The top ten newest West End theatres in London
As well as West End theatres that have welcomed theatregoers for centuries, there are London playhouses which have recently opened to the public. Currently, there’s 39 West End theatres with shows open year round, but find out which theatre takes the title as the youngest. How many of these theatres have you visited?
The newest West End theatres
10. Piccadilly Theatre, 1928
Previously stable land in central London, the Piccadilly Theatre opened in 1928. Although it’s yet to reach its West End centenary, the theatre’s been used as a casino and a cinema, making history as the first cinema to screen films with speech running simultaneously. In recent years, the Piccadilly’s been home to new West End musicals including Viva Forever and Ghost, as well as West End revivals of Annie and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Currently, audiences can see the romantic musical Pretty Woman: The Musical at the Piccadilly.
9. Dominion Theatre, October 1929
The first of two theatres to be built in 1929, the Dominion Theatre stands proud at one end of Tottenham Court Road, seating over 2,000 patrons per performance. With its large stage that can fit the entirety of the Fortune Theatre, grand musicals have been welcomed with open arms to the Dominion, including Beauty and the Beast and Queen jukebox musical We Will Rock You. Currently, audiences can see the world premiere of The Prince of Egypt in London, based on the biblical tale of Moses as told in the Old Testament.
8. Duchess Theatre, November 1929
Opening just one month after the Dominion, did you know the Duchess Theatre saw the shortest run of a production, with The Intimate Revue only playing half a performance until the curtain came down. As well as being one of the newest West End theatres, it’s also one of the smallest with under 500 seats. Typically housing limited runs of plays, the Duchess has been home to The Play That Goes Wrong, Mischief Theatre‘s debut smash-hit comedy that’s now in its sixth year.
7. Prince Edward Theatre, April 1930
The first of five theatres to either open or re-open in 1930, the Prince Edward Theatre is named after Edward VIII. But, the theatrical site has been a part of musical history for centuries, with eighteenth-century Austrian composer Mozart living just around the corner for two years. Due to World War Two, the theatre was selected as a prime location to broadcast stage entertainment to active British servicemen around the world. But in recent years, Disney musicals have found a London home at the Prince Edward, including Aladdin and Mary Poppins, with the lovable nanny now back in the West End.
6. Cambridge Theatre – 4th September 1930
Did you know that two London theatres opened their doors in September 1930? The first of these was the Cambridge Theatre, located in Seven Dials. Reaching its 90th birthday this year, the Cambridge has been an intimate opera house and a venue for variety shows and magicians, with stars like Tommy Steele and Bruce Forsyth taking to this stage in the 1960s. Now, it’s common for Olivier Award-winning musicals to be performed there, including Chicago, Jerry Springer: The Opera and Matilda, now one of the longest-running productions in the capital.
5. Phoenix Theatre, 24th September 1930
20 days after the Cambridge welcomed its first audience through its door, West End theatregoers had a new theatre to attend. Once the site of Alcazar Music Hall, the Phoenix Theatre opened with Noel Coward‘s Private Lives, beginning a tradition of Coward’s plays finding their feet at the venue that saw him claim to the Phoenix to be his. Steering away from plays, musicals have now taken over the site, with shows like Once, Bend it Like Beckham and the multi-Olivier Award-winning Come From Away ensuring the theatre’s longevity for decades to come.
4. Apollo Victoria Theatre, 15th October 1930
The following month, London Victoria’s area was treated to a brand new West End venue, as the Apollo Victoria opened its doors in the capital. At the theatre, audiences have been treated to cinema screenings, big band nights and even ballets, as well as an incredible 17-year run of Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s Starlight Express. But, over 10 million theatregoers today will associate the Apollo Victoria with Wicked, the sparkling, spellbinding musical based on The Wizard of Oz that’s thrilled London audiences since 2006.
3. Adelphi Theatre – Re-opened in December 1930
Although the first theatre on the Strand site opened in 1806, the Adelphi Theatre‘s re-opening in December 1930 makes the theatre the third-newest in the West End. It’s seen many musicals through its doors, including A Little Night Music and Me and My Girl, later surviving closure threats after a successful “Save London Theatres Campaign” which was celebrated at the first Olivier Awards.
2. Gillian Lynne Theatre, 1973
Now named after the late British choreographer, the Gillian Lynne Theatre was previously named the New London Theatre. It’s been home to a number of premieres of musicals by Andrew Lloyd Webber, including Cats and School of Rock, as well as the critically-acclaimed National Theatre transfer of War Horse. Later this year, Lloyd Webber will return to the Gillian Lynne with a brand new interpretation of Cinderella, starring Carrie Hope Fletcher, with tickets on sale now.
1. Trafalgar Studios, 2004
The central London site has seen West End performances dating back to World War Two, but the Trafalgar Studios that stand today have only been open since 2004. Inside the building, there are two small auditoriums at 380 seats and 100 seats respectively, also making it the smallest theatre in the capital.