Location: 2 Charing Cross Road
Currently Showing: Rip It Up
Access: Leicester Square
Stage Door: To the left of the main theatre (as you look at it)
Ownership: Nimax Theatres
In 1889, the Garrick Theatre as we know it today opened, funded by W S Gilbert who was a playwright. Originally, the theatre could seat 800 people, however, the gallery has since been closed and it now has a capacity of 565 people over its three levels.
The first play to be shown at the Garrick Theatre was the Profligate by Arthur Wing Pinero which starred the theatre’s manager at the time, John Hare. In 1900, Arthur Bouchier took over the management of the theatre, and his wife, Violet Varnbrugh, starred in a series of successful productions, ranging in genre.
In 1968, the theatre was under threat (along with other nearby theatres the Vaudiville, Lyceum, Duchess and Adelphi Theatres) from a proposed redevelopment of the Covent Garden area by the Greater London Council. However, a campaign by Equity, the Musicians’ Union and theatre owners led to the scheme being abandoned.
In 1982, the Garrick was home to No Sex Please, We’re British for four years until it transferred to the Duchess Theatre. It was also a venue for the acclaimed An Inspector Calls in 1995. In 2000, the theatre was purchased by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Group before becoming a Nimax Theatres venue in 2005.
The Garrick Theatre is located on Charing Cross Road which is very close to Leicester Square where there are numerous bars, cafes and restaurants. Trafalgar Square is also very close by.
Literally next door to the theatre is the Garrick Arms which is a very nice pub perfect for pre-theatre drinks or a bite to eat. Directly across the road is a Bella Italia which has a nice outdoor seating area which is great in the summer for people watching.
The Garrick Theatre itself is a very nice venue. The dress circle bar is the first to open, around an hour before the show. In the summer, the doors to the balcony off this bar are open with views out over Charing Cross Road.
The auditorium opens around 40 minutes before shows. The stalls bar is at the back of the auditorium with men’s and women’s toilets also located at the back. Maintenance of the theatre is very good with the auditorium, toilets and bars being very clean.
The premium seats are the central ones from Row C to H. These offer a perfect view of the stage. However, for those with lower budgets, the front row is excellent as it gets you very close to the performance and, because of the height of the stage, it is cheaper.
Further back in the stalls there are a lot of seats with restricted views because of pillars to support the next level. Seats such as N2 to 6 and N 18 to 22 and the seats behind them have not got a great view and usually have a restriction of some kind either by a pillar or the overhang of the Dress Circle.
Row G of the stalls has a lot of legroom. This is because of a thick, supporting, stone pillar which comes down here. So for those with longer legs or large bags, this row is perfect as it still provides a premium view and even the ends of row are unobstructed.
Where to buy tickets
Tickets can be bought direct from the Nimax Theatres’ website where you will pay face value plus a booking feeing.