Now showing at the Noel Coward Theatre
Noel Coward Theatre history
From the outside
From the outside the Grade 2 listed Noel Coward Theatre is a masterpiece in classical architecture, with decorative columns and fancy stone carving. On the inside it’s a visual feast of vanilla and gold with a stunning sculpture of angels, holding harps, set above the stage.
Noel Coward Theatre architecture and history
The Noel Coward Theatre was built by Charles Wyndham, who had already built the Wyndham’s Theatre and had a spare parcel of land directly behind it. He decided to build another theatre, which opened in 1903 as the New Theatre, and whose first production starred himself and his wife Mary Moore.
The building was designed by architect W.G.R. Sprague, who decided upon a classical exterior with a Rococo-style interior.
After a long and illustrious history including smash hits I'll Leave it to You in 1920, Coward's first play, and George Bernard Shaw's St. Joan with Sybil Thorndike in 1924, the theatre changed its name in 1973 to the Albery Theatre. In this guise it hosted popular shows like the Olivier award winning Children of a Lesser God, produced Dame Helen Mirren starring in A Month in the Country and was home to a stint by the musical Blood Brothers. Plus, of course, the historic production of Twelfth Night, set in India with a 100% Asian cast, which played to a full house every night.
The theatres housing the Old Vic and Sadler's Wells Theatre companies were destroyed by bombs in the Second World War and both companies took the Albery as their home right through to the 1950s, when their original theatres were rebuilt.
In 2005 the theatre changed ownership again and was treated to an overhaul, as well as being re-named again as the Noel Coward, opening in 2006. The first production under the new name was the enormously popular and acclaimed Tony award winner Avenue Q, whose puppetry wowed audiences until 2009.
The Noel Coward Theatre is currently managed by Delfont Mackintosh Theatres Ltd.
Hauntings at the Noel Coward Theatre
Apparently the spirit of the building’s creator and original manager, Sir Charles Wyndham, has been seen numerous times in the theatre’s corridors and dressing rooms.
Past shows at the Noel Coward Theatre
In 1932 the Noel Coward theatre hosted a play written by Benito Mussolini, the fascist dictator, called Napoleon - The Hundred Days. Apparently it was awful and closed after just thirty two performances! But famous faces like John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier and Alec Guinness provided redemption, as did Coward’s excellent plays. Notably, the theatre’s production of Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist, the musical, ran and ran, achieving 2618 performances over a glittering seven year stretch during the 1960s.
Noel Coward Theatre access
The Noel Coward Theatre offers two wheelchair spaces in Box M of the auditorium, perfect for either two wheelchair users or one wheelchair plus a companion. You’ll also find seats in the Royal Circle for two wheel chairs or scooters at a time.
Noel Coward Theatre tickets
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Noel Coward Theatre
85-88 St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4AU
- Air conditioned
- Disabled toilets
- Infrared hearing loop
- Member of Q-Park scheme
- Wheelchair/scooter access
- Capacity: 886
- Year built: 1903