Friday, 13 December 2013

Theatre Royal Haymarket London

Theatre Address & Map

8 Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4HT
Nearest Tube Station: Piccadilly Circus

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

Seating Description

The theatre seats 888, and seating is split into stalls, dress circle, upper circle and gallery.  The stalls have a fair rake. Stalls boxes and dress circle boxes offer a fair view of the stage, with only a small amount not visible. The grand circle has a steep rake, making up for distance from the stage. The gallery is set behind the upper circle, and quite high up. Its seats are benches rather than individual seats.

Theatre History

There has been a theatre on the site of the Theatre Royal, Haymarket since 1720. The first theatre was called the Little Theatre, Haymarket, built by carpenter John Potter. Due to the Patent Theatres act, Potter was unable to run the theatre, leasing it to anyone who could fill it. Henry Fielding was most successful, with his company of ‘Mogul’s Comedians’. In 1766, Samuel Foote was able to finally acquire a patent for the theatre, as a consolation for losing his leg during an unfortunate stage accident for which Lord Mexborough felt responsible. With this patent, many construction enhancements finally took place. The second theatre on the site was built slightly south of the first, designed by architect John Nash. It was named the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. It was in this theatre that the first matinee performance in London was staged, which has now become a valuable feature of West End theatre.

The exterior’s famous pillars make a grand, imposing affair, and remain today. However, the interior was not as well liked, and has been converted many times. In 1879, design work for C. J. Phipps, one of the most celebrated architects of the time, was commissioned by the Bancrofts, who had taken over management after leaving the nearby Prince of Wales Theatre. At the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, he made the first totally enclosed proscenium stage, and replaced the standing pit with stalls.  Under the management of Beerbohm Tree in 1895, the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, hosted premieres of Oscar Wilde’s plays A Woman of No Importance and An Ideal Husband.

In the 20th and 21st century, as in the past, the theatre is best known for its drama, showing only occasional short-running musicals, which do include Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Acorn Antiques the Musical. The Theatre Royal, Haymarket has seen notable productions of plays by Noel Coward, Tennessee Williams, Tom Stoppard and George Bernard Shaw, and hosted famous names such as Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, Judi Dench, David Suchet, and on a number of occasions Ralph Fiennes.

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