London’s Palace Theatre will host the hotly anticipated Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which opens in May 2016.
Located at the intersection between Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue, the Palace Theatre is a large red-brick structure that stands out amongst most other buildings. With a capacity of 1,400 seats spread across four levels, including the Stalls, Dress Circle, Grand Circle and Balcony, the Palace Theatre is one of the larger venues on the West End.
Built in 1891, the building was designed by Thomas Edward Collcutt and commissioned by Richard D’Oyly Carte, who wanted the theatre to become the home of English grand opera. Following Carte’s wish, the theatre opened in January 1891 as the Royal English Opera House, with the first production being Arthur Sullivan’s Ivanhoe. Running for over half a year, the production was a great success, but when it came to an end there was no production to follow. The building soon closed down and was sold by Carte at a loss. However the venue reopened as the Palace Theatre of Varities, becoming a huge success. In 1911, the name of the theatre was eventually altered to the Palace Theatre and became home to a variety of popular musicals.
Previous successful musical theatre productions at the Palace Theatre have included Otto Hardbach’s No, No, Nanette, which features the acclaimed musical numbers “Two Many Rings Around Rosie” and “Peach on the Beach”. Making its debut at the Palace Theatre in 1925, No, No, Nanette ran for an extensive 665 performances.
During the twentieth century, two very successful musicals ran at the Palace Theatre, attracting large audiences. Jesus Christ Superstar opened in 1972, running for an impressive eight years until 1980. The ever popular Les Miserables opened at the Palace Theatre in 1985 and ran for an impressive nineteen years before transferring to Queen’s Theatre in 2004, where it remains today as the world’s longest-running musical.
From March 2009, the large, glittery shoe of Priscilla Queen of the Desert greeted those who entered the Palace Theatre, with the musical playing its final performance on New Year’s Eve 2011. Priscilla was followed by Singin’ In The Rain which impressed audiences for a year from 2012 until June 8th 2013. Derren Brown’s popular show Infamous ran at the Palace Theatre between June 24th and August 17th 2013. In 2013, Roddy Doyle’s musical The Commitments opened on 21st September 2013, closing on 1st November 2015.
Following the closure of The Commitments in November, Derren Brown returned to the Palace Theatre with his new smash-hit show, Miracle. Following Brown, comedian Eddie Izzard presented a four week show for the first time in the West End. Force Majeure Reloaded began on January 18th 2015, quickly selling out and extending for a further two weeks. For the beginning of 2016, the Palace Theatre has gone dark for the first time, awaiting the arrival of the sold-out play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Opening in July 2016, this is the latest in the Harry Potter series and being already sold-out, it is uncertain when or if this show will end!
Access and Facilities
- 2 cloakrooms located at Stalls and Dress Circle levels
- Bars located on each level
- Male and female toilets located on each level
- Fully Air-Cooled
- The Theatre features a Royal Room and a Kitchen room for functions and private events.
- The foyer is accessible via two steps from the street entrance. Access adapted toilets are available by the wheelchair entrance to the building on Shaftesbury Avenue/
- Infrared hearing system available.
Palace Theatre London.org provides a guide to the current show, including videos and reviews. We also describe the location of the theatre with a map of the area included, details on how to purchase tickets, seating plans to help you choose where to sit, hotels near the Palace Theatre and details on tasty restaurants nearby.