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Originally named the Waldorf Theatre, the theatre earned a resilient reputation during bomb raids in the First World War, putting on productions even when the theatre itself was targeted. During World War II, the theatre was bombed – but plays kept being put on, even amongst the rubble.
The Novello Theatre had a trend of multi-year runs in every decade with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, No Sex Please, We’re British and The Real Thing. The Novello Theatre was the first theatre Queen Elizabeth went to for an evening performance in the West End. The play was Arsenic and Old Lace.
After a two year Rat Pack residency, the theatre closed for 6 months and a new name: the Novello Theatre. It was named after Ivor Novello because the composer/actor lived in a flat above the theatre for 38 years.