Queen's Theatre
The Queen's Theatre is a West End theatre
West End theatre
West End theatre is a popular term for mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres of London's 'Theatreland', the West End. Along with New York's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English speaking...

 located in Shaftesbury Avenue
Shaftesbury Avenue
Shaftesbury Avenue is a major street in central London, England, named after Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, that runs in a north-easterly direction from Piccadilly Circus to New Oxford Street, crossing Charing Cross Road at Cambridge Circus....

 in the City of Westminster
City of Westminster
The City of Westminster is a London borough occupying much of the central area of London, England, including most of the West End. It is located to the west of and adjoining the ancient City of London, directly to the east of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and its southern boundary...

. It opened on 8 October 1907 as a twin to the neighbouring Gielgud Theatre
Gielgud Theatre
The Gielgud Theatre is a West End theatre, located on Shaftesbury Avenue in the City of Westminster, London, at the corner of Rupert Street. The house currently has 889 seats on three levels.-History:...

 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
Alexandra of Denmark
Alexandra of Denmark was the wife of Edward VII of the United Kingdom...

 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
The Stage
The Stage is a weekly British newspaper founded in 1880, available nationally and published on Thursdays. Covering all areas of the entertainment industry but focused primarily on theatre, it contains news, reviews, opinion, features and other items of interest, mainly to those who work within the...

on 10 October 1907 described the theatre as
A two-tier house, the Queen's holds about 1200 persons, representing some £300 in money. The colour scheme of the walls and roof is white and gold, while green is the hue of the carpets, hangings and upholstery, and of the very charming velvet tableau curtain. From a spacious and lofty entrance-hall, with passages leading down into the stalls, one ascends by a handsome marble staircase to the dress circle, which runs out over the pit; and there is a fine and roomy saloon at the top. Mr Vedrenne makes a point that 7/6 will be charged for seats in the first three rows only of the dress circle, while but 5/- will be the price of the remaining eight rows, also unreserved, in which evening dress will be optional. On the second tier of the Queen's, which is in the Old Italian Renaissance style and in the building of which the cantilever principle
A cantilever is a beam anchored at only one end. The beam carries the load to the support where it is resisted by moment and shear stress. Cantilever construction allows for overhanging structures without external bracing. Cantilevers can also be constructed with trusses or slabs.This is in...

 has been adopted, are the upper circle and the shilling gallery. The auditorium is lighted up agreeably with electric lamps and an electrolier, and ample refreshment room and other accommodation will be found to have been provided

Throughout its history, The Queen's Theatre has seen such talents as Peggy Ashcroft
Peggy Ashcroft
Dame Peggy Ashcroft, DBE was an English actress.-Early years:Born as Edith Margaret Emily Ashcroft in Croydon, Ashcroft attended the Woodford School, Croydon and the Central School of Speech and Drama...

, Fred
Fred Astaire
Fred Astaire was an American film and Broadway stage dancer, choreographer, singer and actor. His stage and subsequent film career spanned a total of 76 years, during which he made 31 musical films. He was named the fifth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute...

 and Adele Astaire
Adele Astaire
Lady Charles Cavendish , better known as Adele Astaire, was an American dancer and entertainer. She was Fred Astaire's elder sister. Her birthdate was often given as 1897 or 1898, but the 1900 U.S...

, Tallulah Bankhead
Tallulah Bankhead
Tallulah Brockman Bankhead was an award-winning American actress of the stage and screen, talk-show host, and bonne vivante...

, Kenneth Branagh
Kenneth Branagh
Kenneth Charles Branagh is an actor and film director from Northern Ireland. He is best known for directing and starring in several film adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays including Henry V , Much Ado About Nothing , Hamlet Kenneth Charles Branagh is an actor and film director from...

, Noel Coward
Noël Coward
Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise".Born in Teddington, a suburb of London, Coward attended a dance academy...

, Henry Daniell
Henry Daniell
Henry Daniell was an English actor, best known for his villainous movie roles, but who had a long and prestigious career on stage as well as in films....

, Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich was a German-American actress and singer.Dietrich remained popular throughout her long career by continually re-inventing herself, professionally and characteristically. In the Berlin of the 1920s, she acted on the stage and in silent films...

, Robert Donat
Robert Donat
Robert Donat was an English film and stage actor. He is best-known for his roles in Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps and Goodbye, Mr...

, Edith Evans
Edith Evans
Dame Edith Mary Evans, DBE was a British actress. She was known for her work on the British stage. She also appeared in a number of films, for which she received three Academy Award nominations, plus a BAFTA and a Golden Globe award.Evans was particularly effective at portraying haughty...

, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Douglas Elton Fairbanks, Jr. KBE was an American actor and a highly decorated naval officer of World War II.-Early life:...

, John Gielgud
John Gielgud
Sir Arthur John Gielgud, OM, CH was an English actor, director, and producer. A descendant of the renowned Terry acting family, he achieved early international acclaim for his youthful, emotionally expressive Hamlet which broke box office records on Broadway in 1937...

, Cedric Hardwicke
Cedric Hardwicke
Sir Cedric Webster Hardwicke was a noted English stage and film actor whose career spanned nearly fifty years...

, Jack Hawkins
Jack Hawkins
Colonel John Edward "Jack" Hawkins CBE was an English actor of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.-Career:Hawkins was born at Lyndhurst Road, Wood Green, Middlesex, the son of master builder Thomas George Hawkins and his wife, Phoebe née Goodman. The youngest of four children in a close-knit family,...

, Nigel Hawthorne
Nigel Hawthorne
Sir Nigel Barnard Hawthorne, CBE was an English actor, perhaps best remembered for his role as Sir Humphrey Appleby, the Permanent Secretary in the 1980s sitcom Yes Minister and the Cabinet Secretary in its sequel, Yes, Prime Minister. For this role he won four BAFTA Awards during the 1980s in the...

, Celia Johnson
Celia Johnson
Dame Celia Elizabeth Johnson DBE was an English actress.She began her stage acting career in 1928, and subsequently achieved success in West End and Broadway productions. She also appeared in several films, including the romantic drama Brief Encounter , for which she received a nomination for the...

, Jane Lapotaire
Jane Lapotaire
Jane Lapotaire is a British actress.She studied at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the 1960s. Her role in the title role of Marie Curie first brought her to wide attention...

, Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
Sir Alec Guinness, CH, CBE was an English actor. He was featured in several of the Ealing Comedies, including Kind Hearts and Coronets in which he played eight different characters. He later won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai...

, Rachel Kempson
Rachel Kempson
Rachel, Lady Redgrave , known primarily by her birth name as Rachel Kempson, was an English actress. She married Sir Michael Redgrave, and was the matriarch of the famous acting dynasty.-Career:...

, Gertrude Lawrence
Gertrude Lawrence
Gertrude Lawrence was an English actress, singer and musical comedy performer known for her stage appearances in the West End theatre district of London and on Broadway.-Early life:...

, Robert Morley
Robert Morley
Robert Adolph Wilton Morley, CBE was an English actor who, often in supporting roles, was usually cast as a pompous English gentleman representing the Establishment...

, Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM was an English actor, director, and producer. He was one of the most famous and revered actors of the 20th century. He married three times, to fellow actors Jill Esmond, Vivien Leigh, and Joan Plowright...

, Anthony Quayle
Anthony Quayle
Sir John Anthony Quayle, CBE was an English actor and director.-Early life:Quayle was born in Ainsdale, Southport, in Lancashire to a Manx family....

, Basil Rathbone
Basil Rathbone
Sir Basil Rathbone, KBE, MC, Kt was an English actor. He rose to prominence in England as a Shakespearean stage actor and went on to appear in over 70 films, primarily costume dramas, swashbucklers, and, occasionally, horror films...

, Michael Redgrave
Michael Redgrave
Sir Michael Scudamore Redgrave, CBE was an English stage and film actor, director, manager and author.-Youth and education:...

, Miranda Richardson
Miranda Richardson
Miranda Jane Richardson is an English stage, film and television actor. She has been nominated for two Academy Awards, and has won two Golden Globes and a BAFTA during her career....

, Margaret Rutherford
Margaret Rutherford
Dame Margaret Taylor Rutherford DBE was an English character actress, who first came to prominence following World War II in the film adaptations of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, and Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest...

, Fiona Shaw
Fiona Shaw
Fiona Shaw, CBE is an Irish actress and theatre director. Although to international audiences she is probably most familiar for her minor role as Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter films, she is an accomplished classical actress...

, George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60...

, Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
Dame Margaret Natalie Smith, DBE , better known as Maggie Smith, is an English film, stage, and television actress who made her stage debut in 1952 and is still performing after 59 years...

 and Sybil Thorndike
Sybil Thorndike
Dame Agnes Sybil Thorndike CH DBE was a British actress.-Early life:She was born in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire to Arthur Thorndike and Agnes Macdonald. Her father was a Canon of Rochester Cathedral...

. Recent notable shows at the Queen's include the Tony Award
Tony Award
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...

 winning musical Contact
Contact (musical)
Contact: The Musical is a musical "dance play" that was developed by Susan Stroman and John Weidman, with its "book" by Weidman and both choreography and direction by Stroman. It ran both off-Broadway and on Broadway in 1999 - 2000. It consists of three separate one-act dance...

; Cyberjam, a production by the Emmy
Emmy Award
An Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .A majority of Emmys are presented in various...

 and Tony Award winning creators of Blast!; and The Taming of the Shrew
The Taming of the Shrew
The Taming of the Shrew is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1590 and 1591.The play begins with a framing device, often referred to as the Induction, in which a mischievous nobleman tricks a drunken tinker named Sly into believing he is actually a nobleman himself...


In September 1940, a German bomb
The Blitz
The Blitz was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, during the Second World War. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed...

 landed directly on the theatre, destroying the facade
A facade or façade is generally one exterior side of a building, usually, but not always, the front. The word comes from the French language, literally meaning "frontage" or "face"....

 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
Les Misérables (musical)
Les Misérables , colloquially known as Les Mis or Les Miz , is a musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg, based on the novel of the same name by Victor Hugo....

which transferred after 18 years at the nearby Palace Theatre
Palace Theatre, London
The Palace Theatre is a West End theatre in the City of Westminster in London. 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...

. The musical celebrated its 20th anniversary at the venue on 8 October 2005 and overtook Cats
Cats (musical)
Cats is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot...

as the longest running musical of all time a year later on 8 October 2006.

The theatre was Grade II listed by English Heritage
English Heritage
English Heritage . is an executive non-departmental public body of the British Government sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport...

 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
    J. R. R. Tolkien
    John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College,...

    The Hobbit
    The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, better known by its abbreviated title The Hobbit, is a fantasy novel and children's book by J. R. R. Tolkien. It was published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim, being nominated for the Carnegie Medal and awarded a prize from the New York Herald...

  • 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
    Susan Stroman
    Susan Stroman is an American theatre director, choreographer, film director, and performer. She has won the Tony Award for both her choreography and direction, notably for the stage musical The Producers.-Early years:...

     and John Weildman
  • The Rocky Horror Show
    The Rocky Horror Show
    The Rocky Horror Show is a long-running British horror comedy stage musical, which opened in London on 19 June 1973. It was written by Richard O'Brien, produced and directed by Jim Sharman. It came eighth in a BBC Radio 2 listener poll of the "Nation's Number One Essential Musicals"...

    (23 June 2003 - 5 July 2003) by Richard O'Brien
    Richard O'Brien
    Richard Timothy Smith , better known under his stage name Richard O'Brien, is an English writer, actor, television presenter and theatre performer. He is perhaps best known for writing the cult musical The Rocky Horror Show and for his role in presenting the popular TV show The Crystal Maze...

    , starring Jonathan Wilkes
    Jonathan Wilkes
    Jonathan Wilkes is an English television presenter, actor and musician. Jonny Wilkes is currently performing as Billy Flynn in Chicago at The Cambridge Theatre, London. He is also the best friend of singer Robbie Williams...

     and John Stalker
    John Stalker
    John Stalker is a former Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, now residing in Lymm. He headed the Stalker Inquiry that investigated the shooting of suspected members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army in 1982. He has also had a television and literary career.-Career: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
    William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

  • The RSC's The Tamer Tamed (22 January 2004 - 6 March 2004) by John Fletcher
    John Fletcher (playwright)
    John Fletcher was a Jacobean playwright. Following William Shakespeare as house playwright for the King's Men, he was among the most prolific and influential dramatists of his day; both during his lifetime and in the early Restoration, his fame rivalled Shakespeare's...

  • Les Misérables
    Les Misérables (musical)
    Les Misérables , colloquially known as Les Mis or Les Miz , is a musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg, based on the novel of the same name by Victor Hugo....

    (3 April 2004 — Present) by Alain Boublil
    Alain Boublil
    Alain Boublil is a musical theatre lyricist and librettist, best known for his collaborations with the composer Claude-Michel Schönberg for musicals on Broadway and London's West End...

     and Claude-Michel Schönberg
    Claude-Michel Schönberg
    Claude-Michel Schönberg is a French record producer, actor, singer, songwriter, and musical theatre composer, best known for his collaborations with the lyricist Alain Boublil.These include the musicals:...

External links

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