Portugal Street, London, WC2A 2HT
An unassuming modern concrete block from the outside, the Peacock Theatre is used for London School of Economics university lectures during the day. Inside you’ll find a well- equipped space with fan shaped seating and open stage with excellent views wherever you sit, used exclusively by the Sadler’s Wells dance company at night.
You’ll find the disabled access door on Kingsway. There are two wheelchair spaces at the back of the Dress Circle, each with room for companions, and you’ll find convenient transfer seats in the aisles. There’s a handy infra-red system and you’re very welcome to take your guide dogs into the auditorium with you. The address: Portugal Street, London WC2A 2HT.
Stand outside the Peacock and imagine the scene 350 or so years ago in 1660. You’d see the Vere Street theatre, curiously also known as Gibbon’s Tennis Court, which staged Shakespeare’s plays and was the first ever theatrical venue to allow a female on the stage.
The Vere was the first theatre on the site. Since then it has changed names six times, from London Opera House to the National Theatre of England, Stoll Theatre, Stoll Picture Theatre, The Royalty Theatre and finally, the Peacock. The original building suffered serious fire damage before re-opening as the 2,600 seat London Opera House, competing fiercely with the Royal Opera House nearby. The ROH won the battle and the venue closed in 1912 before rising from the ashes yet again as the Stoll Picture Theatre, showing silent movies screened with support by a full in-house orchestra. It closed again in 1957 and the building was demolished completely to make way for a modern office building.
In deference to the site’s theatrical past the new owners created a small theatre in the basement, opening in 1960 and called The Royalty Theatre, producing a series of drag shows before transforming itself into a TV studio where the TV show This is Your Life was filmed.
The London School of Economics eventually bought the building and renamed it The Peacock Theatre, after which the Sadler’s Wells dance company took it on as their London base. These days it’s a student lecture hall by day, a dedicated dance venue by night for the Sadler’s Wells company.
In the 1930s a water tank under the stage housed live dolphins. If you hear spooky dolphin noises while you’re there, you might just be hearing their sad, ghostly calls for freedom reaching across time and space...
In its heyday as The Royalty, the theatre entertained sell-out crowds enjoying Oh Calcutta and Bubbling Brown Sugar. The Rat Pack drew thousands in 2002 and Doldrum Bay premiered there in’03.
You’ll find a wide variety of seat types and prices here on site, with the full range of Peacock Theatre tickets available, from low cost to premier.