Location: 7 Upper St Martin’s Lane
Currently Showing: Beginning
Access: Leicester Square (Piccadilly line)
Stage Door: Tower Court, make one left out of the main entrance
Ownership: Private (Proposed: Delfont Mackintosh)
The Ambassadors Theatre, along with the neighbouring St Martin’s Theatre, was designed by W G R Sprague. It was built Kingerlee and Sons of Oxford and opened on 5th June 1913 with Monckton Hoffe’s Panthea. The Ambassadors was built with the intention of being an intimate, smaller theatre, which is situated opposite the renowned restaurant, The Ivy.
In 1935, Vivien Leigh made her West End debut in The Mask of Virtue. It was in this production which her future husband, Laurence Olivier, first saw her perform. Perhaps the theatre’s most famous production was Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, which started here in 1952 before moving to the St Martin’s Theatre in 1974, where it is still running.
In 1996, the Theatre was purchased by the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) and three years later, it was renamed the New Ambassadors Theatre which hosted niche works not normally seen outside smaller, fringe venues. It soon reverted to playing commercially viable material. The theatre was home to Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd for five months. It was also a venue for Whipping It Up which starred Richard Wilson.
In 2007, ATG sold the theatre to Stephen Waley-Cohen, who renamed it the Ambassadors Theatre and also extensively refurbished it. It was host to The Little Shop of Horrors, which transferred from the Menier Chocolate Factory and starred Sheridan Smith and Alex McGowen.
In 2014, it was announced Waley-Cohen would sell the venue to Delfont Mackintosh, who plan to remodel the existing building, with the intention of renaming it the Sondheim Theatre and it will be a venue for new and exciting productions.
The Ambassadors Theatre is located on the corner of Upper St Martin’s Lane and West Street. It is opposite the St Martin’s Theatre (currently showing The Mousetrap). Shaftesbury Avenue is a short distance away, which is home to six theatres (Apollo, Lyric, Gielgud, Queen’s, Shaftesbury and Palace) and is very famous in the West End.
Within ten minutes’ walk of the theatre are: Leicester Square which has many bars, cafes and restaurants with outdoor space; Piccadilly Circus; Regent and Oxford Street are excellent for shopping; and Covent Garden which has many bars and restaurants.
Our favourite restaurants nearby are:
- Getti – Jermyn Street, Italian, pizza, pasta, reasonable price
- The Terrace, Le Meridien Hotel – Piccadilly, British cuisine, expensive
- Sartori – Great Newport Street, Italian, pizza, pasta, reasonable price
- 21 – Covent Garden, Italian, outdoor seating
In the stalls, the best seats are from Row C to M. Row B is cheaper due to the height of the stage. Row N backwards has a restricted view due to the overhang of the balcony.
In the balcony, the ten centre seats of rows A and B are the ‘circle premium’ seats which are actually more expensive than the ‘stalls premium’ seats.
Where to buy tickets
The best place to buy tickets for Beginning is directly through the Ambassadors Theatre’s website where you will buy the tickets at face value and select your own seats from the seating chart.