History of Palace Theatre

Did you know that there are two seats left in the auditorium for ghosts? Whether or not you believe in ghost stories, two seats are permanently bolted upright for the ghosts to take their seats and watch a performance. One ghost is an unknown ballerina, with paranormal hunters claiming that they've seen her pirouetting on the stage, as well as Ivor Novello, a Welsh composer whose name is honoured in the Novello Theatre.

First opening in 1891, the theatre's name was later changed to the Palace Theatre of Varieties the following year. The Palace Theatre of Varieties saw world-class variety shows and experimental acts proving popular, including bare-legged dancers and singing piano players. The venue has a rich, varied history, hosting the first Royal Variety Performance in 1912.

By the 1920s, the Palace Theatre became a prestigious location in the heart of the West End. It held the third-longest run of the 1920s, the 665-performance No No Nanette, and hosted the Marx Brothers in 1922 performing a Broadway medley. Judi Dench starred in the original London production of Cabaret in 1968.

The Sound of Music ran for 2,385 performances, while Les Misérables ran from 1985 to 2004, before transferring to the Queen’s Theatre, now re-named the Sondheim Theatre. It was at this point that the theatre was refurbished, with its paint stripped away to reveal glorious marble walls that were restored for its reopening.

It’s since played host to larger-than-life shows Spamalot and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and is now home to the record-breaking London production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Where is Palace Theatre

109-113 Shaftesbury Avenue London W1D 5AY