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Lyceum Theatre

21 Wellington Street, London, WC2E 7RQ GB

Lyceum Theatre, London

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for The Lion King

Lyceum Theatre History

As many old theatres in London the Lyceum has succumbed to the flames more than once but each time has risen from the ashes again. The first theatre to be built on the site was erected in July 1771 and was designed by James Payne. Located 100 yards from the current site, it opened in 1772 and was used for a variety of entertainments such as boxing, fencing, concerts, public debates.

In 1809, its neighbour The Drury Lane burnt down and its Company was transferred to the Lyceum while it was being rebuilt. This allowed the Lyceum to obtain its first licence from Lord Chamberlain for the presentation of plays. In 1815, the theatre was completely rebuilt by famous architect Samuel Beazley. Unfortunately, when the Drury Lane Company returned to their theatre, the Lyceum couldn't hold on its licence and as many other "minor" theatres suffered from the censorship and licensing law.

In 1830, the Lyceum was struck by fire and it was rebuilt once again by Samuel Beazley. It reopened in 1834 with a portico facing the newly created Wellington Street. In 1856,the Lyceum became the house of the Opera following a third fire in Covent Garden. In 1899 after the management of the theatre had been taken over by Henry Irving, the fire stroke again destroying most of the theatre's assets. This time, it was rebuilt by J.Parkinson and designed by famous Bertie Crewe.

The Lyceum went then through hard times and was almost demolished before the war to give way for a roundabout. Fortunately, this was forgotten and it became the house of live events and live music for such bands as The Who, Bob Marley, The Clash, Iggy Pop and The Kinks!

In 1994, the building was taken over by Apollo leisure who refurbished it completely to receive smash hit musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar and The Lion King.

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