The Palace Theatre London is located at the intersection between Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue, and is a large and imposing red-brick structure that stands out amongst the other buildings in the vicinity. Built in 1891, the Palace Theatre 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. As was Carte’s wish, the theatre opened with the name the Royal English Opera House in January of 1891 with the first production being Arthur Sullivan’s Ivanhoe. The opera ran for over half a year and was a great success, but when it finished, Carte had no production to follow it and so he had to close down the theatre. The venue was then sold by Carte at a loss and opened 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 the home to many popular musicals.
The Palace Theatre has around 1,400 seats spread across four levels, the Stalls, Dress Circle, Grand Circle and Balcony.
As the theatre became the Palace Theatre in the early part of the 20th Century, the venue began to host successful musical theatre productions. Otto Hardbach’s No, No, Nannette, featuring the acclaimed musical numbers “Two Many Rings Around Rosie” and “Peach on the Beach”, made it’s debut at the Palace Theatre in 1925 and ran for 665 performances.
The later part of the twentieth century saw two very successful runs at the Palace Theatre. The first was Jesus Christ Superstar which ran from 1972 until 1980, and the second was Les Miserables which opened at the Palace in 1985 and ran for nineteen years, transferring to Queen’s Theatre in 2004 where it remains today as the world’s longest-running musical of all time.
From March 2009, the large, glittery shoe of Priscilla Queen of the Desert greeted those who entered the Palace Theatre, and the show recently played its final performance on New Year’s Eve 2011. Priscilla was followed by Singin’ In The Rain which opened in 2012 and closed on 8th June 2013. Derren Brown’s latest show, Infamous ran at the Palace Theatre between June 24th and August 17th 2013.
The Commitments opened on 21st September 2013.
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.