Monday, 9 December 2013

The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane London

Theatre Address & Map

Catherine Street, London, WC2B 5JF
Nearest tube station: Covent Garden

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  • Air conditioned
  • Bar
  • Disabled toilets
  • Infrared hearing loop
  • Toilets
  • Wheelchair accessible

Seating Description

The auditorium seats approximately 2,220, and seating is split into stalls, dress circle, upper circle and the balcony. The stage is low, so the front row day seats in the stalls are recommended as good value for money. In general, this theatre suffers from a low rake at all tiers, making seats at the back of all levels too low for comfort. Seats at the sides of the upper circle and the balcony and the back of the balcony have partially obstructed viewing angles.

Bar Facilities

There are bars at foyer, stalls and dress circle level. You can expect to pay £.4.50 for beer and wine, or £2.00 for soft drinks. Ice cream, sold in in the auditorium during the interval, is £3.20.

Theatre History

A theatre has been located on the current site of The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane since 1663, making it the oldest theatre site in London. The initial Theatre Royal was built in the early years of the Restoration, at the behest of Thomas Killigrew, named ‘The Theatre Royal in Bridges Street’. It burned down in 1672, but Killigrew rebuilt a design by Christopher Wren, renamed as the ‘Theatre Royal, Drury Lane’. This building lasted an epic 120 years, under a number of resident directors including the 18th century playwright Richard Brindsey Sheridan. The scale of Sheridan’s vision was such that in 1791, he demolished the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, and replaced it with a much larger theatre on the same site. However, the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane was ill-fated, because just 15 years later, despite claims of a ‘fireproof theatre’ another of the Theatre Royals fell prematurely, due to fire.

Today’s theatre opened in 1812, making it the longest standing of all the four Drury Lane theatres. Prominent runs include My Fair Lady, which opened on the boards of the Theatre Royal in 1958, and in 1989 Miss Saigon started a run that would last 10 years. One of the quaint traditions of the Theatre Royal, is that on the 12th Night of each year, a ‘Baddley’ cake is baked to remember Robert Baddley, who bequeathed money to the theatre on his death during a run of Sheridan’s play, School for Scandal in 1794.

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