A peek under the hood at London’s Noel Coward Theatre
Imagine a theatre... any theatre. Chances are you’ll have a picture of something very like the Grade 2 listed Noel Coward Theatre in your mind’s eye, with its classical columns and intricate carved stone. The theme continues indoors as you enter a rich cream and gold space featuring magnificent sculpted angels above the stage, all holding beautiful harps.
Accessibility at the Noel Coward Theatre
You’ll find two convenient wheelchair spaces in Box M, handy for two wheelchair users or one wheelchair plus a companion. There are also Royal Circle seats that welcome two chairs or scooters at a time. You’ll find the venue at 85-88 St Martin's Lane, London WC2N 4AU.
An early 20th century masterpiece
The Noel Coward Theatre was built by Charles Wyndham, famous for building the venue that carried his own name, the Wyndham’s Theatre. The proud owner of a spare piece of land behind the Wyndham’s, he built the New Theatre there, which opened in 1903 with a production starring himself and his talented wife Mary Moore.
Designed by the theatre-obsessed architect WGR Sprague, who created a clean, clear classical exterior and a lusciously rich Rococo-style interior, it enjoyed a long run of big hitters including Noel Coward’s first play I'll Leave it to You, in 1920, and George Bernard Shaw's St. Joan four years later.
In 1974 it became the Albery Theatre, hosting the Olivier award winning Children of a Lesser God, A Month in the Country, the smash hit musical Blood Brothers and the legendary Indian version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night with its Asian cast, exotic sets and stunning costumes.
The Old Vic and Sadler's Wells Theatres, made homeless by WW2 bombing raids, adopted the Albery and stayed until their original homes were rebuilt in the 1950s. And in 2005 the theatre changed ownership again, benefiting from a facelift and a new name, the Noel Coward. Their first production, the acclaimed Tony award winner Avenue Q, a masterpiece in puppetry, ran until 2009.
Look out for Charles Wyndham’s ghost, a familiar sight in the theatre’s corridors and dressing rooms.
Big hits at the Noel Coward Theatre
In 1932 a play by the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, ‘Napoleon - The Hundred Days’, ran for just 32 performances. But the theatre’s reputation was saved thanks to a number of luminaries including John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier and Alec Guinness. Their version of Dickens’ Oliver Twist, the musical ran for 2618 performances over seven years in the 1960s and the venue continues to pull in the crowds.
Noel Coward Theatre tickets
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Currently playing at the Noel Coward Theatre
Sheridan Smith plays Titania and David Walliams plays Bottom in this new production of one of Shakespeare's greatest comedies.
Can the King of England hold his nerve to embrace his duty, command his men and lead his country to victory in France? Shakespeare's great play of nationhood investigates the bloody horrors of war and the turbulence of a land in crisis.
Martin McDonagh's comic masterpiece examines an ordinary coming of age in extraordinary circumstances and confirms his position as one of the most original Irish voices to emerge in the second half of the twentieth century.
In 1997, a British film about six out of work Sheffield steelworkers with nothing to lose, took the world by storm. And now they're back, live on stage, only this time, for them, it really has to be. The Full Monty!
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