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Palace Theatre

Shaftesbury Avenue, London, UK W1D 5AY

Palace Theatre Google Location Map Google Map: Google Location Map
Palace Theatre Seating Plan Seating Plan: Seating Plan Open in new window
Nearest Tube Station Tube Station: Leicester Square (approx. 150m)
Parking Parking: MasterPark at China Town. NCP at Upper St Martin’s Lane.
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Venue Information:
Guide Dogs Guide Dogs:

Guide dogs allowed inside the auditorium, alternatively staff can dog-sit (maximum of 2 guide dogs per performance).

Sound Amplification Infra-Red:

Infra-red system with 6 headsets, available from Box Office. Induction loop at box office.

Disabled Wheelchair Access Disabled Access:

No steps to the auditorium through a side EXIT on Shaftesbury Avenue. One 3cm step into the theatre and a slight incline to the Stalls which has 1 space for a wheelchair/scooter user and their companion at W27. Transfer seating available to any Stalls aisle seat (maximum of 4 wheelchairs and 1 scooter can be stored at back of Stalls).

Toilets Toilets:

Adapted toilet by wheelchair users entrance.

Steps Steps:

2 steps up to the foyer, through a set of double swing doors. Box Office level access through first door on Shaftesbury Avenue. Box office with lowered counter for easy wheelchair access. All stairs have highlights and handrails on both sides. 3 steps down from the foyer to the Stalls, 30 steps up to the Dress Circle, 56 to the Upper Circle, 77 to the Balcony, which is very steep. Theatre open 45 mins before performance.

Air Conditioning Air Conditioning: Yes
Venue Owner Owner: Palace Theatre London Ltd

The Palace Theatre, is a West End theatre in the City of Westminster. It is an imposing red-brick building that dominates the west side of Cambridge Circus, and is located near the intersection of Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road.

Commissioned by impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte in the late 1880s, it was designed by Thomas Collcutt. Carte intended it to be the home of English grand opera, much as his Savoy Theatre had been built as a home for English light opera, beginning with the Gilbert and Sullivan series. The foundation stone, laid by his wife Helen in 1888, can still be seen on the fatade of the theatre, almost at ground level to the right of the entrance. The Palace Theatre's current capacity is 1,400.

The theatre opened as the "Royal English Opera House" in January 1891 with Arthur Sullivan's Ivanhoe. No expense was spared to make the production a success, including a double cast and "every imaginable effect of scenic splendour" (Hesketh Pearson, Gilbert and Sullivan). It ran for 160 performances. However, this was not enough to sustain the venture. Sir Henry Wood, who had been rTpTtiteur for the production, recalled in his autobiography that "[if] Carte had had a repertory of six operas instead of only one, I believe he would have established English opera in London for all time. Towards the end of the run of Ivanhoe I was already preparing the Flying Dutchman with EugFne Oudin in the name part. He would have been superb. However, plans were altered and the Dutchman was shelved." ('My Life of Music', Victor Gollancz Ltd, London 1938) Carte sold the theatre within a year, and it was renamed the Palace Theatre of Varieties.

The name of the theatre was finally changed to The Palace Theatre in 1911. On March 11, 1925, the musical comedy No, No, Nanette opened at the Palace Theatre starring Binnie Hale and George Grossmith, Jr.. The run of 665 performances made it the third longest running West End musical of the 1920s. The Palace Theatre was also the venue for Fred Astaire's final stage musical Gay Divorce which opened there on November 2, 1933.

The last decades of the twentieth century saw two exceptional runs at The Palace: Jesus Christ Superstar and Les MisTrables. The latter ran for eighteen years, having transferred from the Barbican Centre on December 4, 1985. The show is still running at the Queen's Theatre just 100 metres further up Shaftesbury Avenue, having transferred there in April 2004. On October 8, 2006, it became the longest running musical in the world, overtaking the former record set by CATS.

In August 1983, Andrew Lloyd-Webber announced that he had purchased the freehold of the theatre for รบ1.3 million and subsequently set out on a series of works to restore the theatre. During work on the auditorium, a layer of plum-coloured paint was removed, revealing the famous marble and onyx panels to be untouched. Following the transfer of Les Miserables, the theatre was greatly refurbished, marble walls uncovered, restored, repainted, new chandeliers, cleaned etc. This was followed by a short 6-week season of illusionist Derren Brown following his successful UK tour. Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Woman in White received its world premiere on 15 September 2004 and ran for 19 months to 25 February 2006. The show outlived the Broadway version, playing at Broadway's Marquis Theatre, where it opened in November 2005, by 6 days. Bill Kenwright's production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman's musical Whistle Down The Wind played from 15 March - 12 August 2006.