Queen's Theatre

Coordinates: 51°30′43″N 0°07′58″W / 51.511944°N 0.132778°W / 51.511944; -0.132778

The Queen's Theatre is a West End theatre located in Shaftesbury Avenue in the City of Westminster. It opened on 8 October 1907 as a twin to the neighbouring Gielgud Theatre which opened ten months earlier. Both theatres were designed by W.G.R. Sprague.


Original plans were to name the venue Central Theatre, however after lengthy debate, it was named The Queen's Theatre and a portrait of Queen Alexandra was hung in the foyer.

The first production at the Queen's Theatre was a comedy by Madeline Lucette Ryley called The Sugar Bowl. It was poorly received and ran for only 36 performances, however the theatre received glowing reviews.

The Stage on 10 October 1907 described the theatre as

Throughout its history, The Queen's Theatre has seen such talents as Peggy Ashcroft, Fred and Adele Astaire, Tallulah Bankhead, Kenneth Branagh, Noel Coward, Henry Daniell, Marlene Dietrich, Robert Donat, Edith Evans, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., John Gielgud, Cedric Hardwicke, Jack Hawkins, Nigel Hawthorne, Celia Johnson, Jane Lapotaire, Alec Guinness, Rachel Kempson, Gertrude Lawrence, Robert Morley, Laurence Olivier, Anthony Quayle, Basil Rathbone, Michael Redgrave, Miranda Richardson, Margaret Rutherford, Fiona Shaw, George Bernard Shaw, Maggie Smith and Sybil Thorndike. Recent notable shows at the Queen's include the Tony Award winning musical Contact; Cyberjam, a production by the Emmy and Tony Award winning creators of Blast!; and The Taming of the Shrew.

In September 1940, a German bomb landed directly on the theatre, destroying the facade and lobby areas. The production at the time was Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca starring Celia Johnson, Owen Nares and Margaret Rutherford. The theatre remained closed until a ₤250,000 restoration was completed by Westwood Sons & Partners almost 20 years later. The auditorium retained its Edwardian decor while the lobbies and exterior were rebuilt in a modern style. The reconstructed theatre opened 8 July 1959 with John Gielgud's solo performance in Shakespeare speeches and sonnets, Ages of Man.

Since April 2004, the theatre has played host to Cameron Mackintosh's production of Les Misérables which transferred after 18 years at the nearby Palace Theatre. The musical celebrated its 20th anniversary at the venue on 8 October 2005 and overtook Cats as the longest running musical of all time a year later on 8 October 2006.

The theatre was Grade II listed by English Heritage in June 1972.

An extensive refurbishment was undertaken in the latter half of 2009 which improved public areas and increased capacity with new seating and boxes reinstated at dress circle level.

Recent and present productions
  • The Hobbit (28 November 2001 - 9 February 2002) by Glyn Robbins from J. R. R. Tolkien's book
  • Mysteries (26 February 2002 - 18 May 2002) adaptation by Speir Opera
  • Umoja: The Spirit of Togetherness (18 June 2002 - 31 August 2002) by Todd Twala, Thenbi Nyandeni and Ian von Memerty
  • Contact (23 October 2002 - 10 May 2003) by Susan Stroman and John Weildman
  • The Rocky Horror Show (23 June 2003 - 5 July 2003) by Richard O'Brien, starring Jonathan Wilkes and John Stalker
  • Cyberjam (23 September 2003 - 3 January 2004)
  • The RSC's The Taming of the Shrew (15 January 2004 - 6 March 2004) by William Shakespeare
  • The RSC's The Tamer Tamed (22 January 2004 - 6 March 2004) by John Fletcher
  • Les Misérables (3 April 2004 — ) by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg


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