Every West End Theatre: The complete A-Z list

By | Posted on 07-Feb-2019

Every West End Theatre: The complete A-Z list

Learn all about the 39 theatres in the West End, as we take you on a whistlestop tour of the venues throughout Theatreland. From the theatre with the smallest capacity to the eldest West End playhouse that’s still standing, impress all your friends with your London theatre knowledge by reading our guide. How many West End theatres have you been to?

All about the West End theatres

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Adelphi TheatreFrom The Sans Pareil Theatre which opened in 1806, it has been demolished and rebuilt twice in 1867 and later in 1930, when it was called the Royal Adelphi Theatre. With the ‘Royal’ title dropped in 1940, the Adelphi welcomes up to 1436 audience members per performance.
Aldwych TheatreTina the MusicalBuilt in 1905 on Aldwych and with 1176 seats, it was designed in an Edwardian style to reflect the time it was built in. Notable moments in the theatre’s history include a 21-year residency of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Ambassadors TheatreWith just 444 seats, the Ambassadors is one of the smallest theatres in the West End, housing intimate productions allowing the audience to get closer to the action. Stomp was at the Ambassadors for 10 years.
Apollo TheatreEverybody’s Talking about JamieOpening its doors in 1901, the Apollo Theatre was recently reopened in 2014 after the ceiling collapsed during a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in the previous year.
Apollo Victoria TheatreWicked With 2384 seats, the Apollo Victoria is one of the largest theatres in the West End. It has been home to grand productions including an 18 year run of Starlight Express, where the theatre was renovated to incorporate a skating rink.
Arts TheatreSixAt a capacity of 350 seats, the Arts Theatre holds the title as the smallest West End playhouse. At first, it was a members-only club, meaning shows would only be performed to those who had been granted access.
Cambridge TheatreMatilda the MusicalOne of five West End theatres to open in 1930, the Cambridge Theatres seats 1283. Restored in 1987 to build upon the ornate designs inside the venue, recent shows at the venue include Jerry Springer – The Opera and the final years of Chicago’s original West End tenure.
Criterion TheatreBuilt to serve as a concert hall in London, the Criterion opened its doors in 1873 welcoming audiences to see comedic operas written by leading figures including Gilbert and Sullivan. Rebuilt at the later end of the 19th century and again renovated during the 1980s, the theatre has 593 seats.
Dominion TheatreThe Prince of EgyptLocated at the end of Tottenham Court Road and close by to Oxford Street, the Dominion stands as one of the largest playhouses with 2069 seats.  Shows including We Will Rock You have stood the test of time at the Dominion, playing for 12 years.
Duchess TheatreThe Play That Goes WrongWith more plays than musical taking place inside the Duchess since it opened in 1929, it has seen a number of famous people on its stage including Michael Gambon and Mark Rylance. It is now home to Mischief Theatre’s first West End show.
Duke of York’s TheatreThe Ocean at the End of the LaneFirst known as the Trafalgar Square Theatre, the venue was renamed in 1895 in a nod to King George V and has since been home to a range of musicals, plays and operas, with no fewer than 40 shows since 2006!
Fortune TheatreThe Woman in BlackOpened in 1924, the Fortune was the first theatre to be built in the capital after World War One. Even though it has a rich history including members of the armed forces visiting in order to watch live shows during World War Two, The Woman in Black’s continuous run is no mean feat, and is currently the second longest-running play in the West End.
Garrick TheatreCity of AngelsNamed after the esteemed British actor David Garrick, the theatre is located at the end of Charing Cross Road near to Trafalgar Square and has a capacity of 718. In recent decades, many comedic plays have ran at the venue, including a four year run of No Sex, Please We’re British.
Gielgud TheatreTo Kill a MockingbirdFirst opened as the Hicks Theatre in 1906, it was later renamed to the Globe before the final rename of the Gielgud in 1994 to commemorate John Gielgud and avoid confusion with the Shakespearean playhouse.
Gillian Lynne TheatreCinderellaRenamed from the New London to the Gillian Lynne in 2018 to memoralise choreographer Gillian Lynne in the West End, the theatre originally opened in 1847 as the Mogul Music Hall.
Harold Pinter TheatreFirst named the Comedy Theatre, the name was changed in 2011 in acknowledgment to the works of Harold Pinter. The venue has a capacity of 796 and recent productions at the venue include a two year run of Sunny Afternoon and the National Theatre transfer of Oslo.
Her Majesty’s TheatreThe Phantom of the OperaThere has been a theatre on the site since 1705, however Her Majesty’s opened its doors in 1897. Designed in a style to reflect its predecessors, Her Majesty’s has welcomed a maximum capacity of 1160 through its door for each performance of The Phantom of the Opera, which has played a continuous run since 1986.
London ColiseumHairsprayBuilt as a “people’s palace of entertainment”, the London Coliseum was initially unsuccessful due to its expensive upkeep. But, it’s been home to variety shows and productions performed by the English National Opera.
London PalladiumWith 2,286 seats, the Palladium first welcomed audience members through its doors in 1910. Ever since, the theatre has gained a reputation for staging televised variety shows including Sunday Night at the London Palladium. Recently, Christmastime at the Palladium has been home to pantomimes.
Lyceum TheatreThe Lion KingEven though there has been a playhouse on the site since 1834, the building was renovated in 1904, newly opening its doors as the Lyceum. Although it was nearly closed at the start of World War Two, the theatre was rescued in 1951 and turned into a ballroom with musicians taking to the stage. The Lion King has played since 1999.
Lyric TheatreThe eldest of six theatres located on Shaftesbury Avenue, the Lyric is full of history with shows being performed at the venue from the late 19th century. The venue still retains its historical appearance today and has seen plenty of comedic operas, musicals and plays on its stage.
Noël Coward TheatreDEAR EVAN HANSENOpening at the turn of the 20th century, the venue has 872 seats and was first called the New Theatre and has been renamed twice with the Albery (1973) and its current name (2005). The theatre was home to the West End premiere of Oliver in 1960, with the production going on to run for 2,618 performances.
Novello TheatreMamma Mia!Originally named the Waldorf Theatre, the theatre is now named after Welsh composer Ivor Novello, as he lived in a flat above the theatre for 38 years.
Palace TheatreHarry Potter and the Cursed ChildWith a capacity of 1,400 people, the Palace was opened in 1891 as the “Royal English Opera House”. Over the 20th century, the theatre began to see musicals appear more frequently with shows including The Sound of Music, Cabaret and the West End premiere of Les Miserables.
Phoenix TheatreCome From AwayThe theatre pened in 1930 with a performance of Private Lives starring Laurence Olivier.  In 1991, the Phoenix was home to Blood Brothers which played for 21 years. Since then, the theatre has been home to shorter-running musicals including Once, Dirty Dancing and Guys and Dolls.
Piccadilly TheatrePretty Woman: The MusicalOpening in 1928, the theatre had to be rebuilt in the 1940s after being destroyed in World War Two. In past decades, Broadway transfers regularly found themselves at the theatre including Man of La Mancha alongside television broadcasts of the ITV variety show Live from the Piccadilly. On 6th November 2019, part of the ceiling at the Piccadilly Theatre collapsed during a performance of Death of a Salesman.
Playhouse TheatreGoodBuilt as the Royal Avenue Theatre in 1882, the theatre had to be rebuilt into the Playhouse Theatre in 1907, however the work killed six people due to part of Charing Cross station collapsing in the wind. The theatre now has a seating capacity of 786 from its original 1,200 seats.
Prince Edward TheatreMary PoppinsOpening in 1930, the theatre was named after Edward VIII, but later became a casino in the mid 1930s. Damaged from World War Two, the building had to be renovated and in 1954, it was eventually reopened as a cinema. Currently, the theatre has housed some of the biggest West End musicals in recent years, including Anything Goes.
Prince of Wales TheatreThe Book of MormonThe theatre has stood in London since the nineteenth cenutry, with more seats added in due to the popularity of going to a show. Now with 1,100 seats, its history includes Barbra Streisand starring in the 1966 production of Funny Girl.
Savoy TheatreOpening in 1929, the Savoy was the first theatre to have lighting done entirely by electricity. Throughout its history, the theatre has had to be renovated twice, with a grand opening in 1993. In recent years, the Savoy has seen a frequent turnover of new West End shows including Legally Blonde and Dreamgirls.
Shaftesbury Theatre& JulietOpening as the Princes Theatre in 1911, the theatre’s name was finally changed to the Shaftesbury in 1962. It reopened with How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying in the same year, but the building had to be closed again in 1973 after the ceiling fell in. In recent years, the playhouse has seen musicals including Hairspray, Rent and West Side Story.
Sondheim TheatreLes MiserablesRenamed after the American composer Stephen Sondheim, the theatre opened in 1907. The theatre was renovated and reopened in 1959 after major destruction during The Blitz. Les Miserables has ran in the venue since 2004, transferring from the Palace Theatre to upkeep its continuous West End tenure and solidify itself as London’s longest-running musical.
St Martin’s TheatreThe MousetrapOpening with a production of the Edwardian comedy Houp La! in 1916, the theatre was built in partnership with the Ambassadors Theatre. The Mousetrap moved to St Martin’s from the Ambassadors in 1974, where it has played ever since and has not closed even with refurbishments taking place in the theatre.
Theatre Royal Drury LaneFrozenThere has been a playhouse on the site since 1663, but the theatre that stands today first opened in 1812. The venue has become heavily associated with musical theatre, with recent shows including 42nd Street, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Miss Saigon. The theatre is currently under refurbishment.
Theatre Royal HaymarketOnly Fools and HorsesFirst built in 1720, it was later rebuilt in 1821. The final West End playhouse to use candle light on stage, many plays and musicals have taken place here welcoming a maximum capacity of 888 including One Man, Two Guvnors and Waiting for Godot.
Trafalgar Studio OneOriginally named the Whitehall Theatre, there have been productions taking place at the site from 1930 including the Whitehall Follies who would perform for the military. In 2003, it was renovated into the Trafalgar Studios, with two studios housing a regularly-updated line up of shows.
Vaudeville TheatreMagic Goes WrongFirst opening in 1870, the building has been redone twice with the current standing in operation since 1926 and was previously the home of Vaudeville-style performances in the West End.
Victoria Palace TheatreHamiltonLocated close by to the Apollo Victoria, the Victoria Palace can seat up to 1517 theatregoers for one performance. Reconstructed in 1910, recent shows at the theatre include Billy Elliot featuring music by Elton John and is currently home to the American sensation Hamilton.
Wyndham’s TheatreAlthough the playhouse opened in 1899, the first noteworthy production in its history was The Boy Friend. Opening in 1954, it ran for over 2,000 performances. Named after the commissioner Charles Wyndham, the building sits in the heart of Leicester Square, close by to the station.
Photo credit: Steve Collis (Flickr) under CC 2.0