Now showing at the Gielgud Theatre
Gielgud Theatre history
From the outside
A magnificent corner building, highly decorated and beautifully ornate, the Gielgud Theatre is absolutely palatial in typically Edwardian style. Inside the seats encircle the stage in a practical, intimate and attractive horseshoe, with an interior a visual feast of cream, coral and gold lit by an immense chandelier.
Garrick Theatre architecture and history
The Garrick theatre first opened in late December 1906, originally built for and called the Hicks Theatre after the famous actor, manager and playwright Seymour Hicks. It was designed by W.G.R. Sprague in classic Louis XVI style, and was built as a sister theatre to the 1907 Queen's Theatre on the adjacent corner of Shaftesbury Avenue.
In 1909, the theatre was renamed The Globe, after the original theatre of that name was knocked down in 1902 to create the Aldwych. The first production was a play written by Winston Churchill’s mother. The theatre’s tabby cat, called Beerbohm, appeared on stage regularly and was incorporated into plays often until he died at the ripe old age of twenty. Look out for his portrait, hung along the corridor near the stalls.
Totally refurbished in 1987, bringing back its splendid circular Regency staircase, oval gallery and tower back to sparkling life, the theatre was finally re-named The Gielgud in 1994, in honour of the British actor Sir John Gielgud and to avoid confusion with the 1997 opening of Shakespeare's re-imagined Globe Theatre on the South Bank of the Thames.
In 2003, Sir Cameron Mackintosh announced plans to refurbish the Gielgud again to create a common entrance with its sister, the Queen's Theatre, which faces magnificent Shaftesbury Avenue.
In 2006 Delfont Mackintosh Theatres took over from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Theatre company and the work on the facade began in early 2007.
Past shows at the Gielgud Theatre
Call It A Day, a popular play by Dodie Smith, ran from 1935 and put on an impressive 509 performances. Terence Frisby's classic, There's a Girl in My Soup, ran for 1,064 performances from 1966, a record that wasn’t broken until Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's production of the Olivier Award-winning comedy Daisy Pulls It Off in 1983. In 1987 the play Lettice and Lovage was a huge hit starring British actress Maggie Smith. The Garrick has shown a handful of Alan Ayckbourn premieres and Oscar Wilde's comedy, An Ideal Husband, was a show stopper in 1992. The Garrick has also presented One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Shakespeare’s Macbeth, The Mikado, The Robin Williams classic Weapons of Self Destruction, the famous musical Hair, Yes Prime Minister and many more stellar performances.
Gielgud Theatre access
The Gielgud Theatre is right next to The Queen’s Theatre, so make sure you get the right door! There’s access for wheelchairs and scooters.
Gielgud Theatre tickets
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35-37 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6AR
- Air cooled
- Disabled toilets
- Infrared hearing loop
- Member of Q-Park scheme
- Wheelchair/scooter access
- Capacity: 970
- Year built: 1906