Noel Coward Theatre

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About Noel Coward Theatre

Originally managed by Sir Charles Wyndham, his ghost has been spotted roaming the Noël Coward Theatre’s corridors and dressing rooms.

Back in 1932, the theatre put on a play written by Benito Mussolini, the fascist Italian dictator. Entitled Napoleon - The Hundred Days, it closed after just 32 performances.

It’s only been called the Noël Coward Theatre since 2006 – previously named the Albery Theatre (after the Albery family who managed it for much of the twentieth century) and the New Theatre.

Even though it’s named after Noël Coward, his first play at the theatre bombed and closed after just five weeks.

History

The Noël Coward Theatre was built thanks to lucky circumstances more than anything else – Charles Wyndham, who’d already built Wyndham’s Theatre next door, had a spare piece of land he didn’t know what to do with. So why not build another theatre? He did exactly this and opened it in 1903 as the New Theatre, with himself and his wife in starring roles in its first production Rosemary.

This unplanned theatre ended up attracting the likes of John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier and the debut of Alec Guinness, not to mention Noël Coward’s plays. But perhaps the New Theatre’s greatest achievement was having the guts to put on an unknown musical based on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist; it paid off, as the musical Oliver! ran for 2,618 performances – more than seven years – in the 1960s.

Changing its name in 1973 to the Albery Theatre, its biggest hits included the Olivier-award-winning play Children of a Lesser God, A Month in the Country with Helen Mirren and three years of the still-playing Liverpool musical Blood Brothers. An especially unique production was its Indian Twelfth Night which filled all seats every night.

With a change of ownership in 2005, the Albery Theatre received an all-over full makeover and was given a new name – the Noël Coward Theatre – to match its new look. Proving it could still spot winners, its first production was the multiple Tony Award-winning, profanity-laden puppet musical Avenue Q, which ran there until 2009 before transferring to its next door neighbour, Wyndham’s Theatre.

Where is Noel Coward Theatre

85-88 St Martin's Lane London WC2N 4AU