Theatre Address & Map
109-113 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 5AY
Nearest tube station: Leicester Square
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- Disabled toilets
- Infrared hearing loop
- Wheelchair accessible
Seating DescriptionThe theatre seats 1400, and seating is split into stalls, dress circle, grand circle and balcony. The stalls, dress circle and grand circle are all split into left and right blocks by a central aisle, and the balcony is split into three blocks.
There are boxes at dress circle and grand circle level at the front of the theatre. A and C at dress circle level, and G at grand circle level have the best view. The balcony is particularly high up above the stage, and the rake is very steep.
Theatre HistoryThe Palace Theatre was built by impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte in 1891. Since it was intended to stage grand opera, he named it The Royal English Opera House. However, very little opera, other than the opening Ivanhoe, was performed. In 1892, he sold the theatre to Sir Augustus Harris, of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. At this time, it was renamed The Palace Theatre of Varieties. In 1983, Charles Morton took over as managing director, and it was under him that the theatre began to make its name as a leading variety performance venue. In 1921, the Palace Theatre hosted the first Royal Variety Performance. In the 20th and 21st century, The Palace Theatre has staged many musicals and revues. In Gay Divorce, Fred Astaire gave his last British performance before moving to Hollywood.
In the Second World War, the theatre suffered extensive bomb damage, but continued to show productions nevertheless. After the war, under the management of Emile Littler and Tom Arnold, The Palace Theatre became home to a variety of musicals, revues and Shakespeare performances. More recently, The Palace theatre has hosted the original productions of The Sound of Music and Jesus Christ Superstar. The Palace Theatre is best known for its long run of Les Misérables, which ran a massive 19 years, from 1985, to 2004, at which point it transferred to the Queen’s theatre. This provided opportunity for the theatre to undergo major refurbishment to restore some of the building’s original splendour. Since 2005, the Palace Theatre has been owned by The Really Useful Group.