand Circle and Balcony together can hold about 1,400 people, making it one of the West End's larger venues. Opening in 1891, only two years after the Lyric, it is the second oldest theatre to open on the street.

Palace Theatre London – A Theatre Born Almost 130 Years Ago

The venue has over a century-old history, beginning in the late 1880s when Richard D'Oyly Carte commissioned the building's construction. Following Thomas Edward Collcutt's design, it opened as the Royal English Opera House in 1891. The theatre's first production was Arthur Sullivan's opera Ivanhoe. It ran for 160 performances, with Andre Messager's La Basoche following the show for a short run. However, Carte did not prepare other works to fill the repertoire and had to sell within its opening year. Under new ownership, the venue was transformed into a music hall and given the new name, the Palace Theatre of Varieties.

Another Name Change

Alfred Butt took over as the manager in 1904. He brought forth several innovators like the elegant singer/pianist Margaret Cooper and phenomenal dancers Maud Allan, among others. The first-ever screened British wildlife film was Oliver G Pike's In Birdland, which premiered here in 1907. The venue's name changed in 1911, this time renamed as The Palace Theatre. With Herman Finck as the musical director, the theatre was well-known for its orchestra, as well as the pretty Palace Girls who put up mesmerising dances. They performed a song and dance number in 1911 called Tonight, which rose in popularity as a romantic instrumental track known today as In The Shadows.

As per the wishes of King George V, the venue hosted Britain's first Royal Variety Performance. The theatre mostly presented revues during WWI and films after the war. In the early part of the 1930s, the building nearly underwent demolition twice but managed to survive. Its most exceptional runs were in the late 20th Century – Jesus Christ Superstar, which ran from 1972 to 1980 for 3,358 performances, and Les Miserables, which moved here in December 1985 and played for 19 years!

Hits at the Theatre in the 21st Century

In 2004, Les Miserables closed, and Lloyd Webber started a refurbishment programme. The project removed the paint covering the Italian marbles, along with restoring the auditorium and the house's front area. In the same year, he premiered The Woman In White musical at the theatre, which ran for 19 months. Later, in 2006, Spamalot by Monty Python opened at the Palace Theatre London and ran until 2009. Priscilla Queen Of The Desert played through 2011, followed by Singin' In The Rain from 2012 to 2013 and The Commitments from 2013 to 2015. Jack Thorne adapted J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter And The Cursed Child into a two-part play that officially opened on 30th July 2016. In June 1960, the venue received a Grade II listed status.

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