London Coliseum

Location: 38 St Martin’s Lane

Currently Showing: Operas

Access: Leicester Square

Stage Door: Bedordbury (take two right out of the main entrance)

Ownership: English National Opera


Social Media: Twitter


The London Coliseum opened on 24th December 1904 as the London Coliseum Theatre of Varieties.  It was designed by Frank Matcham for impresario Osward Stoll with the ambition of building the largest and finest music hall.  The programme originally featured a mix of music, favoured by Stoll, and variety theatre, desired by Matcham.  At the time, the theatre’s slogan was “Pro Bono Publico”, meaning for the public good.

From 1931 to 1968, the theatre changed its name from the London Coliseum to the Coliseum Theatre.  During this time, White Horse Inn, a musical comedy by Ralph Benatzky and Robert Stolz showed here; pantomimes were regularly shown, beginning in 1936 with Cinderella from then until 1946; Annie Get Your Gun opened in 1947 for a immensely successful run of three years which, at the time, was the longest run in theatre history; Kiss Me Kate, 1951, Guys and Dolls, 1953 and Damn Yankees, 1957, also played here.

The Sadler’s Wells Opera Company moved into the theatre in 1968.  In 1974, the company changed its name to become the English National Opera and bought the building in 1992.

Visiting Information

The London Coliseum is located on St Martin’s Lane.  It is one of London’s largest and most luxurious family variety theatres and has been described as the people’s palace of entertainment.

Within ten minutes’ walk of the theatre are: Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery, Leicester Square, Charing Cross, Covent Garden, and Piccadilly Circus.

Our favourite restaurants nearby are:

  • The Real Greek – Saint Martin’s Lane, Greek cuisine
  • Prezzo – Saint Martin’s Lane, chain, wide ranging menu, vouchers available
  • Bella Italia – Saint Martin’s Lane, chain, Italian, vouchers available
  • Sartori – Great Newport Street, Italian cuisine, reasonably priced
  • Piazza – Cranbourn Street, Italian cuisine

Seating Tips

In the Stalls and the Dress Circle, there are two centre aisles.  The premium seats are in the centre block and are around £100 but can be closer to £200 – prices vary between productions.  Most other seats on these levels are available for about £90 and offer excellent views also.

In the Upper Circle and Balcony, tickets are much cheaper due to the view being compromised from being so high above the stage.  There are also a limited number of ‘Secret Seats’ per performance which are cheaper. It is an expensive venue so these are good options for those with more modest budgets.

Where to buy tickets

The London Coliseum is owned by the English National Opera.  The best place to buy tickets for productions at this theatre is through the Coliseum’s website where you can buy tickets at face value plus a booking fee.

Reviews from the Coliseum

Bat Out of Hell – ★★★★★ “…an epic musical extravaganza which is spectacular, wonderfully over the top, and decadent” Read more >>>